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  Astronaut recovery hats (Mercury through Apollo)

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Author Topic:   Astronaut recovery hats (Mercury through Apollo)
4allmankind
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Posts: 819
From: NJ
Registered: Jan 2004

posted 10-17-2013 10:03 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for 4allmankind   Click Here to Email 4allmankind     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I've always been fascinated with the one-of-a-kind caps that the astronauts wore for activities on the recovery ships. Does anyone know how many of those hats have come to auction? I recall three, all via Heritage:
  • GT-12 Lovell
  • Apollo 13 Lovell (perhaps there is no better!?)
  • Apollo 16 Young
Does anyone else appreciate these hats and keep an eye out for them? Am I missing any that have been publicly offered?

chet
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Posts: 1416
From: Beverly Hills, Calif.
Registered: Nov 2000

posted 10-18-2013 12:52 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for chet   Click Here to Email chet     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Young (as backup Commander) also offered his USS Iwo Jima worn Apollo 13 recovery hat through Heritage.

4allmankind
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Posts: 819
From: NJ
Registered: Jan 2004

posted 10-18-2013 03:00 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for 4allmankind   Click Here to Email 4allmankind     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Good point. That was an odd one to me given that I had no idea these hats were also possibly created for those on the back-up crew as well.

My primary interest in the hats is the fact that when one comes up for auction, it is THE very hat you see in the photos of him on the carrier. Photo matched items have always been fascinating to me.

On the Young/Apollo 13 you mention, have you ever seen a photo of Young on the Iwo Jima? I've searched and can't find anything.

chet
Member

Posts: 1416
From: Beverly Hills, Calif.
Registered: Nov 2000

posted 10-18-2013 08:29 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for chet   Click Here to Email chet     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I haven't ever seen or been able to find a shot of Young (or the other members of the backup crew) on (or below) deck after Apollo 13's recovery, but I doubt there are none that exist. But definitely a rarity — I'm certain of that.

Robert Pearlman
Editor

Posts: 30714
From: Houston, TX
Registered: Nov 1999

posted 10-18-2013 08:44 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Robert Pearlman   Click Here to Email Robert Pearlman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Was the backup crew even on board the Iwo Jima?

I ask because I've looked through the wide angle photos of the crew's welcome on board (stepping off the helo and such) and I don't see them (in hats or otherwise). Wouldn't you expect them to come out and greet the crew?

4allmankind
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Posts: 819
From: NJ
Registered: Jan 2004

posted 10-18-2013 08:53 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for 4allmankind   Click Here to Email 4allmankind     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I don't profess to be an expert in a matter that occured 9 years before my birth but I will say that I spent a considerable amount of time trying to place Young on that ship... And couldn't.

chet
Member

Posts: 1416
From: Beverly Hills, Calif.
Registered: Nov 2000

posted 10-19-2013 04:22 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for chet   Click Here to Email chet     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Unless he is himself mistaken, at least John Young among the backup crew was definitely aboard the ship during the recovery; he wrote as much on the bill of the hat he offered through Heritage.

LM-12
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Posts: 1241
From: Ontario, Canada
Registered: Oct 2010

posted 10-19-2013 01:51 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for LM-12     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
The PAO transcript seems to indicate that John Young was in the MOCR during the Apollo 13 recovery. See page 927.

PAO: Gene Cernan, backup Commander for Apollo 14 is here, Tony England, who served as the scientist for the Apollo 13 crew is in the room at this time as is John Young.

chet
Member

Posts: 1416
From: Beverly Hills, Calif.
Registered: Nov 2000

posted 10-19-2013 07:19 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for chet   Click Here to Email chet     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Well, seems to be a paradox (and a troubling one at that). I certainly don't think Young deliberately misrepresented the facts in question here, but it seems safe to say there was some confusion on his part as to his actual whereabouts that day.

