“Yeah. They said I couldn’t be an astronaut. I got turned down a couple of times, got slapped by a couple of angry stewardesses who I may have dated, was told that a swingin’ bachelor like me would never fly to the moon, but I came back to bring the pain to those darn inkblot tests. And I did…look at me now.” Jack suits up for Apollo 13, April 1970.
All jokes aside, Jack did not make the cut for a few astronaut groups in the early 1960s. However, he was finally selected at age 34 in 1966. Ol’ Jack’s sense of perseverance would help make Apollo 13 a “successful failure” in 1970.
Also, he was motivated by a phone book full of ladies’ digits to call after he splashed down. HE REALLY DID HAVE THIS PHONE BOOK, Y’ALL. IT WAS EVEN REFERRED TO IN THE OFFICIAL APOLLO 13 TRANSCRIPTS FROM NASA:
05 22 33 43 CMP (Ol’ Jack!) Sure wish I could go to the FIDO party tonight.
05 22 33 47 CC (CAPCOM Joe Kerwin) (Laughter) Yes, it’s going to be a wild one.
05 22 34 04 CC Somebody said, “We’ll – We’ll cover for you guys; and, if Jack’s got any phone numbers he wants us to call, why, pass them down.”
Why did he have this phone book, you may ask? Because he was Jack Swigert. There’s your answer.
Emily Carney is a writer, space enthusiast, and creator of the This Space Available space blog, published since 2010. In January 2019, Emily’s This Space Available blog was incorporated into the National Space Society’s blog. The content of Emily’s blog can be accessed via the This Space Available blog category.
Note: The views expressed in This Space Available are those of the author and should not be considered as representing the positions or views of the National Space Society.