I have mentioned before that my father stole fire from the sun. At least that’s what his daughters believe.
He sent me this email a few days ago. Of course, I was raised listening to this story over and over again. It never grows old. I’m not a fan of falling or of drowning, so the image of my dad jumping from a helicopter into the ocean fills me with awe, even now. He has copies of each of the photos shown below. They are the artwork of my family history, as familiar as any family photo. Dad was nineteen years old at the time of this jump.
On this day in ARS History astronauts Neil Armstrong and David Scott blasted into space on the Gemini 8 mission. Their flight was aborted after only six orbits and the capsule splashed down in the Pacific Ocean 500 miles east of Okinawa. A three man PJ team consisting of Sergeant Larry Huyett, Eldridge Neal, and Glen Moore, jumped from an HC-54 to the spacecraft. This was the first time USAF air rescue forces came to the rescue of a Gemini capsule; and the first time PJs attached a flotation collar on a Gemini space capsule. The astronauts, spacecraft, and PJs were recovered by the USS Mason. (source data from Pararescue 50 Years)
This was a HIGH-visibility mission at a critical time. The PJs were invited on the Ed Sullivan show, and the publicity added support for approval of the beret and bloused boots – the distinctive uniform we wear today.
Description: The Gemini 8 crew stands on the deck of the recovery vessel, the U.S.S. Leonard F. Mason, with three U.S. Air Force pararescue men. Left to right (standing) are Astronaut Neil A. Armstrong, command pilot; A/2C Glenn M. Moore; Astronaut David R. Scott, pilot; kneeling, left to right are A/1C Eldridge M. Neal; and S/Sgt Larry D. Huyett.