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Grit: October 17, 1965 – Local Airman to Direct Pick Up of Gemini Crew

After the splashdown, he’s the man the astronauts count on. When Gemini 6 parachutes into the Atlantic Ocean October 27, after two days of orbiting the earth, the eyes of the world, and particularly those of astronauts, Walter M. Schirra, Jr. and Thomas P. Stafford will be on the Williamsporter who is piloting the Navy

After the splashdown, he’s the man the astronauts count on.

When Gemini 6 parachutes into the Atlantic Ocean October 27, after two days of orbiting the earth, the eyes of the world, and particularly those of astronauts, Walter M. Schirra, Jr. and Thomas P. Stafford will be on the Williamsporter who is piloting the Navy plane which has the mission of spotting the capsule in the Atlantic.

Cmdr. Robert L. Metzger, son of Mrs. Clyde Metzger, of 617 Cemetery Street, air group commander aboard the U.S.S. Essex, primary recovery vessel for the mission, will direct aircraft from the carrier, including the helicopter which will fish the space voyagers from the water.

The Gemini 6 will mark Commander Metzger’s first mission directly related to the nation’s space program. The operation will also be the first time television cameras have been mounted aboard a helicopter to make possible “live” coverage of a spacecraft rescue.

A veteran of more than 20 years of Navy service, Commander Metzger graduated from the Naval Academy at Annapolis in 1945. While he is officially listed as a member of the Class of 1946, he was in the first class to complete the courses in three years.

His wife is the former Camille Burchfield, of Montgomery. They reside with their two children at the Quonset Naval Base, Quonset, Rhode Island.

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