Whatever Happened...

An update on past news

Wednesday, January 14, 1998

Hawaii welcomed
first ‘moon men’

What ever happened to the first men to walk on the moon when they arrived in Hawaii after splashdown?

The Apollo 11 astronauts received a triumphant welcome here on their first earthly landfall after the July 20, 1969, moon landing. After they splashed down 900 miles southwest of Oahu, the carrier Hornet picked up civilian commander Neil Armstrong, first man to walk on the moon; Air Force Col. Edwin "Buzz" Aldrin, second man to walk on the moon; and Air Force Lt. Col. Michael Collins, who kept the Apollo 11 command module flying while Armstrong and Aldrin made their walks.

Upon arrival at Pearl Harbor July 26, a crowd of about 5,000 welcomed the moon men, sealed in an isolation van in case they brought back an unknown infection.

The charred and scarred space capsule, seared by atmospheric friction during re-entry, was on the Hornet flight deck. While they still had not actually touched land, Hawaii was their first landfall, not counting time spent on the moon, since streaking into space 10 days earlier. They remained in the isolation van, which was transported by truck to Hickam Air Force Base for flight to Houston.

Glenn Holman, 12, a Navy dependent, ran alongside the silvery aluminum van all the way from Pearl Harbor to Hickam.

"I just felt like doing it," he said. "It really was a big thrill. They waved at me all the time."

About 2,000 greeted the astronauts at Hickam, to see the isolation van loaded onto the transport and watch the aircraft leave. All Honolulu was able to look up and see the C-141 on its way east.

By Harold Morse, Star-Bulletin

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