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Tuesday, November 17, 2009


In yesterday's post I mentioned the fact that Chippewa Falls native, Clancy Hatleberg, had been involved in the retrieval of astronauts back in the day.

Today I received an e mail from my pal, Gary Spaeth, with the following URL: http://www.chippewa.com/articles/2009/07/20/news/doc4a6285a96dc07872527175.txt

City native Hatleberg part of Apollo 11 story

U.S. Navy pararescueman Lt. Clancy Hatleberg, a Chippewa Falls native, disinfects Apollo 11 astronauts Neil Armstrong, Michael Collins and Edwin E. Aldrin Jr. in this July 24, 1969 NASA photo. Photo by NASA Kennedy Space Center

Sunday, July 19, 2009 9:05 AM CDT
He was just a Chippewa Falls kid, who was to become part of one of the greatest achievements of the 20th Century.

When the Apollo 11 astronauts returned from the moon, the first face they saw on Earth was of Lt. Clancy Hatleberg.

Hatleberg was the leader of the U.S. Navy’s Underwater Demolition Team Eleven when the then-Chippewa Herald-Telegram reported on him on Monday, July 21, 1969, the day after the historic moon walk.

His parents, Dr. and Mr. E. A. Hatleberg, lived on Carson Street in Chippewa Falls, and his wife Sue lived on Rust Street in Eau Claire.

“Lt. Hateleberg, the first man to greet the astronauts on their return from their historic flight to the moon this afternoon, swam to the space capsule immediately after Navy frogment had attached a floatation collar, and handed BIG suits (Biological Isolation Garments) to the three astronauts,” the Herald-Telegram reported Thursday, July 24, 1969.

“Then, after the spacemen had donned the garments, and emerged one-by-one from the capsule, Lt. Hatleberg scrubbed them down with disinfectants in an effort to eliminate any contamination they might have incurred while walking on the moon.

“Prior to his scrubbing chores, Hatleberg disinfected the exhaust valve on the capsule, and closed the hatch.”

The next day, the Herald-Telegram ran a photo of Hatleberg’s parents watching his exploits on TV.

A front page editorial called on the city to hold a celebration for Hatleberg the next time he visited home.

“Chippewa Falls, Hatleberg’s hometown, was also mentioned a number of times on the television networks and the city was given world-wide exposure seldom accorded a community of this size.

“Chippewa Falls, therefore, through its association with Lt. Hatleberg, was for a few hours yesterday more than a just a tiny spot on the world map – it was the home of the first man to see and touch the first men to walk on the moon.”


I had forgotten that this event involved Neil Armstrong! thanks, Gary, for your research!


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