SP-4223 "Before This Decade Is Out..."




[v] This volume takes advantage of the large collections of oral histories available within NASA which have been conducted and gathered since the early beginnings of the agency. More recent efforts include the Johnson Space Center Oral History Project (JSC OHP) which was established in 1996, under the direction of JSC Director George Abbey, to document and record the memories of those individuals involved in the history of human space flight. We pursued the task of creating this book when the opportunity presented itself to utilize many of the oral histories resulting from this and other oral history projects, specifically focusing on those people who had a role in the successful completion of Project Apollo in order to publish their personal reflections in commemoration of the 30th anniversary of Apollo 11. In doing so, we incurred numerous debts.

A great deal of time and effort went into researching, interviewing, transcribing, and duplicating each of the oral histories present in this volume. For those interviews conducted and used in this volume as part of the JSC OHP, a special note of thanks is extended to Bill Larsen, Carol Butler, Summer Chick Bergen, Rebecca Wright, Michelle Kelly, Kevin Rusnak, Tim Farrell, and Sasha Adams Tarrant. In addition, a special note of thanks to my JSC Branch Manager, Peggy Wooten, who was patient in allowing me time to do research.

Numerous past oral histories were also researched and utilized. Those that helped in locating these include Janet Kovacevich of the JSC Science and Technical Information Center. Joan Ferry and Lois Morris of the JSC Collection at Rice University were invaluable in researching, locating, and making copies of hundreds of pages of interview transcripts for review. Early interviews used in this work include those conducted by H. George Frederickson, Henry J. Anna, Barry Kelmachter, Roger E. Bilstein, Robert Sherrod, John Beltz, Eugene M. Emme, Jay Holmes, Addison Roghrock, Ivan Ertel, and James M. Grimwood.

Among the many previous oral history projects conducted by and through NASA, one stands out as being the most complete in [vi] both size and detail. Much gratitude is given to the late Robert Sherrod who, from 1968-1974, interviewed dozens of key players in the Apollo program. A career journalist, he covered General MacArthur's campaign against the Japanese in the South Pacific during WWII. After the war, he was one of Time-Life's leading correspondents, specializing in defense matters as well as covering the early years of the U.S. manned space program. He was the final editor of the Saturday Evening Post before its demise. Time-Life contracted Sherrod to research and write a detailed history of the Apollo program but sadly enough, the book never materialized. In its wake, he left to NASA hundreds of pages of detailed transcripts meticulously annotated for future researchers, several of which were used for this book.

For those interviews that survive only in audio tape form, recovery and restoration work was needed during the course of research. JSC OHP technical support members Paul Rollins and Franklin Tarazona proved invaluable in quickly responding to various duplication requests and technical questions.

The numerous photos that appear throughout the text were gleaned from several sources, including the editor's own personal collection. Mike Gentry of the JSC Media Resource Center came through with several last minute photo requests. Mary Wilkerson and Linda Turney of the JSC Still Image Repository also spent time in responding to numerous photo queries. Many photos also came to be used in this book as a result of Brian Nicklas, of the Smithsonian's National Air and Space Museum, who led this editor to their research office's newly acquired Herb Desind Collection.

Much of this text would not have been possible initially without the willingness of those individuals (both past and present) featured in these chapters to take the time and effort to share their personal reflections. A special thank you is extended to James E. Webb, Thomas O. Paine, Wernher von Braun, Robert R. Gilruth, George E. Mueller, Eugene F. Kranz, Arthur J. Rogers, Jr., James H. "Harry" Guin, Glynn S. Lunney, Geneva B. Barnes, Charles M. Duke, Jr., Harrison H. "Jack" Schmitt, George M. Low, and Maxime A. Faget.

Numerous people at other NASA Centers associated with [vii] historical study, technical information, and the mechanics of publishing helped in myriad ways in the preparation of this documentary history. Virginia Butler of the NASA Stennis Space Center provided several oral histories that were used as part of the Stennis Space Center's History Project, done in conjunction with the Mississippi Oral History Program of the University of Southern Mississippi. At NASA Headquarters, Stephen J. Garber helped in the final proofing. M. Louise Alstork and Nadine J. Andreassen of the NASA History Office performed editorial and proofreading work on the project; and the staffs of the NASA Headquarters Library, the Scientific and Technical Information Program, and the NASA Document Services Center provided assistance in locating and preparing for publication the documentary materials used in this work. The NASA Headquarters Printing and Design Office developed the layout and handled printing. Specifically, we wish to acknowledge the work of Jane E. Penn, Chris Pysz, Geoff Hartman, Kelly L. Rindfusz, and Joel Vendette for their editorial and design work. In addition, Michael Crnkovic, Stanley Artis, and Jeffrey Thompson saw the book through the publication process. Thanks are due them all.


Glen E. Swanson
NASA Johnson Space Center
July 20, 1999