An Apollo 11 Frogman Remembers History in the Making
The 50th anniversary of the historic first Moon landing is just around the corner. Celebrations have begun for all involved. The recovery ship, now the USS Hornet Museum, will host thousands of visitors at Alameda, California. All NASA-related institutions and space centers plan to conduct special events. The two living astronauts, Buzz Aldrin and Michael Collins, will be sought after to attend dozens of events around the world. Neil Armstrong is being honored by a movie of his life, “First Man.”
John Wolfram will recount his Apollo 11 recovery experiences, including how it felt being the first man on earth to greet the astronauts. He will also be sharing his personal struggles coping with drugs and the controversial Vietnam War that led him to discover Jesus Christ.
John Wolfram remembers that remarkable day as if it were yesterday.
“Who would have thought that a 20-year-old seaman like me would have gotten the chance to be part of history? Dreams do come true.”
When Apollo 11 astronauts Neil Armstrong, Buzz Aldrin, and Michael Collins splashed down into the Pacific Ocean on July 24, 1969, after their historic moonwalk, the first human they saw had flowers plastered all over his wetsuit.
“Remember it was the 1960s,” said Wolfram. “Flower power represented peace and love. It was my statement to the world to give peace a chance in a very turbulent era and controversial war.”
At each event, Wolfram will display memorabilia from the recovery.
“People will get to see the original pack that held the parachute sea anchor I attached underneath the capsule,” said Wolfram, “plus never before seen photos and rare Kapton gold foil Wolfram personally took from the Columbia space capsule that brought the astronauts back from the moon. I will also be selling a few framed pieces of Kapton foil to fund our mission work in Vietnam and sign copies of my book, Splashdown, The Rescue of a Navy Frogman.”
Rescuing astronauts was not the only adventure of Wolfram’s short Navy career. He was deployed twice to Vietnam, where he received a Purple Heart from a leg wound received during a firefight with the Viet Cong.
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“Losing eight close friends was traumatic,” said Wolfram, “I was one of the fortunate ones. I was able to return to the United States and pick up where I left off.”
Wolfram’s Christian journey has led him back to Vietnam, among those whom he once fought, in order to lead them to Jesus Christ.
“Returning to Vietnam in the early 90s was very emotional. I knew then I had to return as a missionary for Jesus Christ. I recently built a Bible school in central Vietnam, a memorial in honor of my SEAL teammates and high school friends who died during the war,” said Wolfram.
Splashdown, The Rescue of a Navy Frogman can be purchased online at johnwolfram.com or at events.