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USS Hornet and the Recovery of the Apollo 11 Astronauts
  • ISBN/SKU: 9781591141105
  • Binding: Hardcover & Ebook
  • Era: 20th Century
  • Number of Pages: 256
  • Subject: Aviation
  • Date Available: June 2010
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Full Description:

The splashdown and recovery of Apollo 11 on 24 July 1969 was a historic event, which fulfilled President John F. Kennedy's national goal of placing a man on the moon and returning him safely to earth by the end of the 1960s. This book tells the dramatic story of the USS Hornet's recovery of the astronauts after the splashdown of their command module. This detailed account draws not only on historical records but also on the memories of eighty men who served aboard the Hornet and participated in the recovery operation, including Navy UDT frogman John M. Wolfram, who was the first to reach the Apollo II astronauts.  Their inside account offers deck-level perspectives of events and includes details never before documented for the public. Their stories reveal that although the recovery operation looked easy and uneventful, there were many problems to overcome. For example, a machinist's mate had to repair a broken propeller shaft while the ship was underway so the Hornet could reach the point of splashdown on time; storms forced the ship to navigate by dead reckoning placing it miles away from its destination just minutes before Apollo came down; and a HS-4 helicopter narrowly avoided colliding with the command module due to heavy cloud cover. Yet, according to the author, the VIPs on the Hornet never suspected anything amiss. 

In addition to these behind-the-scenes stories, the book includes a never before published photograph of the Apollo 11 command module as it splashed down in the Pacific Ocean. Previously known only to those associated with the Navy SEAL who took the photo, the author established its authenticity through interviews with those on the helicopter and those who processed the photograph on the Hornet. Other photographs not previously released to the public, including surface-level photos taken by UDT swimmers during the recovery procedure are also among the illustrations displayed in the book.
Scott W. Carmichael is the senior security and counterintelligence investigator for the Defense Intelligence Agency and also with the Department of Defense for nearly thirty years. He is the author of True Believer and lives in Crofton, MD.

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Events and Conferences

Speaking Engagement & Book Signing
Noon, "Authors on Deck," U.S. Navy Memorial, 701 Pennsylvania Ave., N.W., #123, Washington, D.C. Read More
Radio Interview
8:00pm (MST), with host Ken Hudnall Read More
Radio Interview
8:25am Eastern, w/Fred Snyder, WGET-AM Radio Gettysburg, PA Read More
Speaking Engagement & Signing
Noon, "Lunchtime Lecture Series," Nat'l. Museum of the U.S. Navy, Washington Navy Yard, D.C. Read More
Customer Reviews
1 Review
Average Customer Reviews
5.00 Stars
Apollo XI at the ground level...
Friday, June 11, 2010
By: Peter Beaulieu
This authentic story has waited 40 years to be told. And to be told right. The high altitude story of Apollo XI is well enough known, but what is the story at the splashdown site? How does one intercept and recover a space capsule thousands of miles at sea? Carmichael digs out and skillfully weaves together into one moving narrative over 80 stories from all of those interviewed. He does this with respect, candor, humor, curiosity and engaging attention to rare detail. As one of the dozens interviewed and who took part in the Apollo XI Lunar Module Recovery, I am delighted to confirm that in this book Carmichael got it right. In reading this account, I was surprised to find myself remembering afresh and accurately reliving the day-to-day details and even "the feel" for how it really was onboard the Hornet in late July 1969. Had the interviews not been made now, and had this book not been written in living memory, the story would be lost in the waves. The author discovers that the human touch is at the heart of even this high-tech Apollo effort -- linking together Houston, the astronauts, the SEAL team, the helo and shipboard crews, and all overlaid with the complexities of a Presidential visit for the historic moment of splashdown. He presents the faces, dedication and even foibles of real people. Any reader from seasoned Navy man or woman, to person on the street, will thoroughly enjoy being part of the Apollo XI team in an experience that is no longer confined to those who had a direct hand in this "ground" level adventure in the south Pacific.


Conferences and Events

2016 Naval History Conference

Thu, 2016-09-08 - Fri, 2016-09-09

Join us for the 2016 Naval History Conference on 8 and 9 September at Alumni Hall at the U.S. Naval Academy. The Athena...

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