Editor, Today I read where one of our nation’s heroes, astronaut Scott Carpenter, died. He was one of the first seven astronauts on the Mercury project.
I was honored to work with three of the first seven astronauts, Scott Carpenter, Gordon Cooper and Alan Shepard. I was an aircraft crew chief at Langley Air Force Base in Virginia, where NASA was based before moving to Houston, Texas.
We flew special missions, learning things that would happen or could happen in outer space, things like what weightlessness felt like. I glued two golf balls on string in each cockpit so the astronauts knew when they were in the weightlessness configuration. They were using seat belts so they couldn't feel the situation.
These first seven men all were heroes, going into a serious unknown, where they could possibly die or not come back to earth. We Americans should always remember heroes like these men and women who explored an unknown. Their courage and dedication allowed us to learn about outer space not known to mankind.
God be with you, Scott Carpenter. You made me proud to have served with you and share your endeavors.
— Bill Helms, American Legion
Post 27 commander, Pembroke