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  Guenter F. Wendt, Pad Leader (1923 - 2010) (Page 3)

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Author Topic:   Guenter F. Wendt, Pad Leader (1923 - 2010)
rjurek349
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posted 05-03-2010 12:27 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for rjurek349   Click Here to Email rjurek349     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
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divemaster
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posted 05-03-2010 12:32 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for divemaster   Click Here to Email divemaster     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
quote:
Originally posted by Dodge15:
When we were leaving, we ran into Gunter printing his boarding pass. We only intended speaking with him for a few minutes. He spoke to us for over an hour about his experiences.
I remember that. I was standing right there watching your boys being hypnotized by his stories. That was a wonderful 15 minutes of life.

Jurg Bolli
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posted 05-03-2010 12:37 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Jurg Bolli   Click Here to Email Jurg Bolli     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
A sad day indeed.

Jurg

PowerCat
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posted 05-03-2010 12:38 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for PowerCat   Click Here to Email PowerCat     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I was very saddened to hear of Guenter's passing. I just got to meet him at the 40th Anniversary of Apollo 13 at the KCSC in Hutchinson. SInce we both share the same last name, it was indeed an honor to visit with such a space pioneer and legend. He will be missed.

blue_eyes
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posted 05-03-2010 01:00 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for blue_eyes   Click Here to Email blue_eyes     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
quote:
Originally posted by 1202 Alarm:
The souvenir he will leave in my heart is 10 times worth all the flown memorabilia I'll ever get.
Beautifully put...

.

Spoon
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posted 05-03-2010 01:05 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Spoon     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
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nasamad
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posted 05-03-2010 01:07 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for nasamad   Click Here to Email nasamad     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
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nasamad
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posted 05-03-2010 01:08 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for nasamad   Click Here to Email nasamad     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I know a full stop is the normal way on here of paying our respects, but I just wanted to add how much I admired and respected the work that Guenter put into the US space program. A great man.

Adam

medaris
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posted 05-03-2010 01:13 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for medaris   Click Here to Email medaris     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
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RMH
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posted 05-03-2010 01:22 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for RMH   Click Here to Email RMH     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
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Henk Boshuijer
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posted 05-03-2010 01:24 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Henk Boshuijer   Click Here to Email Henk Boshuijer     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
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BA002
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posted 05-03-2010 01:36 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for BA002   Click Here to Email BA002     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
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Philip
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posted 05-03-2010 01:37 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Philip   Click Here to Email Philip     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
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icarkie
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posted 05-03-2010 01:37 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for icarkie   Click Here to Email icarkie     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
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Kite
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posted 05-03-2010 01:42 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Kite     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
. RIP

Rick Boos
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From: Celina,Ohio U.S.A.
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posted 05-03-2010 01:49 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Rick Boos   Click Here to Email Rick Boos     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
God speed my friend! Now you will know all the answers!

Jay Chladek
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From: Bellevue, NE, USA
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posted 05-03-2010 01:52 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Jay Chladek   Click Here to Email Jay Chladek     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Florida Today posted a very good obituary online. In addition to mentions about Guenter's days in Mercury through shuttle, it also covers his early life in Germany (something almost never mentioned). It is a great read.

Rick Mulheirn
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posted 05-03-2010 01:52 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Rick Mulheirn   Click Here to Email Rick Mulheirn     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
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machbusterman
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posted 05-03-2010 02:12 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for machbusterman   Click Here to Email machbusterman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Very sad to learn of Guenter's passing. I only had the pleasure of meeting him once (at the first ASF show).. and now I cannot seem to find the photograph he signed for me (one with the huge wrench). I will search for it later.

My thoughts and condolences to his family and friends. R.I.P. Guenter.

Fezman92
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posted 05-03-2010 02:13 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Fezman92   Click Here to Email Fezman92     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I've already posted before but this just really rips me up. Today I was planing on writing a letter to him letting him know that what he and the other workers at the launch pad did and still do is just as amazing as what the people the send off do. From what I have read about him, he seemed like an amazing guy. Is there anyway I could contact his family? Like I said before this is just really eating at me for some reason. I guess it was because I can never let him know that there is one more person who appreciates what he did. RIP Guenter Wendt

TRS
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posted 05-03-2010 02:20 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for TRS   Click Here to Email TRS     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
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This is incredibly sad news - a wonderful man and a true pioneer who was always willing to share his knowledge and expereince with us. Godspeed.

