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Legends of Aerospace Tour - March 2010 - Morale Entertainment


Neil Armstrong, Jim Lovell, Gene Cernan, Bob Gilliland and General Steve Ritchie visit the troops with David Hartman as panel moderator.

Neil Armstrong, Jim Lovell, Gene Cernan, Bob Gilliland and General Steve Ritchie visit the troops with David Hartman as panel moderator.

Published in Entertainment & Humor
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  • The person in the photo with the legends is me. This was the one bright spot of my visit to Landstuhl, and I'm honored to have had the chance to meet these outstanding gentleman even if it was under those conditions. Thank You USO. SSgt Chris Latocki, 927th Force Support Squadron.
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  • 1. Legends of Aerospace Tour Organized by: Morale Entertainment in Association with Armed Forces Entertainment Sponsored by: American Airlines Boeing Northrop Grumman Intrepid Museum Fairmont Hotels San Diego Air and Space Museum
  • 2. The Mission of Morale Entertainment To tap into our love of country and our vast bipartisan resources to bring the best of America to Military women and men overseas To illustrate the indomitable spirit of American Armed Forces to the United States Public and the World To inspire Citizens to take an active role in supporting or Serving our Country To recognize sacrifices and achievements of our men and women in uniform
  • 3. Troop Morale Morale, generally defined, is a state of mind that either encourages or impedes action. The greatest combat commanders have always understood that morale reflects the mental, moral, and physical condition of their troops. These conditions, in turn, directly relate to the troops' courage, confidence, discipline, enthusiasm, and willingness to endure the sacrifices and hardships of military duty. Troops with high morale can operate, even succeed against high odds, in all kinds of conditions. Poor morale can lead to failure, even when odds favor victory. At a basic level, good morale allows soldiers to overcome fear.
  • 4. Commemorative 8 X 10 inch cards with signatures were designed and printed in advance to be given away to the troops overseas
  • 5. LEGENDS OF AEROSPACE TOUR Another tour participant is Jeffrey Kluger, who wrote the book with Jim Lovell that Ron Howard used to make the movie “Apollo 13.” He is currently a Senior Writer with Time Magazine and wrote this cover story about the 40th Anniversary of Apollo 11.
  • 6. Jim Lovell hosted a dinner in the “Wine Cellar” of his son’s Lake Forest, Illinois restaurant. This is the first time all the Legends have been together. Trip logistics are discussed.
  • 7. Our out of town guests stayed at the Fairmont Hotel in Chicago. The kick-off luncheon for our sponsors and tour supporters would take place here.
  • 8. Sally and Ray Caldiero with Neil Armstrong at the luncheon reception.
  • 9. Kick-off luncheon for 75 guests and sponsors was hosted by American Airlines and the Fairmont Hotel.
  • 10. The Legends of Aerospace with David Hartman are introduced to the luncheon guests. We can already tell they are going to be greeted warmly at every stop.
  • 11. Illinois Governor Pat Quinn The Governor is a huge supporter of our Military. He spoke at our luncheon to wish the Legends well during their journey downrange.
  • 12. Next to the gate at Chicago O’Hare Airport, American Airlines built this stage for a Press Conference. Here, Captain Steve Blankenship, Managing Director Veterans Initiatives at American Airlines introduces the Legends to the media.
  • 13. Local and national TV crews are there to capture this event which is also open to the flying public who happened to be traveling that day at O’Hare.
  • 14. We board the American Airlines B767 aircraft. The entire flight crew wanted a group picture with the Legends.
  • 15. After landing at Frankfurt Airport, we board a bus for our 2-hour drive to Ramstein Air Base.
  • 16. Ramstein Air Base Germany
  • 17. Landstuhl Regional Medical Center Every day, planes land at Ramstein AB with severely injured US soldiers from Iraq and Afghanistan. In the biggest American military hospital in Europe, lives are saved, limbs amputated, gunshot wounds patched up and burn victims treated.
  • 18. Wounded troops are flown in from the war to Ramstein in Aerovac C-17’s and other military aircraft.
