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Navy SEAL frogman to mark moon landing anniversary

By THE OKLAHOMAN Published: February 23, 2019

MUSTANG, Okla. (Tribune News Service) — The Rev. John Wolfram, Apollo 11 frogman, is celebrating the 50th anniversary of the first moon landing on a speaking tour to share his inspirational story.

He will be guest speaker at 10 a.m. Sunday at Empowered Church, 601 E State Highway 152. The public is invited to attend the event.

Wolfram was the first frogmen in the water to rescue the Apollo 11 astronauts Neil Armstrong, Buzz Aldrin and Michael Collins after their historic moon landing. A frogman is a person – especially a man in the military or police – who uses special equipment to work underwater for long periods of time.

He will recount his Apollo 11 recovery experiences, including how it felt being the first man on Earth to greet the astronauts. Wolfram also is expected to share about his personal struggles of coping with drugs and his experience during the Vietnam War that led him to discover Jesus Christ.

"Who would have thought that a 20-year-old seaman like me would have gotten the chance to be part of history? Dreams do come true," he said in a news release.

When Armstrong, Aldrin and Collins splashed down into the Pacific Ocean on July 24, 1969, after their historic moonwalk, they saw Wolfram with flower decals plastered all over his wetsuit.

"Remember it was the 1960s. Flower power represented peace and love. It was my statement to the world to give peace a chance in a very turbulent era and controversial war," he said.

At Sunday's event, Wolfram will display memorabilia from the recovery.

"People will get to see the original pack that held the parachute sea anchor I attached underneath the capsule" he said, plus never before seen photos and rare Kapton gold foil Wolfram taken from the Columbia space capsule that brought the astronauts back from the moon.

Wolfram's Christian journey led him back to Vietnam, among those whom he fought, in order to lead them to Christ. He recently built a Bible school in central Vietnam, a memorial in honor of his SEAL teammates and high school friends who died during the war.

He will be selling a few framed pieces of Kapton foil to fund his mission work in Vietnam, and he also will sign copies of his book "Splashdown, The Rescue of a Navy Frogman."

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