USS Hornet: Stories of the Apollo 11 Recovery

October 22, 2019 | 8:00pm
Presented Online | Museum in Washington, DC
Free, Tickets Required

Hear firsthand about the final step of the Apollo 11 mission: recovery of the astronauts and spacecraft

The challenge of sending astronauts to the Moon’s surface for the first time and bringing them safely back to earth did not end when Apollo 11’s command module Columbia splashed down in the central Pacific Ocean. The U.S. Navy personnel aboard the aircraft carrier USS Hornet (CV-12) faced numerous challenges in recovering the astronauts and returning them to port in quarantine. Hear a helicopter pilot, diver, and flight surgeon recall the triumph of ensuring astronauts Neil Armstrong, Michael Collins, and Buzz Aldrin completed their momentous voyage, allowing the billions around the world collectively holding their breath to exhale. 


  • Clancy Hatleberg, U.S. Navy diver who was the first to greet the astronauts back on Earth
  • Bill Carpentier, flight surgeon who joined the astronauts in quarantine
  • Bruce Johnson, naval aviator who was the co-pilot of the Apollo 11 recovery helicopter
  • Robert Fish, historian and author of Hornet Plus Three: The Story of the Apollo 11 Recovery

Request free tickets or watch the live webcast.

To request an ASL interpreter, please email We recommend that you submit your request for this event by October 8, 2019.

The GE Aviation Lecture Series is made possible by GE Aviation.