MarylandSpace
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posted 05-03-2010 02:21 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for MarylandSpace   Click Here to Email MarylandSpace     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
One of my fondest space memories is asking Guenter if I could sit and chat with him as he was in the food court next to the Saturn V at KSC. What a kind and gracious man. What a wonderful chat. I have a memorable photo of him and I. We will all miss you.

David Stephenson
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posted 05-03-2010 02:38 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for David Stephenson   Click Here to Email David Stephenson     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Very sad news, he will be greatly missed.

randy
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posted 05-03-2010 02:39 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for randy   Click Here to Email randy     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
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747flyer
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posted 05-03-2010 02:54 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for 747flyer   Click Here to Email 747flyer     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
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buckeyecal
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posted 05-03-2010 02:56 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for buckeyecal   Click Here to Email buckeyecal     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
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Robert Pearlman
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posted 05-03-2010 03:00 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Robert Pearlman   Click Here to Email Robert Pearlman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Kansas Cosmosphere and Space Center release
The Kansas Cosmosphere and Space Center is mourning the loss today of the space program's historic Pad Leader, Guenter Wendt. Guenter was in charge of all pad operations prior to launch and ensured the astronauts and spacecraft of the Mercury, Gemini, Apollo, and early Shuttle missions were ready on launch day. Guenter died early this morning at his Florida home. He was 85.

Several items from Guenter's personal space history collection have been donated to the Cosmosphere and are on display in the Apollo gallery. He has spoken at the Cosmosphere several times and, most recently, participated in the gala Apollo 13 40th anniversary celebration at the Cosmosphere in Hutchinson on April 16 and 17. He also spoke on numerous occasions to student groups from the Cosmosphere who were visiting Kennedy Space Center as part of the Cosmosphere's summer camp program. He was a strong supporter and inspired thousands of students to pursue careers in the space, science, math, engineering and technology fields.

"Guenter was one of the key individuals in America's space program," said Chris Orwoll, President and CEO at the Cosmosphere. "His story of emigrating to the U.S. after World War II, working his way up through the ranks at McDonnell Douglas, and playing such a key part in our space program are inspiring. He was the right person, in the right place, at the right time and was a key element in the success of our Mercury, Gemini, Apollo, and Shuttle programs."

"He was inspiring, joyful and loved to challenge young people to be the inventors and thinkers of tomorrow," noted Marisa Honomichl, Vice President of Marketing at the Cosmosphere. "He told me his latest challenge to the engineering students he was speaking with was to develop cold fusion to the point it could be used as the cleanest most efficient form of energy on our planet and then...devise a way for that energy to be transmitted without wires."

Guenter F. Wendt was the "Pad Leader" during the Mercury, Gemini and manned Apollo missions. He was the last person to see the astronauts before they blasted into space. He was born in Germany, came to the U.S. in 1949, and became a citizen in 1955. As soon as he got US citizenship, he was hired as an engineer for McDonnell Aircraft and was given primary responsibility for spacecraft test, checkout, and launch operations for all Mercury and Gemini manned flights. After the 1967 Apollo 1 accident, he was hired by North American Rockwell and oversaw spacecraft launch preparations for all the manned Apollo, Skylab, and Apollo-Soyuz flights. He was in charge of flight crew safety during the Shuttle ALT and all operational flights of the Shuttle until his retirement in 1989.

Wendt came to be regarded as a welcomed good luck figure to mission crews. He joked with crew members and wished them a successful trip as he directed the final procedures before launch. He and the astronauts often exchanged gag gifts while they were in the "White Room," the last place the astronauts were before being sealed in the spacecraft. The Cosmosphere has one of the two remaining White Rooms on display, as well as the gifts astronauts gave to Wendt before the historic Apollo 11 mission.

Wendt's was the final word for the launch tower white room team responsible for loading and securing the mission crews, ensuring that spacecraft instrumentation, switches and controls were correct for launch, and securing the hatch. Nobody touched anything without his permission. In January of 1967, Wendt, still with McDonnell, was supervising the test range in Titusville, Florida. Since NASA changed contractors on the Apollo program to North American Rockwell, he was not involved with the Apollo 1 spacecraft, in which a cabin fire caused the deaths of Gus Grissom, Edward H. White, and Roger Chaffee.

