Astronaut Manley L. "Sonny" Carter, Jr., was born in Macon, Georgia and grew up in nearby Warner Robins. He was an Eagle Scout and a graduate of Lanier</placename><//placename> High School. In 1969, he received a Bachelor of Arts degree from Emory University and graduated from Emory University Medical School in 1973, interning in internal medicine at Grady Memorial Hospital in Atlanta, Georgia. Carter was an honorary member of Alpha Omega Alpha, a medical honor society. He entered the U.S. Navy in 1974 and completed flight surgeon school in Pensacola, Florida. In 1978, he received his Naval Aviator wings. Carter served as the senior medical officer aboard the USS Forrestal and as an F-4 fighter pilot with Marine Fighter Attack Squadron 333 at MCAS Beaufort, South Carolina. He again served aboard the USS Forrestal as a pilot with Marine Fighter Attack Squadron 115. In 1982, Carter completed the U.S. Navy Fighter Weapons School (TOPGUN) and in 1984, the U. S. Navy Test Pilot School. During his aviation career, he logged over 3,000 flying hours and 160 carrier landings. Carter also joined NASA in 1984 and flew a Department of Defense mission aboard the Space Shuttle Discovery on STS-33 in November, 1989: He was scheduled to fly in January of 1992 on STS 42, the first International Microgravity Laboratory; tragically, however, he lost his life as a passenger in an aircraft accident near Brunswick, Georgia, in 1991. Carter was awarded the Air Medal, the Meritorious Service Medal, the Navy Achievement Medal, the Navy Meritorious Unit Citation, the Marine Corps Aviation Association Special Category Award, the NASA Meritorious Service Medal, and the NASA Space Flight Medal.
Sonny Carter was enshrined November 7, 1992, following a distinguished career as a U.S fighter pilot, flight surgeon, and NASA astronaut.