Born in Paragould, Arkansas; married with three children. BS in aeronautical engineering from Air Force Institute of Technology in 1956. Serving as an experimental test pilot at the Air Force Flight Test Center, Edwards AFB, when selected as X-20 pilot. After cancellation of the program, remained in the Air Force, serving as Commander, Test Operations, Edwards AFB. Retired from the USAF with the rank of Colonel.
At the time the Dynasoar project was cancelled, the first manned single-orbit flight was planned for July 1966, atop the sixth Titan 3C. Jim Wood would have flown the first manned Dyna-Soar -- he was the senior test pilot on the project, and Hank Gordon told Michael Cassutt years ago that there was no question he was going to get the first flight. (The Dyna-Soar office was structured like a typical Edwards flight test program, where there really was a lead or senior project pilot). The other five X-20 pilots in active training at the end of the program were Crews, Gordon, Knight, Rogers, and Thompson.