Born September 6, 1946, in Orange, California, but considers Twentynine Palms, California to be his hometown. He received a Bachelor of Science degree in Engineering (minor in Aeronautical Engineering) from the United States Naval Academy in 1968 and a Master of Science degree in Aeronautical Systems from the University of West Florida in 1970. O'Connor has flown over 5000 hours in over 40 types of aircraft. A veteran of two space flights, he has over 386 hours in space, covering five and three quarter million miles in 253 orbits of the earth. O'Connor was pilot on Atlantis in 1985 and was crew commander on Columbia in 1991.