August 14, 1965
MEMORANDUM FOR: Mr. Donald K. Slayton, MSC, Houston, Texas
As I promised at Houston, the question of the identification patch
or emblem that Cooper and Conrad wish to wear on Gemini flight 5
has been thoroughly discussed and it is now agreed by Gilruth, Mueller,
Dryden, Seamans, and myself as follows:
- On GT-5 and future Gemini flights, such an identification may
be worn on the right breast beneath the name plate of the astronaut;
said "patch" to be no larger than the NASA emblem worn
on the left breast. This patch will be referred to by the generic
name of the "Cooper patch." If such "Cooper patch" is
not to be worn, the designation of the flight "Gemini 6"
or "Gemini 7" may be suitably put beneath the nameplate.
- For GT-5, the "Cooper patch" will be the one submitted, except
that the size must be in accordance with paragraph 1 above, unless
it is impossible to get it remade in time, and it must be worn
on the suit at the location specified.
- For Gemini flights after GT-5, the crew commander or senior
pilot will be permitted to designate or design or recommend a
"Cooper patch" for his flight, subject to approval by both the
Director of the Manned Spacecraft Center and the Associate Administrator
for Manned Space Flight at NASA headquarters. Until further notice,
the Associate Administrator for Manned Space Flight will, prior
to approval, submit the design to the Administrator for his concurrence.
- A policy for flights after the present Gemini series will be
recommended by the Director of the Manned Spacecraft Center.
While the above decision has been made because of the strong personal
appeal Cooper made to me, I must say I have some concern about the
fact that it was made so late and that the most urgent and important
factors affecting the Gemini program seem to get involved in a morale
matter such as this and at the last moment. I believe it is your
responsibility to avoid this in the future.
When we are dealing with matters which affect the way elements
of these programs are viewed in many different countries by many
different nationalities, we cannot leave to the crew the decision
with respect to these matters no matter how strongly they feel that
they would like to have some element of individuality. In this case,
both Dr. Gilruth and I have a very strong concern about the "8 days
or bust" motto. I wish it could be omitted. If the flight does not
go 8 days, there are many who are going to say it was "busted."
Further, whether we get the 8 days or not, the way the language
will be translated in certain countries will not be to the benefit
of the United States.
As I explained to Cooper, there is the strongest desire on my part
to pay very real attention to any and every request made, even on
a personal basis, by any of the seven original astronauts. To each
of them, as those who were the real pioneers, we will endeavor to
give every possible consideration and the benefit of every doubt.
However, I believe they and all the astronauts must learn to do
the same with respect to the judgment of the senior officials of
this agency regarding the matters on which we are required to have
a broader view than they can have.
James E. Webb
Source: NASA JSC History Office
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