My father was an amazing guy not just because he was my father but because he made me believe I could do anything with my life. His story is pretty amazing. As a young man without a college degree he ended up working for NASA during its most exciting time in history — the Apollo Project
The certificate above was just one of many that hung on the wall in my father’s office. As a child, you don’t know how to appreciate who your parents are. It wasn’t until well after his death that I had a better understanding of the things my father accomplished for himself, his wife, and for me.
I was born on Guam because my father was working at the NASA tracking station during many of the Apollo missions including Apollo 11. Ironically, I was born 8 months and two weeks after man stepped onto the moon….just a coincidence? A few months after I was born, and right after Apollo 13, my father left NASA and my life in snow began. We left the warm tropical island of Guam for the snowy winters of Minnesota.
I think my desire to be an astronaut comes from my father and the time i spent looking at the history on the wall of his office. When I think back to the time when he was alive my head swims with all kinds of questions I wish I had asked. But as a kid you just don’t realize or understand the limitations of time. I sometimes wonder what our conversations would be like if he were alive today. I wonder if my life would have gone down the same path it did. But then I catch myself and realize that wondering about what could have been or might have been doesn’t propel me toward what will be…and in the end, that’s what my father would want — for me to be the best that I can possibly be and shoot for the stars.
Below is part of my fathers resume from 1962-1970. Click on the image to enlarge it,
Today (12/11/08) I found this picture of my father on Guam. You gotta love the web!! I don’t have any pictures of my father from Guam. When my parents moved a lot of stuff got lost.
It was taken at the Agana airport on November 2nd or 3rd 1969, when the Apollo 11 crew visited Guam. This must have been when my father got Neil Armstrong’s autograph.
Brian Riehle was a good friend of my fathers and, because I found this picture, I was able to track Brian down. He just e-mailed me and we plan to reconnect after the holidays. He also wrote in his e-mail: “This Christmas is the 40th Anniversary of Apollo 8 and I remember it like it happened yesterday.” I can’t wait to talk with him!!!
More pictures of the Guam Tracking Station can be found here: Guam Tracking Station They have all kinds of photos and information about the other tracking stations at this web site. It is worth looking at!
My father was on the USS Vandenberg in 1966. This is a picture of him on the ship. I am curious as to who the gentlemen is in the photo with my father. If anyone was on the ship in 66 and you know who this is, please-mail me. Thanks!
I received this note about my father from John Boucher. I really appreciate him taking the time to contact me and to tell me a bit about my dad. Here is what he wrote:
I worked at the Guam Apollo Tracking Station from 1967 to 1973, and knew your Dad. Just wanted to share with you that the young Ed Proctor I knew was a really fine person. He was a low key type guy and had a great sense of humor. He worked in the computer section and I was in the communications section, but we would chat at the station, sometimes ride the Nasa bus together, and always attend the post mission splashdown parties. I had many co-workers at the Nasa station, but only remember the names of a special few, and your Dad was one of them. My wife, Judy, seems to recall that we arrived at Guam on the same Pan Am flight in February, 1967. On the flight we did not know that we were both working for the same company, but when John Obloy met us at the airport at about 6am, we all were introduced. We believe your mothers name is Gloria? We were young, in our 20′s and seeking adventure. The challenge of the the Apollo program was a thrill and we were determined to do our little part to make it a success. Looking at the photos of Brian and your Dad inspired me to share my thoughts with you. If you look at the photo of Neil Armstrong at the airport with the flowers around his neck, on the upper right side of the photo you’ll see a small head that belongs to our 5 year old daughter, Mari, who in sitting on my shoulders. Our 2 year old daughter Elizabeth who, like you, was born on Guam is also in the crowd being held by Judy. Elizabeth also has a PhD–so there must have been something in that Guam baby food that got the brain cells going. Guam was a tropical paradise during those years. The weather was great and the local people were wonderful. While we were working, our wives were setting things up on the home front and trying to find a head of lettuce and a box of cereal that did not contain bugs. Really wasn’t that bad—-it was fun. I just wanted to let you know that even though your Dad is no longer with you, he is fondly remembered by those of us who knew him.
Glenn Blakeslee September 1st, 2010 12:53 pm
There is a 33% chance that this is my father, Charles “Chuck” Blakeslee (33% percent because my two siblings don’t necessarily think it’s him.) He served on the Vandenberg as a steward and able seaman during that time period. Most people say the man in the picture resembles me, mostly, but my father and I didn’t look much alike. My sister and I both think the jeans he’s wearing look familiar, which is weird but might bring the probability up a little. : )