I meant to include a picture of Wernher von Braun in my Apollo 11 tribute. He was, after all, the guy who got us there.
But not the picture you see now. I meant to include the picture at the bottom of this post.
For those of you who aren't giant fucking dorks filled with an encyclopedic knowledge of usless trivia, Wernher von Braun (pronounced 'Verner von Brown') was the chief German rocket scientist who developed the V2 rocket for Hitler during WWII. Capturing von Braun and his team was a huge priority for Allied troops as they closed in on Germany in the spring of 1945. There was even a special team and operation assigned to this task. It was called Operation Paperclip.
The Russians were after them too.
Luckily, von Braun and his team made it easy. When Germany fell into chaos, von Braun and his team talked it over and decided they'd MUCH rather be captured by the Americans than the Russians. So they stashed trainloads (literally, trainloads) of hardware and documents in underground tunnels and then actually went out searching for American troops so they could surrender.
The Soviets captured a lot of rocket scientists and equipment too, but WE had von Braun and his team! The Soviets got the left-overs. Our Germans were better than their Germans!!
I always liked ol' Wernher. He had a pretty good sense of humor. Back in the early days of the U.S. Space program when our shit kept blowing up on the pad and the Soviets were bitch-slapping us like a bunch of Independence Avenue crack ho's holding out on their pimps, someone asked von Braun "What will we find when we finally get to the moon?"
His response was "At this rate, empty Vodka bottles."
That's a funny fucking Nazi! Guy cracks me up!
If you are interested in learning more, I can recommend two very good books.
The first is "Peenemunde to Canaveral" by Dieter K. Huzel with an introduction by Wernher von Braun.
The second is "The Rocket Team - From The V-2 to the Saturn Moon Rocket" by Frederick I. Ordway III and Mitchell R. Sharpe with a Forward by Wernher von Braun.
I just love my library. There was an improvised bookmark in my First Edition copy of "Peenemunde to Canaveral". I unfolded it and it was a letter from some Consumer Relations puke from Microsoft thanking me for some comments on my Microsoft Product Registration Card. It was dated November 21, 1988 and was sent to my Hackettstown, NJ address.
When I opened up the cover of my copy of "The Rocket Team", I was greeted by a yellow post-it note that read
"Dear Xavier, this will probably be the only erection I'll give you. Enjoy, Debbie."
Who the fuck was Debbie?
So, back to my original story, I had meant to include this picture in my previous post. It was taken on the day of the launch (July 16, 1969) and I'm sure that Wernher was talkng to another engineer at launch control about the trajectory of the Saturn V as it cleared the tower or some arcane shit like that.
But given Wernher's history, you just have to wonder what was going through the photographers mind and if he caught any shit from the persnickety NASA PR folks about why he had to take this particular shot.
I bet he was subjected to the same sort of "coaching opportunity" as the photogs who snapped these gems:
Happy Moon Day!!