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Ted Wasil

Public Affairs, NASA

Ted Wasil, a combat veteran of World War II, flew 33 missions in a B-17 bomber in the European Theater of operations before edging into the world of missiles, rockets and public information.

Wasil was transferred MacDill Air Force Base, in Florida, after the war to attend photography school. He excelled at his new task and became the commanding general’s personal photographer. He soon learned that people were sometimes a challenge to photograph because of their particular ideas about how they wanted to look. Once during an official visit by Gen. Curtis LeMay, Wasil suggested that LeMay remove the cigar from his mouth for the picture. LeMay immediately snapped, “Sergeant, I happen to like this cigar. Take my picture as I am.”

The scope of Wasil’s assignments grew and he was sent to Eglin Air Force Base as sergeant in charge of the information office. Then as the space age got underway in 1958, he was made non-commissioned officer in charge of the information office at Patrick Air Force Base. There he worked directly with major news organizations, wire services and radio and television networks as they covered Mercury and Gemini and prepared for Apollo.

Wasil was the first honorary lifetime member of the Canaveral Press Club and also a member of the Missile, Space and Range Pioneers.

Following his retirement he continued to volunteer with the Patrick Air Force Base information office, helping with the Saturn I and IB launches from Cape Canaveral at the beginning of the Apollo program.

He also was active as a volunteer for several local service agencies including the Melbourne Chamber of Commerce, Melbourne Police Department and Meals on Wheels.

Wasil passed away in 1999 at the age of 73 and was survived by his wife Walburga, “Wally,” and their four sons.