  • 19. These aircraft are configured with hospital support facilities and crews
  • 20. We visited many wounded servicemen and women, presenting gifts, listening to their stories and thanking them for the service.
  • 21. Some patients cannot be visited without sterile gowns and gloves
  • 22. Everywhere we visited, troops, doctors and nurses want pictures taken to remember the day they met these Aerospace Legends
  • 23. After a 22 minute introductory video is shown to the troops at every venue, David Hartman takes the stage to introduce each Legend. David has conducted over 10,000 interviews during his career and is passionate about aerospace.
  • 24. The five Legends sit on director’s chairs on stage and begin telling their amazing stories led in a conversational format by David Hartman
  • 25. Troops are on the edge of their seats to hear first hand accounts of the most amazing aerospace accomplishments
  • 26. After each presentation, 8 X 10 inch signed cards are handed out along with DVD’s and other memorabilia
  • 27. Jim Lovell brought “Apollo 13” DVD’s and Gene Cernan brought audio CD’s of his book
  • 28. After presentations, opportunities existed for photos and handshakes
  • 29. Eating Breakfast with the Troops
  • 30. Our Apollo astronauts were thrilled to spend time with each other as we traveled sharing stories from their early flying days together
  • 31. No matter where we gathered, troops wanted an opportunity to meet the Legends, shake hands, have a photo taken and share stories
  • 32. ` From Ramstein, we will travel on Military transport aircraft to bases in these countries and an aircraft carrier at sea
  • 33. Many of the missions will be flown on this KC-135 aerial refueling tanker
  • 34. Our flight crew of ten were fantastic and thrilled to have the honor to support this tour
  • 35. The interior of the KC-135 was configured as shown here. Luggage is strapped to pallets. Some tour members sat on red, fold-down bench seats.
  • 36. A pallet of economy seats was available for our astronauts
  • 37. ….and aviators
  • 38. All tour participants are allowed access everywhere aboard this aircraft including the cockpit
  • 39. David Hartman visits the cockpit and listens to ground controllers and flight crew communications with Bose Aviation Headsets
  • 40. General Steve “Cinco” Ritchie was thrilled to sit in the right seat, chat with the crews, share stories and learn about the flight controls
  • 41. Visits were also permitted in the “boom control pod” in the tail of the aircraft. Here the boom is lowered. Several of the Legends actually took the controls and “flew the boom.”
  • 42. “Boomers” use a joystick to precisely lower the fueling boom into the receiver aircraft
  • 43. Incirlik AB, Turkey
  • 44. Our tour participants are warmly greeted by base commanders at every stop
  • 45. A Turkish General is excited to meet General Ritchie. They both had flown F-104 Starfighters during their respective careers
  • 46. The US State Department requested our Legends make two additional, non-Military presentations to bolster international relations. Here is an invitation in Turkish for an event at Cukurova University in Adana Turkey, near Incirlik Air Base.
  • 47. The crowds were overwhelming. It felt as if “rock stars” had arrived. So many people showed up, not everyone would be able to fit into the main hall.
  • 48. A Turkish interpreter did a fantastic job of real time translation throughout the one hour program
  • 49. Crowds were so large, overflow rooms with video feeds were required
  • 50. Turkish media covered the event. The following day, it seemed every newspaper in Turkey ran a story.
  • 51. David Hartman studies a regional map covering our next stops along the tour
  • 52. Ali Al Salem AB, Kuwait
  • 53. Known as “The Rock” group pictures with troops were taken
  • 54. At every venue, after the seats are all filled, troops sat on the floor and stood in the back for standing Kuwait Audience room only presentations
  • 55. Microphones are passed around for the troops to ask questions
  • 56. Our planning team had been concerned whether 18-24 year old troops would care about or bother to come see 67-83 year old Aerospace Legends. We were delighted to see the smiles on their faces.
  • 57. The Legends were incredibly excited to share their phenomenal stories
  • 58. Media covered the tour throughout. In Kuwait, FOX News crews filmed the event and transmitted a live satellite feed back to the States
  • 59. MSgt Sean Dion (386th Expeditionary Civil Engineering Squadron): “I would like to say that the event was one of the most significant experiences in my 23 year military career. To see in the same room the talent, and hear of the history first hand was just absolutely humbling. For me, I was born on the day Neil Armstrong and crew splashed down in the Pacific, and was told the story many times.”