NJSPACEFAN
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Posts: 104
From: Princeton, NJ, USA
Registered: Dec 2000

posted 10-19-2013 07:41 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for NJSPACEFAN   Click Here to Email NJSPACEFAN     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
To borrow a word, I think he "misremembered", just as Sy L. is adamant that Young was not standing over his shoulder as claimed in his book. I had checked all Apollo 13 photos like Robert as well and as backup CDR certainly he would have been in one of the photos greeting the crew but was not; nor in any photo in Hawaii in the stop over. He definitely was in the MSC for the splashdown.

Perhaps a hat was made for him in the event of a normal splashdown; or he flew to the carrier in between splashdown and Hawaii. But there is no photo evidence of him ever being on the carrier.

4allmankind
Member

Posts: 819
From: NJ
Registered: Jan 2004

posted 10-19-2013 10:18 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for 4allmankind   Click Here to Email 4allmankind     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Sad but true. Nicely done LM-12. I never got around to searching the transcript.
Looks like Heritage needs to do the right thing here and get in touch with the buyer.

Robert Pearlman
Editor

Posts: 30714
From: Houston, TX
Registered: Nov 1999

posted 10-19-2013 10:40 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Robert Pearlman   Click Here to Email Robert Pearlman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
quote:
Originally posted by 4allmankind:
Looks like Heritage needs to do the right thing here and get in touch with the buyer.
I don't know if it's a matter of "doing the right thing" as I don't think where Young wore (or didn't wear) the cap matters much in this situation. It wasn't an iconic cap like those worn by the Apollo 13 prime crew.

At best, Heritage could inform the buyer that the historical record disagrees with Young's recollection.

LM-12
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Posts: 1241
From: Ontario, Canada
Registered: Oct 2010

posted 10-19-2013 10:41 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for LM-12     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
As an astronaut, John Young has seen more than most men see in "ten lifetimes". That is a lot to remember!

4allmankind
Member

Posts: 819
From: NJ
Registered: Jan 2004

posted 10-19-2013 10:50 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for 4allmankind   Click Here to Email 4allmankind     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
quote:
Originally posted by Robert Pearlman:
At best, Heritage could inform the buyer that the historical record disagrees with Young's recollection.
Certainly a matter of opinion, as most things tend to be in hobbies but all I can add is that with that particular inscription on the bill... I wouldn't want to own it given what we know now.

The hat was sold under the pretense of being worn on the Iwo Jima and I feel the high bidder has every right to ask for a refund.

Young certainly made an honest mistake here (I can barely recall where I was yesterday) but I feel Heritage, once notified of this development has a duty to reach out to the bidder to see if they think less about their purchase.

I might be on an island by myself with that opinion though.

chet
Member

Posts: 1416
From: Beverly Hills, Calif.
Registered: Nov 2000

posted 10-20-2013 02:28 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for chet   Click Here to Email chet     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
quote:
Originally posted by Robert Pearlman:
I don't know if it's a matter of "doing the right thing" as I don't think where Young wore (or didn't wear) the cap matters much in this situation.
How in the world could it not matter that the most trumpeted assertion about the artifact has now been shown to be demonstrably false?

Robert Pearlman
Editor

Posts: 30714
From: Houston, TX
Registered: Nov 1999

posted 10-20-2013 02:43 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Robert Pearlman   Click Here to Email Robert Pearlman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Because where the hat was worn isn't pivotal to the purpose of the cap, in my opinion. As mentioned, it is not iconic, but regardless of where it was worn (or never worn) it is still the souvenir the Iwo Jima had made and gifted John Young for his role on the Apollo 13 backup crew.

In some ways, the disparity between the inscription and the historical record makes the cap more interesting than it was before, as now it has a story attached to it.

Were it originally sold only as Young's Iwo Jima Apollo 13 cap, no other disclaimers attached, I could easily see it selling for the same $840 given the interest in Young own items in 2009.

chet
Member

Posts: 1416
From: Beverly Hills, Calif.
Registered: Nov 2000

posted 10-20-2013 08:12 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for chet   Click Here to Email chet     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
quote:
Originally posted by Robert Pearlman:
Were it originally sold only as Young's Iwo Jima Apollo 13 cap, no other disclaimers attached, I could easily see it selling for the same $840 given the interest in Young own items in 2009.
But it wasn't sold as "only" Young's Iwo Jima hat, it was sold as the hat he wore on the Iwo Jima on the day Apollo 13 was brought aboard after splashdown.

