Levi Rickert, editor-in-chief in Native Currents. Discussion »
LEWISTOWN, IDAHO Former NASA astronaut, John Herrington, the first astronaut who is an enrolled member of an American Indian tribe, remembers Neil Armstrong as being a real technical person.
Astronaut Neil Armstrong steps onto the Moon.
Armstrong, the first man to walk on the moon, died on Saturday as the result of complications to heart surgery. He was 82 years old.
“He was a test pilot and I was a test pilot; so I always was fascinated to hear him talk,”
stated Herrington to the Native News Network on Monday morning as he remembered Neil Armstrong.
Herrington, a tribal citizen of the Chickasaw Nation of Oklahoma, grew up to be an astronaut and had the pleasure of meeting Neil Armstrong, a childhood hero, as an adult and after he became a NASA astronaut.
"Someone the other day asked me who my heroes were when I was growing up,"
"I think they thought I was going to name some super heroes action figure ones but I can honestly say Neil Armstrong was one of my heroes."
Astronaut John Herrington - Chickasaw
"We used to play with boxes and pretend we were astronauts going to the moon. The thing is when we were kids our fantasies were our realities because of people like Neil Armstrong who actually went to the moon."
"When you think he, out of all of humans, was the first person to actually put his foot down on another heavenly body, it is huge!"
Herrington too, made the trip into space, clocking some 330 hours in the Shuttle Endeavour including the sixteenth Shuttle mission to visit the International Space Station.
Herrington was 11 years old as he watched Armstrong descend down the lunar module's step to the surface and moon's surface and say the famous words:
"One small steps for man; a giant step for mankind."
"We were in Black Forest, Colorado and we had to hurry home so we could watch him come down the steps,"
"I remember the television pictures being fuzzy. Since that time, I have seen some beautiful photographs of it."
"He was really an astute man, not full of flowery words. He was a highly competent man."
posted August 27, 2012 12:40 pm edt