  • 60. The poster below is typical of how events are publicized on base. An Air Force Brigadier General presented Gene Cernan with this 3-star emblem he wears to equalize his rank with local Military officials of the host government
  • 61. At a base building for dinner, families were waiting for us to cheer the arrival of our Legends. Kids were constantly lining up for pictures.
  • 62. An Air Force Colonel brought his sons and a book about space that was autographed by Jim Lovell
  • 63. In base Mess Halls, we would randomly select troops to sit with during various meals
  • 64. Al Udeid AB - Qatar
  • 65. Colonel Ed Shock, Head of Armed Forces Entertainment with AFE’s Captain Jamie Fleischhacker
  • 66. We are driven out to a B-1 Bomber. The crew had lined up waiting for our arrival.
  • 67. Jim Lovell and others climb up into the cockpit to look at the layout
  • 68. The B-1B Bomber We are each given the exceptional opportunity to write something on these bombs and sign our names. Here Neil writes his message.
  • 69. Jim Lovell sends his message to the enemy
  • 70. B-1’s take off on their mission to Afghanistan
  • 71. At most stops, we are given a base tour
  • 72. We stop at a Patriot Missile System for a briefing
  • 73. Patriot Missile Battery After an explanation of how this defensive system operates, we take a group picture
  • 74. The Colonel presents Patriot Coins to the Astronauts
  • 75. Another packed house for that evening’s event
  • 76. The panel shares more incredible stories
  • 77. At a reception after the evening event, several NFL football players on a USO tour, stop by to meet our Legends
  • 78. LT David Epstein (USN): “The visit of the 5 Legends was spectacular!! It has been a life-long dream for me to meet Neil Armstrong! Ever since I was 3 and watched him on live TV walking on the moon, a memory I can still recall today, I have loved the Space Program and have been an "Arm Chair" Astronaut ever since. And when I went up for the group pictures, I was able to ask him about a tidbit of Urban Legend that involves him, to ask if it was true or not. He even smiled when he replied with, "No, it isn't true." Second to that, meeting Gene Cernan and Jim Lovell was extraordinary! The last man to walk on the moon and the man who saved the day by circling the moon in an attempt to save the lives of his crew. I felt it to be such an honor to be in their presence, these Living Legends. This is historical, these guys wrote history. And being in the same room with them was simply amazing. Thank you, thank you, thank you, for the opportunity to meet these Legends and hear them speak. I will treasure this memory, and the picture of them with me kneeling in front, amongst other service members, for the rest of my life.”
  • 79. Another breakfast and an opportunity to share one-on-one moments with the troops
  • 80. Our Legends and the KC-135 flight crew take a group picture
  • 81. This photo is printed and signed for each member of the crew
  • 82. We transfer to a Navy C-9
  • 83. Seeb - Oman After landing in Oman, we transfer to this COD for the flight to the aircraft carrier
  • 84. A quick group photo with our new Navy flight crew
  • 85. Special helmets, ear protection and life vests are required gear on the COD which stands for “Carrier Onboard Delivery”
  • 86. After approximately an hour flight, we find the USS Dwight D Eisenhower at sea
  • 87. Flight Deck of USS Eisenhower
  • 88. With the tail hook down, we prepare to catch the arresting cables on the flight deck
  • 89. We catch the second of four cables and come to a halt
  • 90. After parking, we disembark the COD aircraft to begin our 24 hours aboard the carrier
  • 91. Bob Gilliland salutes Ike’s Captain Mewbourne
  • 92. The Captain greets Neil Armstrong aboard with sailors watching our arrival
  • 93. David Hartman shares his excitement with the Captain during a welcome aboard reception
  • 94. After the reception, we split into two groups. Some board a helicopter to fly over to a nearby support ship in the fleet.
