In Memory: Guenter F. Wendt, 1923-2010
Guenter Wendt, 86, 'Pad Leader' for NASA's moon missions, dies

Share your thoughts and memories about Guenter Wendt

  As oversaw each spacecraft's hatch close, Pad Leader Guenter Wendt sealed the fate of America's early astronauts. Now, he shares his amazing story in The Unbroken Chain.

There was a man who worked at Cape Canaveral who managed to impress every astronaut. We came to trust his judgement and placed our safety in his capable hands. He was meticulous and thorough. Although we called him our pad fuehrer, he really was our pad leader. I was so impressed by his work in Mercury and Gemini, I insisted that he, a McDonnell employee, be transferred to North American after the Apollo 1 fire. So it came to pass that when the white room was closed out for Apollo 7 and his smiling face disappeared from the window, Donn Eisele asked, "I vonder vere Guenter vent?" I stole that line and and made it famous. To find out more, I am sure you will enjoy the thrilling story of the great Guenter Wendt, the dictator of the launch pad.

- Wally Schirra, Mercury, Gemini, Apollo Astronaut

The history of American manned spaceflight would be incomplete without the launch crew perspective, and no man is better qualified to tell that story than Guenter Wendt. His dedication was the indespensible link in the chain that hoisted giant rockets into space. His story is simply fascinating.

- Scott Carpenter, Mercury Astronaut

In the 60's when spaceflight was in its infancy, there was one constant -- Guenter Wendt. He was the last guy to pat young astronauts on the bottom, close the hatch, and watch them fly into the history books. It's a riveting story story told in the words of the German engineer who lived it.

- Paul Haney, NASA PAO, "The Voice of Apollo"

The early days of America's space program were a time when rockets blew up as often as they flew and when astronauts were real characters who thought dying was just another occupational hazard. Of all the books about that unique time and place, Guenter Wendt's is the best of the bunch! Not only is it simply a great read, his dry wit and astute observations will have readers laughing out loud on one page and wiping away tears on the next. Guenter was the "Pad Leader," but he was more than that. He was an eyewitness to a glorious time in our history and a constant observer of the parade of true heros who lived and died in the exotic high-tech jungle we knew as Cape Canaveral. If you're only going to read one book about the pioneering days of NASA, this is the one it ought to be.

- Homer Hickam, author of the #1 New York Times Best-Seller "October Sky"

Guenter Wendt's story of the early days at Cape Canaveral and the people who opened the door to space exploration is priceless. It could only have been written by someone in the position of being an active participant in the exciting and often humorous events. My role, as a News Correspondent and Producer for NBC, gave me ample opportunity to observe and report the stories as they developed. Guenter adds a new dimension to that history, painting it with broad brush strokes that make the stories come down to earth as men reached for the heavens.

- Roy Neal, Producer, NBC News

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