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November 6, 2012 > Special Veteran's Day Tribute for late-Astronaut Neil Armstrong

Special Veteran's Day Tribute for late-Astronaut Neil Armstrong

Submitted By Victoria Sanchez De Alba

The USS Hornet Museum will remember the late-astronaut Neil Armstrong during a special Veteran's Day tribute on Nov. 10, which will include the grand re-opening of the newly renovated Apollo Exhibit. The museum houses the largest collection of Apollo mission artifacts on the West Coast. The ceremony begins at 1 p.m. onboard the USS Hornet, located at 707 W. Hornet Ave., Pier 3 in Alameda.

The Hornet will observe Veteran's week Nov. 5-11. All military veterans wearing unit jackets, hats or who have proper ID will receive free admission to the Hornet during this special week.

In July 1969, after Neil Armstrong and his Apollo 11 crew successfully landed on the moon, the USS Hornet recovered astronauts Armstrong, Buzz Aldrin and Michael Collins when they returned to earth. The astronauts also spent several days in quarantine aboard the aircraft carrier.

"While the world knows Neil Armstrong as a space exploration hero, the Hornet Museum would like Bay Area citizens to know his qualities on a more personal level," said Bob Fish, Apollo curator of the USS Hornet Museum and author of the book "Hornet Plus Three: The Story of the Apollo 11 Recovery," which features eyewitness accounts by the late Armstrong and other key Navy and NASA personnel. "During our remembrance event, speakers will not only talk about the exciting events of July 1969 and the U.S. space program, they will also share their personal experience of an American icon who will be forever etched in human history."

In addition to a wreath-tossing ceremony led by Coast Guard Chaplain LCDR Mark A. Giralmo and Hornet Chaplain John Berger, two special guest speakers will be featured:

Dr. William Carpentier - The NASA flight surgeon assigned to the Apollo 11 mission, featured speaker Carpentier worked closely with the three astronauts during pre-flight training as well as throughout their post-flight activities, including the dramatic at-sea recovery, the quarantine period aboard the USS Hornet, and their worldwide tour. He became well-acquainted with Neil Armstrong and will share some never-before-revealed personal memories of his interaction with the late astronaut and American hero.

Former astronaut Daniel W. Bursch (Captain, USN, Ret,) - Speaking on what the Apollo moon landings meant to the U.S. and the world, Bursch was selected into the astronaut program in January 1990 and became an astronaut in July 1991. He has been on four space flights and has logged more than 227 days in space. His technical assignments include: space communicator (CAPCOM) in mission control; chief of astronaut appearances; and working on controls and displays for the space shuttle and space station in the Astronaut Office Operations Development Branch.

Following the ceremony, there will be an historic flyover by the Bay Bomber's Squadron featuring a daring formation of four Nanchang CJ-6A aircraft. (Weather Permitting)

The media and public are invited onboard for this special tribute. Along with viewing one of the USS Hornet Museum's most important offerings - the newly-renovated Apollo Exhibit - the day's highlights also include a Big Band musical performance by the Hornet Band starting at 11 a.m.

Visitors can meet former crew, sit in the cockpit of a fighter jet, and enjoy the sights and sounds of naval aviation as well.

Normal museum hours and admission prices apply. Ample free parking is available across from the pier. For more information, visit www.uss-hornet.org or call (510) 521-8448.

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