  • 95. USS HUÉ CITY is the 20th ship in the Ticonderoga class of guided missile cruisers and is the only ship in the Navy named after a battle of the Vietnam War
  • 96. Others suit up for an excursion onto the flight deck of the USS Eisenhower
  • 97. The Eisenhower is providing 30% of the air cover over Afghanistan. Their mission requires continuous sorties to be launched each day. We are escorted out to the flight line to observe five aircraft being catapulted off the ship.
  • 98. Our Naval Aviators are incredibly thrilled to be back in the action, up close and personal. Jim Lovell is really excited by the energy as each aircraft is launched.
  • 99. The Aero Club of Southern California’s President, Nissen Davis, one of the tour planners, is also thrilled by the flight launch activities.
  • 100. Flight crews prepare to be launched into action
  • 101. Flight deck crews maneuver the aircraft into position on the catapult
  • 102. The shooter gives the OK to launch
  • 103. The catapult is fired
  • 104. And she’s airborne in seconds
  • 105. Thrilled to have us onboard, the airmen do a coordinated fly-over in formation
  • 106. Next, we are taken to the aft of the carrier’s flight deck to observe sorties returning to the ship. The tail hook is ready to capture the cable.
  • 107. The most efficient method of communications between airmen and flight deck crews are still hand signals. These signals were developed from the very beginning of carrier operations and remain intact today.
  • 108. In addition to hand signals, light signaling systems are used to line up aircraft with the flight deck for carrier landings
  • 109. Another aircraft is positioned for launch
  • 110. All the crews are color coded for clear differentiation of responsibilities. Here the red crew is moving weapon systems to an aircraft.
  • 111. Smart weapons are locked into place on an aircraft
  • 112. Captain Mewbourne gives a tour of the bridge
  • 113. The Captain explains how the lighting system guides an incoming aircraft onto the deck of a moving carrier
  • 114. The Fleet Admiral offers up his chair for photo ops. Here General Ritchie is thrilled by the opportunity.
  • 115. Aircraft operate day and night in support of war mission requirements
  • 116. We conducted two programs on the carrier, one at night and a second the next morning. There are typically 5,000 crew members on a carrier and we wanted to give as many people as possible an opportunity to attend a presentation.
  • 117. View from behind the panelists across the Hanger Deck on the Eisenhower. Notice that the huge hangar door is wide open to the night sky. Our Legends would have to stop talking each time an aircraft was launched into action just above our heads on the flight deck.
  • 118. It would be nearly impossible to shoot pictures one sailor at a time. After each show, we would line up 20 sailors with the Legends for group photos.
  • 119. Many unusual items were brought along to be included in these group photos
  • 120. Whenever possible, autographs would be provided personalized for each sailor.
  • 121. F/A 18 pilots gathered in a briefing room for a great evening conversation with the Legends
  • 122. This provided a great opportunity for pilots to talk directly to pilots
  • 123. Chatting with the F/A-18 Pilots Everyone genuinely enjoyed these special moments and wonderful stories
  • 124. Cinco talked with other pilots getting ready to depart on a combat mission
  • 125. The two pilots kneeling in front had just returned from a mission over Afghanistan
  • 126. The ship’s EXUM invited us for a special breakfast with the CPO’s onboard
  • 127. We shared a great breakfast, told stories, made speeches and thoroughly enjoyed the chance to talk with many of the sailors
  • 128. From a crew member on the USS Eisenhower: I had the pleasure of talking with you over breakfast when you and your group were visiting the IKE and seeding inspiration. As far as meeting the men you brought with you? I can't even say it was a dream come true because I could never have imagined meeting one of them let alone all three. They are not only the heroes of my childhood. They are the heroes of my adult life as well. If I've watched Apollo Thirteen and From the Earth to the Moon once, I've watched them a hundred times. I eagerly devour any book I can find on aerospace development during the Cold War. I've been serving for over 24 years and this is my tenth and last deployment, and it's the first deployment that I've had any interest in anyone that has visited the ship. All of my 40 something friends are as excited as I was. They were their heroes as well. My seven year old godson, who just started Scouting is fully aware that Neil Armstrong and Jim Lovell were Eagle Scouts as well as my late friend Dave Walker. He can name all 39 Eagle Scout Astronauts. Lastly I'd like to say that I hope you will encourage Mr. Gilliland to write a book of his own! I've read Kelly Johnson's and Ben Rich's books and would love to hear his story. Sincerely, Michael Hott
  • 129. Naval Astronaut Wings An amazingly special moment happened while we were on the USS Eisenhower. Neil Armstrong, who served as a naval aviator from 1949 to 1952, had never received a pair of Naval Astronaut Wings. The wings were not authorized prior to 1961 when they were first presented to Cmdr. Alan Shepard Jr. Word quickly reached Vice Admiral Thomas Kilcline, Commander, Naval Air Forces, and through a series of e-mails between Commander, Naval Air Forces Atlantic and Commander, U.S. Naval Forces Central Command, it was determined that it would be a fitting tribute to present Armstrong with a pair of Naval Astronaut Wings at sea aboard an aircraft carrier.
