Aggie flight director for Apollo 11 recalls the mission's success

Published: Jul. 20, 2019 at 8:53 PM CDT
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As the United States celebrated a successful mission 50 years ago, one Texas A&M graduate, the face of an iconic photo that day, celebrated at mission control.

"It was really quite an honor to be a part of the space business almost from its very beginning,” said Gerry Griffin, a flight director during all the NASA Apollo missions, including helping put a man on the moon during Apollo 11.

He says the education and values he learned in school, helped him with his success working with NASA.

"We were doing something that had never been done before,” said Griffin, “And we were all young, and full of vigor, but we were ready. And I give a lot of my credit for being ready to Texas A&M."

As millions watched the U.S. make history, back in mission control Griffin couldn’t help but show his joy. In an iconic photo taken by one of the photographers that day, Griffin is seen with his hand up, aggie ring on, throwing up a Gig ‘em.

"It was a natural reaction, and I guess my thumb was built in that direction, being an A&M graduate which I still use it today,” said Griffin.

And as we celebrate 50 years since the U.S. left its mark on the moon, Griffin says it is the support from every single person in the country that got them to that moment of success.

"The country backed us, the congress backed us,” said Griffin, “We had two democrat presidents and one republican throughout the program and the support never wavered."

Griffin's Aggie ring rode into space during the Apollo 12 mission is on display at the Zachry Building on the Texas A&M campus.

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