This summer marks 50 years since the crew of Apollo 11 landed on the moon, marking a major achievement for NASA, the United States and all of humanity.
And while the world watched Neil Armstrong’s "one giant leap for mankind" on television, Gerald Griffin was paying much closer attention to the astronaut’s efforts on a wall of monitors at NASA Mission Control.
Griffin, a 1952 graduate of Arlington Heights High School in the Fort Worth Independent School District, served as flight director during the Apollo program, and later served as director of NASA’s Johnson Space Center in Houston.
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This week, the Fort Worth ISD recognized Griffin as an outstanding alum by adding his name to the district’s 'Wall of Fame.'
"I had the finest teachers in the world, and they all came from right here in the Fort Worth ISD,” Griffin said after his induction ceremony. “So I was ready to go, and Fort Worth got me ready for it."
Griffin went on to graduate from Texas A&M University in 1956, and joined NASA in 1960.
Griffin, an aeronautical engineer, was among the many NASA professionals who successfully worked around the clock for four days in 1970 in the effort to bring the stranded crew of Apollo 13 safely back to earth.
Griffin was supposed to help coordinate the landing of Apollo 13 on the moon, but after an oxygen tank explosion scrapped any chance of a landing, he and his team played an integral role in the astronauts’ safe return.
Griffin now lives in the Hill Country with his wife, Sandy.