Fifty years ago, and 6,800 miles from home, I was broadcasting live coverage of Apollo 11’s trip to the moon on the Armed Forces Radio and Television Service in Tripoli, Libya.
When Neil Armstrong first set his foot on the moon, at 7:56 p.m. July 20 California time, it was 4:56 a.m. July 21 at the Wheelus Air Base television studio in North Africa. As a senior airman, I was part of the AFRTS team that provided live coverage of each step of the eight-day mission from July 16 to July 24, no matter the time of day or night.
They used military shortwave for NASA audio, and Libya’s new state television station’s broadcast for the live pictures. The AFTRS station had no satellite connection of its own, and of course no internet existed in 1969.
Printed news came over a noisy teletype machine fed from the Associated Press. Pictures were copied from American news magazines like Look and Time to help illustrate the people, locations and equipment involved.
My family at 503 Pauley St. in Tehachapi included sisters Jane, Mary and Ann; brother Paul; my mother, Willabelle; and father, Rolland Moore, who was a Tehachapi school principal.
After graduating from Bakersfield College in 1966, I was drafted into the U.S. Air Force.
During my four years of military service, I was a journalist at Williams AFB in Mesa, Ariz., and trained in military broadcasting at the Defense Information School Fort Benjamin Harrison, Indianapolis, Ind. Overseas assignments were AFRTS Wheelus Air Base, then AFTV from Templeholf Air Base in Berlin, West Germany.
Returning from the Air Force to Bakersfield in 1971, for 10 years I held many news, public service and promotion positions on and off the air at KBAK 29 and KPWR 17. I now live in Coppell, Texas, a suburb of Dallas.
On Saturday, July 20, I will be a part of the 50th Anniversary Celebration of the Apollo 11 Moon Landing at the NASA Space Center in Houston.
David Moore is a 1963 Tehachapi High School graduate. He can be reached at email@example.com.