Alan Shepard was the first American in space. This is a picture of him on the deck of the carrier USS Lake Champlain after he was recovered from the water following the mission. The flight took place on May 5, 1961. The flight lasted about 15 minutes, was suborbital and achieved an altitude of about 50 miles.
As I look at these pictures, I keep being reminded of the excitement of the early days of the space program. Unfortunately, there are no analogous "Big Deal" projects like that any more.