My Apollo 11 Story
I am sitting here in Thailand and I see on TV this is the Anniversary of the Apollo 11 Moon Mission. At the time I was 21 yrs. old working for the 2179th Communications Squadron supporting the Cape. I was assigned to this elite Unit at Patrick AFB because I graduated in the top 1/10th of 1% of students that had ever attended the Electronics school at Kessler AFB. Millions of people gathered in Brevard County to see the moon shot. Since I worked in the ATC Tower, I saw VIP’s like VP Spiro Agnew and Ex-President Johnson arrive on the flight line under High security. It was one big party, but I walked out of my apartment just in time to see the rockets soar through the beautiful blue sky – could see for about 5 minutes. In those days we did not have communication satellites so instead we had 11 ARIA (Apollo Range Instrumentation Aircraft) birds stationed at Patrick AFB. We called them Jimmy Durante Birds. They were converted C-135’s which circled the globe to communicate with spacecraft. http://afspacemuseum.org/ccafs/ARIA/
Wish I was smart enough at the time to get my Certificate of Participation autographed by the Astronauts. I worked on the flight line GCA where they would practice on T-38’s. They also hung out at a Sheraton hotel with nightlife till 5 AM. I had a girlfriend who got just about all their autographs at the hotel.
Thought some of you may be interested in my small contribution to Apollo mission. It was an exciting time in our history!