Legends of Aerospace Tour - March 2010 - Morale Entertainment
Legends of Aerospace Tour
in Association with
Armed Forces Entertainment
San Diego Air and Space Museum
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
To recognize sacrifices and achievements of our men and women in
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.
8 X 10 inch
advance to be
given away to
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.
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.
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.
Sally and Ray Caldiero with Neil
Armstrong at the luncheon reception.
Kick-off luncheon for 75 guests
and sponsors was hosted by
American Airlines and the
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.
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.
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.
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.
We board the American Airlines B767 aircraft. The entire flight
crew wanted a group picture with the Legends.
After landing at Frankfurt Airport, we board a
bus for our 2-hour drive to Ramstein Air Base.
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.
Wounded troops are flown in
from the war to Ramstein in
Aerovac C-17’s and other
These aircraft are configured with hospital
support facilities and crews
We visited many wounded servicemen and
women, presenting gifts, listening to their
stories and thanking them for the service.
Some patients cannot be visited without
sterile gowns and gloves
Everywhere we visited, troops,
doctors and nurses want pictures
taken to remember the day they
met these Aerospace Legends
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
during his career and
is passionate about
The five Legends sit on director’s chairs on stage
and begin telling their amazing stories led in a
conversational format by David Hartman
Troops are on the edge of their
seats to hear first hand
accounts of the most amazing
presentation, 8 X 10
inch signed cards are
handed out along with
DVD’s and other
Jim Lovell brought “Apollo 13”
DVD’s and Gene Cernan
brought audio CD’s of his book
opportunities existed for photos
Our tour participants are warmly
greeted by base commanders at
A Turkish General is excited to meet
General Ritchie. They both had flown
F-104 Starfighters during their
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.
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.
A Turkish interpreter did a fantastic job of real
time translation throughout the one hour program
Crowds were so large, overflow rooms with video feeds were required
following day, it
Turkey ran a
David Hartman studies a regional map
covering our next stops along the tour
Known as “The Rock” group pictures with troops were taken
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
passed around for
the troops to ask
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.
The Legends were
incredibly excited to
Media covered the tour throughout. In
Kuwait, FOX News crews filmed the
event and transmitted a live satellite
feed back to the States
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.”
below is typical
of how events
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
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.
An Air Force Colonel brought his sons and a book
about space that was autographed by Jim Lovell
In base Mess Halls, we would randomly select
troops to sit with during various meals
At a reception after the evening event, several NFL football
players on a USO tour, stop by to meet our Legends
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
Another breakfast and an opportunity to share
one-on-one moments with the troops
Our Legends and the
KC-135 flight crew take a
This photo is printed and signed for each
member of the crew
The Captain greets
aboard with sailors
watching our arrival
David Hartman shares his
excitement with the
Captain during a welcome
After the reception, we split
into two groups. Some
board a helicopter to fly
over to a nearby support
ship in the fleet.
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
Others suit up for an
excursion onto the flight
deck of the USS
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.
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.
The Aero Club of
President, Nissen Davis,
one of the tour planners,
is also thrilled by the
flight launch activities.
Flight crews prepare to be launched into action
Flight deck crews maneuver the
aircraft into position on the catapult
Thrilled to have us onboard, the airmen do
a coordinated fly-over in formation
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.
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
In addition to hand
signals, light signaling
systems are used to
line up aircraft with the
flight deck for carrier
The Captain explains how the lighting system
guides an incoming aircraft onto the deck of a
The Fleet Admiral offers up his chair for photo ops.
Here General Ritchie is thrilled by the opportunity.
Aircraft operate day and night in support of war mission requirements
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.
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.
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.
Many unusual items were
brought along to be included
in these group photos
F/A 18 pilots gathered in a
briefing room for a great
evening conversation with
This provided a great opportunity for pilots
to talk directly to pilots
Chatting with the F/A-18 Pilots
Everyone genuinely enjoyed these
special moments and wonderful stories
Cinco talked with other pilots
getting ready to depart on a
The two pilots kneeling
in front had just
returned from a mission
The ship’s EXUM invited us
for a special breakfast with
the CPO’s onboard
We shared a great breakfast, told stories, made
speeches and thoroughly enjoyed the chance to
talk with many of the sailors
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.
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
In a Ceremony aboard
the ship, Captain
Mewbourne pinned on
Neil’s Naval Astronaut
Wings 40 years after he
landed on the moon.
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
It was especially poignant for Gene Cernan, as these
men had both gone to Purdue University, served in
the Navy and became Apollo Astronauts
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.
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.”
accepted a hand
the “Legends of
on the Ike.
were signed as
gifts for the
sailors on the
We said good-bye to the ship’s crew and boarded our
COD flight back to Seeb - Oman
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.
dignitaries greet our
inbound aircraft and
are honored to
meet our Legends
In the Green Room for that afternoon’s event, a cake
had been prepared commemorating the Tour
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.”
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.
Imagine the stories in
this family about the day
Neil Armstrong came to
lift their spirits.
The children had numerous items to be autographed
Bob Gilliland is excited
to fulfill the dreams of
these future aviators
Major John Lewis (386th Air
“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
William E. Gortney
That evening, we
guests at the
book for each
of his guest’s
David Hartman was especially popular
amongst the Naval spouses who had
watched him during his
“Good Morning America” hosting days
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
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!”
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.”
After the first
show was over,
the patient crowd
was allowed into
The entire room was filled for the second show that night
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.
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.
The leading scientists and Engineers from the United Kingdom were honored
to hear from our distinguished aviators and astronauts
The British Broadcasting
Company (BBC) covered this
event for British television
After the presentation, Neil
was absolutely honored to
meet some of the great
Physicists and Scientists
such as this gentleman
who had worked on a UK
Mars Lander program
Earlier that morning, Bob
Gilliland asked “May I invite
a couple of friends to
We said of course. He
numbers for two British
gentlemen who were
invited and both agreed to
meet us at the restaurant
later that evening.
One was RAF Wing Commander
Andy Green (right) with Morale Entertainment
Board Member Rusty Pickering
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....
Andy Green also happens to
currently hold the land speed
record by breaking the sound
barrier (768 MPH) in Thrust SSC
Andrew will next attempt to
break 1,000 mph in
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
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.
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)
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!
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.
The Apollo astronauts were pleased to be flying again
on an American Airlines B777 over the Atlantic
Homeward Bound on AA
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.
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”
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.
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
Although two of
could not be
show went on
with David, Neil,
Steve and Bob
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.
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
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
Legends of Aerospace Tour
If you would be interested in helping us on a
future tour, please let us know.
Visit our web site:
Thomas M. Lee