Each Monday we bring you stories of survival from local military heroes.
Today's salute to our military also celebrates an exploration of the Final Frontier.
Sailor Bill Crisp made it through the Vietnam War to play a role in three of NASA's Apollo Missions.
News 12's Nordia Epps has his story.
While America followed Apollo 11's return from the infamous Moon Mission on the tube...Bill Crisp had a more up close and personal view.
He says, "It was pretty wild. It was all televised and my parents sat home and watched me on TV in part of it."
As a part of the crew on the U.S.S Hornet, the Navy man helped to recover the command module when it splashed down in the Pacific Ocean July 24, 1969.
Crisp, "Pictures of the capsule, the reentry, astronauts, carrier."
The pictures bring the Bradley County veteran back to an exciting time in his Naval career.
Crisp, "I kind of miss that part (laugh)."
But there's a lot Crisp doesn't miss about his time in the military.
He says, "I watch the naval movies on TV. Brings back a lot of memories."
He was drafted during the Vietnam War, following in the footsteps of his older brother Army Sergeant and Purple Heart recipient Roy Lee... and ended up in a helicopter squadron on the U.S.S. Bennington.
Crisp says, "You don't get mail very often and when you do it's a pile and about the time that I went in, he got out. We missed each other three weeks so I didn't see him for a long time."
During the war Bill flew rescue, radar and sonar missions from the U.S.S Bennington...earning a Bronze Star for a secret night mission.
Then during a six-month tour off the coast of Japan he had a close call.
Crisp says, "We didn't know what was going on. The ship vibrated so bad we couldn't stand up without holding on to something."
Turns out the Bennington split right down the middle
He says, "Actually cracked in half. All the way around from front to back it cracked in half. We thought we were going down so we sent out a stress call and ships and tin cans and destroyers all come around us. They got down and welded it up. It took us 2 extra weeks to get home."
He made it home to help with three NASA recoveries...Apollo 10, 11 and 12.
Crisp says, "President Nixon flew aboard ship and said all the GI's that's been on three Apollo missions can have three months early out so he give us a unit commendation medal and three months early out, which I took."
Even today, the retired Navy man treasures the memories ...both the good and bad...and we salute him for his heroic service.
In Cleveland Nordia Epps, WDEF News 12