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[b]Space Cover #160: MA-7 USS Pierce[/b]
The 50th anniversary of Mercury-Atlas 7 (aka - Aurora 7) with Scott Carpenter onboard, is right around the corner! So let's take a look at a cover from that flight. Most of you know that Aurora 7 landed 402 km downrange from the planned splashdown point, and took quite a while to recover. Carpenter was picked up by helicopters from the planned prime recovery ship, the USS Intrepid. The closest ship to the splashdown was the destroyer USS Farragut, however, it did not have the proper boat and aircraft crane to hoist Aurora 7 out of the water. About 6 hours after the landing, the destroyer USS John R Pierce successfully recovered Aurora 7. Since the Pierce was planned to be a secondary recovery ship, few covers were postmarked onboard the Pierce for the capsule recovery. Couple that with the demand for covers postmarked onboard a ship that actually recovered a capsule, and one finds that USS Pierce covers for the recovery are scarce. My current USS John R. Pierce cover is shown above.
How many covers were actually postmarked onboard the Pierce? Nobody seems to know for sure, and I've even heard speculation that there could not have been more than ten. This is the third Pierce that I have owned (the previous two can be seen [URL=http://pic80.picturetrail.com/VOL846/454068/823210/41696500.jpg]here[/URL] and [URL=http://pic80.picturetrail.com/VOL846/454068/3999613/272332510.jpg]here[/URL]). Since I've had three different ones in my collecting life, I'd tend to think that there must be more than ten Pierces out there.
So, let's do a census! Who else has a Pierce (or more)? Please respond if you do, and even post images if you can. And if yours is one of my previous two Pierces (I don't remember who those went to), please note that as well, so we don't double account those. This obviously won't be a complete census, but could give us an order-of-magnitude estimate. Thanks gang!
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