Wednesday, January 14, 2009
Apollo 14 and Albanian flag on the Moon
From Dr. Moikom Zeqo, Director of The National History Museum, Defense Magazine, 4 August 2003
While searching in the archives of the National History Museum, I found an extraordinary document by any means. Over a strong piece of cardboard there was a picture of the space craft Apolo 14, a photograph taken from the surface of the Moon. Alongside this photograph there was a small Albanian flag. Immediately under the photograph was the following writing: Antares at fra mauro, while further below the caption read: This flag was carried to the moon onboard Apollo 14 January 31 through February 9, 1971. It is presented by Rear Admiral Alan B. Shepard, Jr., United States Navy, delegate to the 26th Session of the United Nations General Assembly.
From this writing it was learned that the (official) Albanian flag was taken to the Moon aboard the space craft Apolo 14 from 31 January until 9 February 1971. This flag was presented by vice Admiral Alan B. Shepard Jr., of the Navy of the United States of America, who was a delegate of the 26th session of the General Assembly of the United Nations. Antares was the part of the craft that landed on the Moon and Fra Mauro was the name of the lunar landing place. There is also a handwritten message on black ink from Alan Shepard that reads: With the compliments of the astronautes of the United States. Alan Shepard 02.10.71, that translates into Albanian: Me fjalët me të mira të astronautëve të Shteteve të Bashkuara. Alan Shepard, 2 Tetor 1971. This document that holds the Albanian flag with the photograph on the Moon, together with the writings, was handed over to an Albanian diplomat by Alan Shepard himself, who also took part in the 26th Session of the General Assembly of the United Nations. Alan Shepard, when he prepared this gift to also show authenticity, has written by hand the salutation not only from himself, but also from the other astronauts of the USA. This means that the fact of the carrying of the Albanian flag was the theme of a discussion of the fellow astronauts. Thus Shepard had talked to them of his Albanian origin. The gesture of Shepard is majestic.
He was born in East Dery, New Hampshire of the USA on 18 November 1923. He is of Albanian origin. He completed the Naval Academy in Anapolis where he completed a flying school for non-military pilots. Later he also completed the Marine School for pilots in Patuxent, Maryland, as well as the Naval School of War in New Port, Rhode Island on 1958. On 1961, the Russian Yuri Gagarin was the World's first man to be lifted into space. He flied in space as a passenger, while Shepard piloted the space craft during the Apolo 14 mission on January-February 1971. As an astronaut, he was the first American to fly in space, and the fifth to have set foot on the Moon. Before retiring, Shepard was promoted to Admiral. He died on 21 July 1998; thus living to the age of 75.
William Gregory, another Albanian-American astronaut. Gregory was born in Lock-port, New York on 14 May 1957. His origins are from the village of Dardhë in Korçë. On 1979 he graduated as an engineer from the Air Force Academy. He completed his doctorate as a mechanical engineer from Columbia University on 1980 and the doctorate for director (?) on 1984. During the years 1981 - 1986 he was a flying pilot on the FL11. He later served as a pilot instructor on the British Air Force. He has flied on over 40 kinds of airplanes and he has surpassed 5000 hours of flying. He was selected by NASA on January 1990 and he was declared an astronaut on July 1991. He completed his first flight in space of the Shuttle STS-67 on 2 March 1995 from the Kennedy Space Center, and he landed on Earth on 19 March 1995. He set the space flying record with 16 days and 15 hours while completing 262 trips around the Earth. He flied over 11 million km in space, has more than 400 hours of space flying experience alongside his 5000 hours as a pilot. He now works as a directory for the development of business (?) in Arizona, USA. While Shepard has died, we hope to meet Gregory soon. These two names have their own place in the Museum of Nation History and in the memory of Albanians.
Albanian American Womens Organization
William George "Borneo" Gregory (born May 14, 1957) is a former NASAastronaut. He also a retired air force lieutenant colonel. Gregory is of Albanian descent.
Gregory was born in Lockport, New York and graduated from Lockport High School in 1975. Gregory is an Eagle Scout. He then attended the United States Air Force Academy, where he graduated with a degree in engineering sciences in 1979. After this, he went to Columbia University to get a master's degree in engineering mechanics (1980), and Troy University to get another master's in management (1984). He is also a member of the USAF Academy Association of Graduates.
Between 1981 and 1986, Gregory served as an operational fighter pilot flying the D and F models of the F-111. In this capacity, he served as an instructor pilot at RAF Lakenheath, UK, and Cannon Air Force Base (AFB), New Mexico. He attended the USAF Test Pilot School in 1987. Between 1988 and 1990 Gregory served as a test pilot at Edwards AFB flying the F-4, A-7D, and all five models of the F-15. Having flown in excess of 40 types of aircraft, Gregory has accumulated over 5,000 hours of flight time.
Selected by NASA in January 1990, Gregory became an astronaut in July 1991. Gregory's technical assignments included: Shuttle Avionics Integration Laboratory (SAIL); astronaut office representative for Landing/Rollout, T-38 Flying Safety; Kennedy Space Center Astronaut Support Personnel (ASP); spacecraft communicator (CAPCOM) in mission control; astronaut office representative for rendezvous and proximity operations; and Spacecraft Operations Branch Chief. He flew on STS-67 (1995) and has logged 400 hours in space. Gregory retired from the Air Force and left NASA in the Summer of 1999. He currently serves as Manager of Business Development for Honeywell in Phoenix, Arizona.
Gregory served as the STS-67 pilot on the seven-person astronomical research mission aboard the Space Shuttle Endeavour. Launching from the Kennedy Space Center on March 2, 1995, and landing at Edwards AFB on March 18, 1995, the crew established a new mission duration record of 16 days, 15 hours, 8 minutes and 46 seconds, while completing 262 orbits and traveling nearly seven million miles. This second flight of the ASTRO telescope primary payload also included numerous secondary payloads.