5 Ways Wisconsin Helped Put a Man on the Moon


When the first men to walk on the moon splashed down in the Pacific Ocean on July 24, 1969 – 50 years ago this month – the first human being they encountered was Lt. Clancy Hatleberg, a 25-year-old Navy SEAL from Chippewa Falls. As the capsule bobbed on the choppy, shark-infested waters, Hatleberg opened the hatch, handed biological isolation suits to the astronauts, sprayed them with disinfectant to kill any “moon germs,” and helped get them hoisted into a waiting helicopter. “Being given a chance to participate in the first mission where men would actually walk on another planet … it was like a dream come true,” he said in an interview published in 2005. Hatleberg – whose wife, Sue, grew up in Eau Claire – went on to a two-decade career in the Navy.

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