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Forum:Mercury - Gemini - Apollo
Topic:Apollo 1 archival film footage
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mark plasThe price of progress comes high at times.
Henry HeatherbankThis is not meant as an insensitive topic/comment, but I have always wondered how the Apollo program widows (not just the Apollo 1 widows) felt at the end of the program, at splashdown of Apollo 17. Therein marked the end of that all-consuming program that, along the way, had taken their husbands. And now it was all over, with others having tasted the success and the glory, but with the widows left with rebuilding their lives.

I appreciate these were military wives who would have seen others in similar situations, and that there would a sense of expectation as to how they would react. But it must have been hard to see the Apollo program end, the urgency pass and with life for the others moving on.

I apologise if I have conveyed this somewhat insensitively - as I said above, certainly not my intention - but I hope people understand what I am trying to ask. Maybe this is something best addressed by someone like Colin Burgess, if, Colin, you even have a liberty to do so from the many families you have interacted with over the years. But I have always wondered.

TomThese videos brought back some very sad memories. It also raises a question that I've had.

There is a scene where Grissom and Chaffee leave the transfer van with a technician and enter the elevator at LC-34. White along with Deke Slayton leave the van a short time later.

Didn't understand why the flight crew did not ride the elevator together that afternoon? I thought that was a tradition.

LM-12Some interesting footage there, especially if you are seeing these for the first time.
Originally posted by Henry Heatherbank:
But it must have been hard to see the Apollo program end, the urgency pass and with life for the others moving on.
The Apollo 1 wives felt that they were abandoned/forgotten by NASA and others after the tragedy had been superceded by the eventual success of the program.

Betty Grissom indicated this in a 1987 article. The following 1986 article from Martha Chaffee may provide some additional insight. It's uncertain whether Pat White ever really came to terms with the tragedy.

It would be thirty years after the fire before Ed White II and Roger Chaffee were honored with the Congressional Space Medal of Honor, and Betty Grissom had to resign in protest from the board of the Astronaut Hall of Fame before Roger Chaffee was finally inducted.

The effect of the program was severe on wives even when no fatality was involved. Marilyn Lovell said that NASA couldn't sweep Apollo 13 under the carpet fast enough, and Dotty Duke felt suicidal despite the success of Apollo 16. Many marriages ended in the aftermath of the program.

Fra MauroMartha Chaffee's feelings and reactions seem to be the more typical and "normal" of how someone mourns and recovers. Interesting to see how the three widows had three very different reactions. I do agree that they were all forgotten by NASA.
Fra Mauro
Originally posted by Tom:
Didn't understand why the flight crew did not ride the elevator together that afternoon? I thought that was a tradition.
I think the reason that all of the crew didn't go up together was room — perhaps a technician had to accompany crew members on the ride. I liked the footage of the area around the CM post-fire as well as he SM level. Anyone know who the man was who was taking notes?
LM-12From the MSC Roundup on February 3, 1967:
Memorial services for Chaffee were held Sunday afternoon at Webster Presbyterian Church, and he was buried at Arlington National Cemetary Tuesday afternoon. Pallbearers were Michael Collins, Walter Cunningham, Donn Eisele, Richard Gordon, Alan Bean and David Scott. Funeral arrangements were handled by Eugene Cernan.

Memorial services for Grissom were held Monday morning at Seabrook Methodist Church, and he was buried at Arlington National Cemetary Tuesday morning. Honorary pallbearers were Donald K. Slayton, M. Scott Carpenter, Alan Shepard, L. Gordon Cooper, Walter Schirra, John Young and John Glenn. Funeral arrangements were handled by Schirra.

Memorial services for White were held on Monday morning at Seabrook Methodist Church, and burial was at the United States Military Academy Tuesday morning. Honorary pallbearers were Charles Conrad, Thomas Stafford, Edwin A. Aldrin, Neil Armstrong, James Lovell and Frank Borman. James McDivitt handled funeral arrangements.

LM-12Quite a difference between the Block I CSM and the Block II CSM.
carmeloWhy the flag on the suit's shoulder was in the wrong position?
YankeeClipperIn a 26th January 1968 Life Magazine article entitled "The fire and fate have left eight widows" by Dora Jane Hamblin, she writes of the individual and shared challenges faced by each of the NASA space program widows at that time.

The consolation shared by Betty Grissom and Pat White that their husbands had died having at least made a flight as an astronaut, was something denied to Faith Freeman, Marilyn See, Jean Bassett, Martha Chaffee, Ada Givens, and Beth Williams. This was particularly difficult to accept.

Although the widows ran their homes independently while their husbands were frequently away, they were largely defined through their husbands' astronaut status and found it challenging to create new identities for themselves. Ada Givens was an anesthetist, but most of the others had married very young and hadn't graduated from college.

Each widow's way of coping was quite individual. Jeannie Bassett moved to San Francisco after a year while Beth Williams had always distanced herself from the NASA community. Pat White and Martha Chaffee found comfort in "Togethersville" - the close-knit protective society which had developed around the astronauts.

All of the widows were acutely aware that their futures were better provided for and more secure compared with Vietnam war widows. One astronaut widow said:

"When a soldier is killed it isn't a big event, but astronauts seem to be instant heroes."
golddogThat was so interesting and sad. One thing that surprised me was to see Gus Grissom eating a banana inside the space craft. I guess I thought that they had to have sterile conditions inside the capsule while making it and had imagined that that would not have been allowed in the flight version during manufacture and testing etc.

Fra MauroIt's scary to think that there is probably of video of the removal of the crew after the fire.

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