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Gerald Ford 1913~2006


Key moments in Gerald Ford's life

July 14, 1913 -- Born in Omaha, Nebraska.

1935 -- Graduates from the University of Michigan, where he was a star lineman on the football team.

1941 -- Earns a law degree from Yale University.

1946 -- Leaves the U.S. Navy with the rank of lieutenant commander following four years of service in World War II, two of them aboard the aircraft carrier USS Monterey that saw combat in the Pacific.

1948 -- Wins 5th District seat from Michigan. He will serve in Congress from January 1949 until December 1973.

1948 -- Marries the former Elizabeth Anne (known as Betty) Bloomer, with whom he has four children.

1961 -- Becomes chairman of the House Republican Conference.

1963 -- Appointed by President Lyndon B. Johnson to the Warren Commission that will investigate the assassination of President John F. Kennedy.

1965 -- Becomes House minority leader, a post he will hold until 1973.

December 1973 -- Ford becomes vice president following the resignation of Spiro T. Agnew in the face of bribery charges dating to Agnew's tenure as a public official in Maryland.

August 9, 1974 -- Ford becomes president when Nixon resigns under the threat of impeachment in the Watergate scandal.

September 8, 1974 -- Ford grants Nixon a "full, free and absolute pardon ... for all offenses against the United States which he ... has committed or may have committed or taken part in" while Nixon was president.

March 1975 -- During the final days of the Vietnam War, Ford orders the airlift of about 237,000 Vietnamese refugees to the United States.

May 1975 -- Sends U.S. Marines to rescue the U.S. cargo ship Mayaguez after its seizure by Cambodia -- an action Ford characterizes as an "act of piracy." The operation saves the ship's 39-member crew, but 41 Americans are killed and 50 more wounded during the incident.

September 5, 1975 -- Survives an assassination attempt in Sacramento, California, by Lynette "Squeaky" Fromme, a member of a cult once led by convicted mass murderer Charles Manson. Fromme was disarmed by Secret Service agents before she could fire her handgun.

September 22, 1975 -- Ford survives another assassination attempt, this time in San Francisco, California, by another female assailant. Sara Jane Moore fires a shot at the president, but a bystander diverts the shot.

August 1976 -- At the Republican National Convention, Ford staves off a serious challenge from Ronald Reagan and is nominated as his party's presidential candidate.

November 1976 -- Ford is defeated in a close national election by Democratic nominee Jimmy Carter.

August 1999 -- President Bill Clinton presents Ford with the nation's highest civilian award, the Medal of Freedom.

October 1999 -- Senate and House leaders present Ford and his wife, Betty, with the Congressional Gold Medal.

May 2001 -- Ford is presented with the Profiles in Courage award for his controversial decision to pardon former President Nixon.

August 2000 -- Ford suffers a mild stroke while attending the Republican National Convention in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.

May 16, 2003 -- Ford is taken to the hospital after suffering dizzy spells on the golf course. He is discharged the next day, with doctors saying fluctuations in blood pressure and hot weather are to blame.

June 11, 2004 -- Ford attends funeral services for President Reagan at Washington's National Cathedral, sitting with former Presidents Clinton, Bush and Carter, and their wives.

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