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  CNN: "Mystery of man with... NASA helmet"

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Author Topic:   CNN: "Mystery of man with... NASA helmet"
stsmithva
Member

Posts: 1537
From: Fairfax, VA, USA
Registered: Feb 2007

posted 08-07-2012 07:45 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for stsmithva   Click Here to Email stsmithva     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Here is an odd little story on CNN this morning about a man who police found to have dozens of fake IDs (everything from law enforcement badges to hospital access passes) "and even a full NASA flight suit and helmet." I wonder what that is going to turn out to be.

Spaceguy5
Member

Posts: 421
From: Pampa, TX, US
Registered: May 2011

posted 08-07-2012 08:01 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Spaceguy5   Click Here to Email Spaceguy5     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
This sounds familiar. ABC News, June 8, 1998:
NASA announced 25 new American astronaut candidates on June 5, while a would-be colleague was in a Houston jail awaiting arraignment for falsely posing as a member of that class.

The name of Jerry Whittredge isn't new to NASA. For months, the 48-year-old pilot has been visiting space facilities and conferences around the country with a convincing story that he was about to be named to the 1998 class.

So credible was this claim that, according to a NASA criminal complaint filed with the U.S. Attorney's Office in Houston, Whittredge was given unwarranted access to both NASA and military flight facilities.

Whittredge has his own Web site, giving himself a fanciful background. According to people he talked to, he wove convincing narratives of being a student intern during the Apollo 13 crisis and serving coffee to Flight Director Gene Kranz, and of being personally called by Bill Clinton to inform him of his astronaut selection.

People who lived in his RV park near Galveston told local Houston TV reporters that he was fully believable.

Over the last three decades, dozens of imposters have passed themselves off as NASA astronauts, although they've generally been pretty harmless. They attend public activities around the country, wearing NASA-like uniforms, telling stories, and signing autographs.

Some use their own names, some use the names of real NASA astronauts. Few ever got into trouble — until now.

Whittredge seems to have crossed the line with what the NASA complaint called "false personation," making false statements about his status in order to obtain "anything of value." He was arrested by the FBI on May 31, but his arraignment has been delayed due to his claim that his lawyer is named William J. Clinton.

Even more detail on an archived Houston Chronicle article.

p51
Member

Posts: 1118
From: Olympia, WA, USA
Registered: Sep 2011

posted 08-07-2012 11:37 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for p51   Click Here to Email p51     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I watched the video in the story and noticed that his "space helmet" was just a standard jet jockey helmet from the 70s-80s with no NASA markings at all. They didn't show much on the flight suit but it looked like the right color Nomex one with a "shuttle chaser" patch that anyone can get and a NASA meatball. For about $100, anyone can get one done up like this (I have one in my closet right now that fits me perfectly).
It bothers me, though, that he has a bunch of uniforms and stuff like that and they refer to that alone as something he shouldn't have. Heck, if they raided my closet, they'd think I'm also trying to pass myself off as an astronaut as I have a lot of stuff like that, but would never lie about that (in constrast, I once got into a argument with someone who saw me wearing one of NASA jackets at a airplane museum where he wouldn't believe I WASN'T an astronaut!)

All times are CT (US)

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