The “Legends of Aerospace” Tour will launch next month to bolster troop morale. Organized by the Morale Entertainment Foundation, Inc., the tour will bring famous aviators and astronauts to visit with members of the military stationed in Europe and Southwest Asia. Confirmed participants include Neil Armstrong and Gene Cernan, the first and last men on the moon; Captain Jim Lovell, commander of Apollo 13; Bob Gilliland, test pilot and the first man ever to fly the SR-71 Blackbird, known to be the fastest and highest-flying production aircraft in the world; and General Steve Ritchie (Ret), the last Air Force Pilot Ace.
Also traveling on the tour will be David Hartman, first host of Good Morning America, who will be the moderator for the panel discussions, and Jeffrey Kluger, senior writer with TIME Magazine. Kluger and Lovell co-wrote “Lost Moon,” the book on which Ron Howard’s movie Apollo 13 is based.
“I have been waiting my whole life for this opportunity to meet with our service men and women on the front lines,” said Lovell. “They are the real heroes. I’m truly looking forward to thanking them for their service in person and share some of my experiences with adversity during Apollo 13. I’m sure it’s going to be an extraordinary experience.”
During the tour, 30-40 minute panel discussions will be conducted in auditorium settings on military bases and naval vessels. Panel discussions will be followed by an opportunity for meet and greets, photographs, etc. The Legends also will have an opportunity to visit with wounded troops at Landstuhl Regional Medical Center.
The tour will log more than 15,000 flight miles, with tour sponsor American Airlines providing round-trip, trans-Atlantic transportation for tour participants. The Legends expect to meet with more than 10,000 troops, give away thousands of items, give motivational speeches and have numerous meet and greets with troops.
Armed Forces Entertainment is the official Department of Defense agency providing entertainment for American troops stationed around the world. For more information: ArmedForcesEntertainment.com