  • 130. In a Ceremony aboard the ship, Captain Mewbourne pinned on Neil’s Naval Astronaut Wings 40 years after he landed on the moon.
  • 131. During the ceremony, Armstrong said that since that time nearly everything in his career has had its roots in naval aviation. "I have learned so much throughout my career and I owe a tremendous amount to the Navy."
  • 132. It was especially poignant for Gene Cernan, as these men had both gone to Purdue University, served in the Navy and became Apollo Astronauts
  • 133. As Capt Mewbourne pinned on the wings, Armstrong's friend and Apollo 13 astronaut Jim Lovell joked that it was tradition to throw the recipient in a lake after he received his wings.
  • 134. Legendary astronaut and former Navy pilot Neil Armstrong received a pair of honorary Naval Astronaut Wings in a small ceremony aboard USS Dwight D. Eisenhower March 10 in recognition for his dedicated service to the Navy and in the field of space exploration. Armstrong, the first man to set foot on the moon July 20, 1969, was aboard IKE as part of the "Legends of Aerospace" Tour sponsored by Morale Entertainment. "Today is a special occasion for all of naval aviation. As you can imagine, it is a tremendous honor for me to present Neil Armstrong with astronaut wings," said IKE's Commanding Officer, Capt. Dee L. Mewbourne. "We present these wings on behalf of the generations of naval aviators — past, present and future." Described by many as humble and unassuming, Armstrong accepted the wings with great honor. "I take these wings with great pleasure and great pride," said Armstrong. "I have made certain achievements in my life and been recognized many times, but, there is no achievement I value more highly then when I received the wings of gold.”
  • 135. Gifts were exchanged. Morale Entertainment’s Mike Whalen accepted a hand made plaque commemorating the “Legends of Aerospace” visit on the Ike.
  • 136. Tour posters were signed as gifts for the sailors on the carrier
  • 137. We said good-bye to the ship’s crew and boarded our COD flight back to Seeb - Oman
  • 138. The aircraft taxis into position and attaches onto one of the four catapults. The thrust diverter folds up from the deck. The aircraft accelerated by steam piston below the deck from zero to 128 miles per hour in 3 seconds.
  • 139. USN Bahrain
  • 140. Local Bahrain dignitaries greet our inbound aircraft and are honored to meet our Legends
  • 141. In the Green Room for that afternoon’s event, a cake had been prepared commemorating the Tour
  • 142. Troops and their families stood in line to collect our commemorative 8 X 10 inch cards for each Legend. Countless people said they would frame these and proudly hang them in their homes to teach their kids about the “Legends of Aerospace.”
  • 143. On bases not in the war zone, servicemen and women may have their families live with them. It is an awesome opportunity for these families to teach their kids about genuinely great Americans when they come to visit.
  • 144. Imagine the stories in this family about the day Neil Armstrong came to lift their spirits.
  • 145. The children had numerous items to be autographed
  • 146. Bob Gilliland is excited to fulfill the dreams of these future aviators
  • 147. Major John Lewis (386th Air Expeditionary Wing): “Having the Legends of Aerospace crew here was a once in a lifetime event. I feel blessed that I was here to see them. The astronauts are a testament to why our country should strive for manned exploration instead of automation. Also having a legend like Gen Richie was awe inspiring since he sort of rounded out the bunch, since he is able to understand what the Airmen and Soldiers are going through. Overall, this is the kind of awe inspiring event that I will remember for my whole life.”
