Mercury 7, A Memory

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n27sb

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A few years ago I asked my Dad to write down what he remembered about his time with the Mercury program. I recently stumbled across this file.
He is not an author and this has not been edited.
It is the written work of Dominic Boetto and any duplication or use of this document should have his written approval.
The included stories are true to his best recollection. He is a humble guy and did not write this for any other reason than I asked him to do it for me.
I would like to share this with our members. He gave me and helped me build my first rocket over 55 years ago, I think it was an Estes Falcon.
If anyone has any questions or comments on this article I am sure he would be please to entertain them. If so contact me by PM
He worked side by side with many now notable historic figures.
I will also dig through my files and try to share some original photos and documents from this era.
I love you Dad
 

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n27sb

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I would like to point out that as you read this article that you pay particular attention to page 5. It is a description of the events that occurred during the launch of capsule #2. He was on site that day. There is a somewhat comedic use of this original film in, I believe, "The Right Stuff".
Although my father describes this event in a rather casual way, picture yourself nearby the fully fueled booster that is unlatched and balanced with all of it's laundry hanging loose ready to gain purchase on any mild breeze with the possibility that the auto sequence might fire the Retro Rockets on the bottom of the capsule.
 

rocketguy101

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Thanks for posting this! I love personal histories by folks that worked in the program.
 

n27sb

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I was unpacking some of my Dad's space collection over the weekend and found these.
IMG_8444.JPG

The section of cable is a piece of the umbilical cord from Freedom 7. Only a few dozen of these were handed out.
The pink tickets were from Shepards return reception party .
The white ticket was a cocktail party for men only the evening of his flight. Alan was not there because he was still out on the carrier. Bruce Estes was one of the McDonnel department heads and his name appears on the Mercury 7 memorial located in Titusville, Fl.
 
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n27sb

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A few weeks before Glenn's flight he attended church. We were there because it was our regular church.
My brave little 9 year old sister approached him for this autograph. John regularly attended our church and I believe that this was one of his last public appearances prior to his flight because he entered his pre-flight quarantine the next day.
My dad is now 91 and in great shape. There are not many of the original Mercury team around.
IMG_8445.JPG
IMG_8446.JPG
 

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Tobor

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Very very cool stuff!!! Just amazing. Thank you so much for posting these.
 

Tobor

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@n27sb
I just finished reading your father's document. I loved it!! It should be edited and published. Seriously, you should talk to your dad and try to convince him to do it.
 

n27sb

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I just finished reading your father's document. I loved it!! It should be edited and published. Seriously, you should talk to your dad and try to convince him to do it.
He doesn’t have any interest in doing that on his own. It would be a project I would have to take on. Not sure there’s enough there for anything other than a magazine article. He is still sharp as a tack so if I ever came across a writer that wanted to take that project on he could interview him directly.
I am open to any ideas if someone has input. That is just a sample of the hundreds of stories I’ve heard over the years.
 
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n27sb

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Some of our members are pilots so they would recognize the format of a pilots handbook for a specific aircraft but most have not seen one for a spacecraft.
Remember, the original 7 viewed the "Capsule" as an aircraft.
He and his team wrote most of the procedures.

IMG_8447.JPG
IMG_8448.JPG
IMG_8449.JPG
 

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Tobor

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Darn, too bad. Maybe one day he may change his mind.

Well, one idea comes to mind. Since he had an interest in flying model rockets, he might consider publishing it in NAR's Sport Rocketry or Tripoli's Report newsletter. And with his reservoir of knowledge and experience, he could title it "Mercury and Beyond - Memoirs of an Aerospace Engineer"
 

n27sb

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Darn, too bad. Maybe one day he may change his mind.

Well, one idea comes to mind. Since he had an interest in flying model rockets, he might consider publishing it in NAR's Sport Rocketry or Tripoli's Report newsletter. And with his reservoir of knowledge and experience, he could title it "Mercury and Beyond - Memoirs of an Aerospace Engineer"
Maybe I used the wrong words, He has lost about 95% of his vision so it would be difficult to get a story on paper. It would probably take someone with a background in writing to ask the right questions to put a full story together.

thanks for your input.

Steve
 

tsmith1315

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Steve, this is all priceless. Holy cow, a Mercury Flight Manual!

Thanks to your father for the intimate glimpses of such an amazing time in history. If I could transport to any time and place, it would mostly likely be Cape Canaveral early in the space age.

Please continue to post anything you can.
 

Tobor

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Maybe I used the wrong words, He has lost about 95% of his vision so it would be difficult to get a story on paper. It would probably take someone with a background in writing to ask the right questions to put a full story together.

thanks for your input.

Steve
I am sorry to hear that. Yeah, that makes things harder but, it just gave me another thought. How about having the crew of "The Rocketry Show" interview him over the phone for a future show episode?
 

jd2cylman

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Great story. Rocketry show interview would be cool.
 

bobby_hamill

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I hope you are keeping these priceless artifacts in a fire proof safe.
I always tell people that the men from this era and WW1 WW2 were the real right stuff.
When these guys were born they threw away the mold !!

If you dads eyesight is bad how about sit down with him with an audio recorder and just do
a friendly "chat" session with a good cup of joe ?

After my birth mom died in Germany (shortly after the birth of my little brother) it was to painful for my dad to talk about it .
50 years later over a cup of coffee he just started talking about her death and we both healed a lot that day .

Cherish the time you have with friends and family members

Bobby
 

Blast it Tom!

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Amen to what Bobby wrote, and Bobby, for some reason when I read your touching story it started to get real dusty in here... something in my eye, I guess... They have dictation software that can be used by visually impaired people to speak and capture what they say to the proper program. But these 22 pages are priceless, and your Dad's recollections just marvelous. I'll save the whole lot on my machine in a folder with his name.

These guys did have "the right stuff". I've often felt that in the midst of the space program, America somehow lost its way, and by the time of the incredible explorations of the later Apollo missions no one seemed to care, indeed the program was mocked as wasteful, environmentally harmful, useless even. What a shame and a loss; these men were not perfect, as can be seen, but were good men and true, tough and disciplined to the core, and sharp as barrel of carpet tacks. I just finished reading Michael Collins's "Carrying the Fire" (an excellent book, by the way) and your Dad's recollections sound so very similar to Michael's writing. Just amazing... Thank you, Steve for letting us share these memories, and thank your Dad for us.
 

n27sb

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Steve, this is all priceless. Holy cow, a Mercury Flight Manual!

Thanks to your father for the intimate glimpses of such an amazing time in history. If I could transport to any time and place, it would mostly likely be Cape Canaveral early in the space age.

Please continue to post anything you can.
For the last few days I have been doing research on how to put together a book on this idea.
Been shaking the bushes on some of my old magazine contacts.
In the mean time, If anyone here has any ideas or question that I could ask my dad it might help me put together a story. In other words, what would you like to know about the "Behind the scenes" of the program or an individual Astronaut.
 
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