It’s been 45 years; but I still vividly remember watching Apollo 11 land on the moon as a little boy. My family watched on a small black and white TV. When Neil Armstrong stepped onto the surface I didn’t know he had started as a Naval Aviator and Test Pilot. Heady days for sure. They seem so far away now. Back then it seemed Americans could do anything; now we can’t even run the Veterans Administration and NASA is on life support.
I already wanted to be a pilot by then. My uncle Bob Millhaem was flying combat missions as a 71st Special Operations Squadron Pilot in the AC-119 in South East Asia. Crew 11. Bob’s tour lasted for a year.
My Uncle Larry Menzies had returned from his combat tour and was tragically killed in S2F-1 Tracker during a training mission. He had been a Naval Aviator, a Tail Hooker, that was the route I took. Larry had flown EA-1Es in Viet Nam (VAW-11) before joining the reserves in 1966. In the video above an S2F-1 is on the bow of the USS Hornet when the Apollo 11 crew lands. Below is super 8 video from one of his ships, the USS Kearsarge, and the S2f-1.
Here is the EA-1E Skyraider operating off one of my old ships the USS America. Check out how short the groove length is on the landing.
While Apoll 11 influenced just about every little boy in 1969; my course was set. It had been my uncles who influenced me.