And in any case, should the ultimate determination of the hat's worth, based on claims made about it, be the buyer's, or yours (based on your assessment of its "intrinsic" value)?

4allmankind
Member

Posts: 819
From: NJ
Registered: Jan 2004

posted 10-20-2013 08:23 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for 4allmankind   Click Here to Email 4allmankind     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Well, a nice piece of investigation work was done here in our community with this thread, though it's theme has changed slightly from its original purpose.

Robert Pearlman
Editor

Posts: 30714
From: Houston, TX
Registered: Nov 1999

posted 10-20-2013 08:43 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Robert Pearlman   Click Here to Email Robert Pearlman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
quote:
Originally posted by chet:
...should the ultimate determination of the hat's worth
The hat is not a commodity, so there is no "ultimate" determination of the hat's worth. We can only share our opinion, as I have mine. You (and others) are free to disagree.

chet
Member

Posts: 1416
From: Beverly Hills, Calif.
Registered: Nov 2000

posted 10-20-2013 09:01 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for chet   Click Here to Email chet     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
quote:
Originally posted by 4allmankind:
Well, a nice piece of investigation work was done here in our community with this thread...
There is no dispute about that, agreed — hat's off (pun intended) to LM-12's very nice detective work!

chet
Member

Posts: 1416
From: Beverly Hills, Calif.
Registered: Nov 2000

posted 10-20-2013 09:42 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for chet   Click Here to Email chet     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
quote:
Originally posted by Robert Pearlman:
The hat is not a commodity, so there is no "ultimate" determination of the hat's worth.
Hate to disagree again, but the hat couldn't have been auctioned were it not a commodity, making that aspect of the hat being the only one that should be taken into consideration for the purpose of the debate here.

LM-12
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Posts: 1241
From: Ontario, Canada
Registered: Oct 2010

posted 10-20-2013 11:52 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for LM-12     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
That was interesting. Thanks for those compliments. Glad to share the info.

The Apollo 12 crew wore two sets of hats during the recovery — blue caps stepping off the helicopter, and white caps in the Mobile Quarantine Facility. Looks like the white caps have U.S. Navy emblems like the ones Conrad and Gordon wore on their Gemini 11 suits.

Photo AS12-50-7369 shows one of the white caps in the CM during the translunar coast.

LM-12
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Posts: 1241
From: Ontario, Canada
Registered: Oct 2010

posted 10-22-2013 12:33 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for LM-12     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
John Young, Ken Mattingly, Charlie Duke and Tom Stafford can be seen in the MOCR at 59:33 into this Apollo 13 recovery footage. John Young has his pipe.

chet
Member

Posts: 1416
From: Beverly Hills, Calif.
Registered: Nov 2000

posted 10-22-2013 11:47 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for chet   Click Here to Email chet     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
...and even there John Young's not wearing the hat.

(On the other hand, he is "at" the recovery.)

For me, on the "diminishing Young's legendary status" scale, this episode falls somewhere between the smuggled G-3 sandwich, and him getting "gassy" at Descartes — pretty much human, I guess.

Fantastic digging, LM-12!

LM-12
Member

Posts: 1241
From: Ontario, Canada
Registered: Oct 2010

posted 04-16-2014 07:09 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for LM-12     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
They can also be seen briefly in the "Houston, we've got a problem" NASA film.

When did astronauts start wearing the recovery hats? Was it on Gemini 11? Any earlier photos?

4allmankind
Member

Posts: 819
From: NJ
Registered: Jan 2004

posted 05-13-2014 09:13 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for 4allmankind   Click Here to Email 4allmankind     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
The Astronaut Scholarship Foundation auctioned Bill Pogue's Skylab recovery worn cap. So... That makes four that have come to public auction?

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