  • 148. Vice Admiral William E. Gortney Commander, U.S. Naval Forces Central Command That evening, we were special guests at the Admiral’s palatial home
  • 149. The Admiral displayed a book for each of his guest’s to sign
  • 150. David Hartman was especially popular amongst the Naval spouses who had watched him during his “Good Morning America” hosting days
  • 151. Along with Admiral Gortney’s senior commanding officers and their families, we all had a wonderful evening under the stars at his home in Bahrain
  • 152. RAF Mildenhall - England
  • 153. After a late arrival into Mildenhall, we were taken directly to the venue for that night’s show. The room was so full that the Fire Marshall said “No more people are to be allowed into this hall!”
  • 154. There were still 1,000 people in line outside demanding to get in to see the event. We immediately asked the Legends whether they would be willing to do a second show that night. They unanimously said “Yes.”
  • 155. After the first show was over, the patient crowd was allowed into the hall.
  • 156. The entire room was filled for the second show that night
  • 157. Everyone was thrilled
  • 158. RAF Mildenhall From an airman at Mildenhall: I'm 12 years into my Air Force career, and have done and seen many things in the sands of Afghanistan, beaches of Okinawa and even back home in the good old U.S.A. Still, nothing amounts to what it means to be in the presence and converse with arguably some of the greatest icons of the 20th Century. Reflecting on what all five of those men did for their nation, there's nothing like it on God's green earth. Though we all try to do our part and contribute positively to our unit's missions, it's icons like Neil Armstrong who provide the motivation to be great.
  • 159. The US State Department had made arrangements for the second non-Military event at The Royal Society of London known for the Improvement of Natural Knowledge, or simply as the Royal Society. On November 30th 1660 a dozen men gathered to hear the young Christopher Wren give a lecture on astronomy. In the discussion that followed they decided to form a society for the study of the new and still controversial Experimental Philosophy. Two years later Charles II made it his Royal Society and in the 350 years since it was founded, its Fellows have given us gravity, evolution, the electron, the double helix and the internet.
  • 160. Bob Gilliland arrives at The Royal Society
  • 161. The Earl of Selbourne introduces David Hartman to the distinguished audience at The Royal Society
  • 162. The Royal Society
  • 163. The leading scientists and Engineers from the United Kingdom were honored to hear from our distinguished aviators and astronauts
  • 164. The British Broadcasting Company (BBC) covered this event for British television
  • 165. After the presentation, Neil was absolutely honored to meet some of the great British Engineers, Physicists and Scientists such as this gentleman who had worked on a UK Mars Lander program
  • 166. Earlier that morning, Bob Gilliland asked “May I invite a couple of friends to dinner tonight?” We said of course. He provided telephone numbers for two British gentlemen who were invited and both agreed to meet us at the restaurant later that evening.
  • 167. One was RAF Wing Commander Andy Green (right) with Morale Entertainment Board Member Rusty Pickering
  • 168. ANDY GREEN I have the World’s Best day job, as a Fighter Pilot in the Royal Air Force. I was sponsored through Oxford University by the Royal Air Force (where I gained a love of flying, a First in Mathematics, experience of rowing for the University, and interests in beer and women), and then spent 3 years in flying training. Qualified as a Fighter Pilot, I was lucky enough to fly the F4 Phantom in Germany at the end of the Cold War. My final flying tours were on the Tornado F3, which included service over Bosnia, Iraq and the Falklands. Since then I’ve spent a year in Australia at Staff College, worked at the UK’s Joint Headquarters running operations in Afghanistan and Iraq and run the Harrier airfield at Royal Air Force Wittering (including a spell as the Commander of the Royal Air Force detachment in Kandahar, Afghanistan). I’m currently working in the Ministry of Defense in Whitehall, supporting operations around the globe and wishing I was still flying....
