Apollo 11 recovery

UDT frogman Lt. Clancy Hatleberg secures the hatch on the Apollo 11 capsule after he and his crew assisted the astronauts into the life raft. (U.S. Navy photo)

From a previous piece I wrote about SEALs in space,

When the Apollo 11 command module landed in the Pacific Ocean after astronauts Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin became the first humans to walk on the moon, it was SEALs that were assigned to recover their craft. “Sea King” helicopters from the aircraft carrier USS Hornet carried a handpicked team of four SEALs, wearing special isolation suits to protect them from possible lunar pathogens, to wrestle the “bucking bronco” from the ocean.

Wes Chesser, Clancy Hatleberg, John Wolfram, and Mike Mallory jumped into the water, fighting 12-foot waves and 28-m.p.h. winds to perform the daunting task of attaching a 200-lb. inflatable raft to the 12,000-lb. Apollo capsule as it pitched up and down with the ocean swell. Failure could have resulted in the astronauts and their capsule sinking to the bottom of the sea.

Author: Chris Carter

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