More to Kennedy than myth

December 13, 2013 

So, you think that the captain of PT109 was a myth?

In the late summer of 1963 my step-father received a telephone call about the 80-second test firing of the Saturn F1 rocket engine to be used for the moon landing. It was prior to my induction into the Air Force on Oct. 23, 1963. I heard the news of President Kennedy's assassination while marching to class on Nov. 22, 1963.

I was a fan of Kennedy. He stood the Russians down from setting up rockets in Cuba the previous year. My fellow airmen had told me about how they had been readied to report to the flight line for duty in the possible war with Russia and Cuba at the time of the Cuban Missile Crisis.

Shortly before I left the Air Force in 1967, astronauts Roger Chaffee, Gus Grissom and Edward White died in a fire in their capsule because the pressure buildup prevented them from opening the door and escaping. My year at Kennedy Space Center enabled me to meet and talk with guys like Fred Hayes and Neil Armstrong.

Kennedy's promise to go to the moon by the end of the decade was kept even though Kennedy never saw it.

Richard Orr


Belleville News-Democrat is pleased to provide this opportunity to share information, experiences and observations about what's in the news. Some of the comments may be reprinted elsewhere in the site or in the newspaper. We encourage lively, open debate on the issues of the day, and ask that you refrain from profanity, hate speech, personal comments and remarks that are off point. Thank you for taking the time to offer your thoughts.

Commenting FAQs | Terms of Service