  • 169. Andy Green also happens to currently hold the land speed record by breaking the sound barrier (768 MPH) in Thrust SSC
  • 170. Andrew will next attempt to break 1,000 mph in Bloodhound SSC
  • 171. Captain Eric Brown • Captain Eric Melrose "Winkle" Brown (born 21 January 1919) is a former Royal Navy officer and test pilot who has flown more types of aircraft than anyone else in history (approx 465 types) He is also the Fleet Air Arm’s most decorated pilot, and holds the world record for aircraft carrier landings including the first carrier landing and take-off of a jet aircraft Fluent in German, he helped interview many Germans after World War II including Werner von Braun and Herman Goering, Willy Messerschmitt
  • 172. Eric “Winkle” Brown He holds the record for the most aircraft carrier landings (2407) and most catapult launches. He performed the first landing of a high performance twin engined aircraft on an aircraft carrier (a de Havilland Mosquito on HMS Indefatigable) and the first landing of a jet aircraft on an aircraft carrier (a de Havilland Sea Vampire on HMS Ocean, 3 December 1945). He flew tests on Rocket Assisted Takeoffs in Seafires and deliberately landed a Sea Vampire wheels- up on an aircraft carrier with a flexible rubber carpet as a deck – a proposed solution to the stresses induced by hard deck landings.
  • 173. The Most Amazing Dinner Imagine having at the same dinner table: • First man on the moon • First to fly fastest aircraft in the world • Holder of the land speed record • Person who flew more aircraft types than anyone in history • Last man on the moon • First man to land a jet on an aircraft carrier • First man to dock two spacecraft • Last Air Force Pilot Ace • Only man to descend to the moon twice • Person with most carrier landings in history • Furthest man from earth • Man with most experimental time at Mach 2 and Mach 3 • Man who flew X-15 Rocket Plane to a top altitude of 207,500 ft and a top speed of Mach 5.74 (4,000 mph)
  • 174. All those individually amazing and outstanding accomplishments were embodied in these gentlemen. Yes, we were each pinching ourselves to make sure we were not dreaming!
  • 175. The next morning, we drive to Heathrow Airport for our American Airlines flight to New York. Here Morale Entertainment Board Member, Ray Caldiero has fun checking in for the flight.
  • 176. The Apollo astronauts were pleased to be flying again on an American Airlines B777 over the Atlantic
  • 177. Homeward Bound on AA Mar.13 Once again the crews all wanted pictures. The pilot announced to all passengers aboard the flight how honored they were to fly the Legends back to the US.
  • 178. Welcome Home Event Waiting for us aboard the Intrepid Aircraft Carrier on New York’s Hudson River were 2,400 people planning a “Welcome Home Event”
  • 179. However, one of the worst “Nor'easter” storms engulfed the New York area just as we were attempting to land at New York’s JFK Airport. After two attempted landings, the air space was completely shut down and we were diverted to Boston’s Logan Airport. The Intrepid sent a bus to pick us up in Boston and drive us back down to New York City. That day’s event on the Intrepid was postponed until the following day at 11:00 AM.
  • 180. To our surprise, the next day 1,000 people returned to the aircraft carrier including 400 Boy Scouts who had been allowed to sleep overnight on the Hangar Deck of the Intrepid due to the postponement
  • 181. Although two of our tour participants had family commitments that could not be changed, the show went on with David, Neil, Steve and Bob
  • 182. We had originally planned to hold a Press Event in front of this SR-71 on the flight deck of the Intrepid. Bob Gilliland ventured up on deck during the storm to talk with some of that day’s audience members.
  • 183. We had also hoped General Ritchie would tell stories to the Media in front of this MIG -21, parked on the flight deck of the Intrepid
  • 184. Neil posed with several young space enthusiasts at the conclusion of the program aboard the Intrepid. It was an amazing privilege for Morale Entertainment to organize and launch this tour along with Armed Forces Entertainment, American Airlines and other important tour sponsors. We visited six Military Bases, an aircraft carrier at war, interacted with 15,000+ troops, flew 17,500 air miles and lifted the spirits of our brave men in and women in uniform.
  • 185. Legends of Aerospace Tour If you would be interested in helping us on a future tour, please let us know. Visit our web site: Or call: Thomas M. Lee 949-636-3558