Grissom's backup and replacement on the Apollo 7 flight, Mercury and Gemini veteran Wally Schirra, insisted after the accident on having Wendt back in charge of the pad crew for his flight, and convinced astronaut leader Deke Slayton to get North American to hire him.

Crewmembers of the other Apollo missions shared an equally high regard for Wendt, and he stayed on with the formal Pad Leader title through the end of the Apollo missions. He continued to work at the cape into the early Space Shuttle flights.

Wendt later served as a technical consultant for several TV and movie features and wrote in his biography The Unbroken Chain about his time at NASA. He remained a personal friend of many American astronauts, and is a recipient of NASA's "Letter of Appreciation" award. He was a close friend and supporter of the Cosmosphere and his inspirational nature and vision for the future will be fondly remembered.

Darron
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posted 05-03-2010 03:02 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Darron     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
When I wrote some memoirs of time with the space program (just for friends and family, as I was a nobody) a little chapter called "Face To Face With A Legend" described meeting Guenter when I was sent out to 39A to pick up some parts, in early 1971. It concludes -
Many [30] years later I found myself face to face with Guenter Wendt once again- to have him sign a copy of his book. He wouldn't say it of himself, but in my book, he is still a Legend.

hlbjr
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posted 05-03-2010 03:05 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for hlbjr   Click Here to Email hlbjr     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
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Dave Clow
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posted 05-03-2010 03:05 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Dave Clow   Click Here to Email Dave Clow     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I can't neglect to share a story I'll always treasure. Guenter was always generous with his time and anecdotes, but this one stays with me.

At the 2005 Sims and Hankow autograph show in New Jersey he told me how an African-American gentleman came to the Burbank show in 2004 specifically to see him. The man's father was a custodian at the Cape during the Apollo days, and had always spoken of Guenter with great respect. The son related the father's tale of how Guenter gave the Cape janitors a personal tour of the gantry and the White Room, and he came to Burbank to shake Guenter's hand and say thanks.

Guenter was overwhelmed. He told me how the military brass and the government officials were constantly being toured around all the launch facilities, and said flatly that he never gave a damn about the generals and the Congressmen. The janitors, however, mattered to him, and Guenter wanted to treat them as valued teammates whose work meant as much to the program as his own did.

That man's son never forgot the feeling of collegiality and pride that Guenter gave his father. It moved Guenter to be remembered that way.

blue_eyes
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posted 05-03-2010 03:22 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for blue_eyes   Click Here to Email blue_eyes     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Dave Clow, awesome story... a perfect tribute. I got tears in my eyes. Thanks for sharing this with us all.

Frederic Janik
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posted 05-03-2010 03:24 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Frederic Janik   Click Here to Email Frederic Janik     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Dave, thank you for sharing this story.

.

Michael Clemente
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posted 05-03-2010 03:30 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Michael Clemente   Click Here to Email Michael Clemente     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
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Moonwalker1954
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posted 05-03-2010 03:49 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Moonwalker1954   Click Here to Email Moonwalker1954     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
This is a very sad news. Now, we all know where Guenter Wendt...up above!

.

Pierre-Yves

Michael Ritter
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posted 05-03-2010 04:02 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Michael Ritter   Click Here to Email Michael Ritter     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
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Madon_space
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posted 05-03-2010 04:08 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Madon_space   Click Here to Email Madon_space     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
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Dave Clow
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posted 05-03-2010 04:33 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Dave Clow   Click Here to Email Dave Clow     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
quote:
Originally posted by Frederic Janik:
Dave, thank you for sharing this story.
My pleasure. There must be a hundred more like that waiting to be shared. We're all very lucky to have met Guenter.

apolloprojeckt
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posted 05-03-2010 04:43 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for apolloprojeckt   Click Here to Email apolloprojeckt     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
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NASAgoob
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posted 05-03-2010 04:47 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for NASAgoob     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
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SpaceSteve
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posted 05-03-2010 04:55 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for SpaceSteve   Click Here to Email SpaceSteve     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
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