Apollo 13 Mission Operations Team

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President Nixon awards the Presidential Medal of Freedom to the Apollo 13 Mission Operations Team at the Manned Spacecraft Center. Pictured (l-r) are Thomas O. Paine, Nixon, Glynn Lunney, Gene Kranz, Gerry Griffin, Milt Windler and Sigurd Sjoberg.

The Apollo 13 Mission Operations Team worked at the NASA Manned Spacecraft Center in Houston, Texas during the mission, and was responsible for all aspects of the Apollo 13 flight after it cleared the launch tower after liftoff from the Kennedy Space Center, Florida..

On April 18, 1970, the team was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom by President Richard M. Nixon. They were awarded these because of their courage during their space mission to the moon.

The award reads as follows:

"We often speak of scientific "miracles"—forgetting that these are not miraculous happenings at all, but rather the product of hard work, long hours and disciplined intelligence.

The men and women of the Apollo 13 mission operations team performed such a miracle, transforming potential tragedy into one of the most dramatic rescues of all time. Years of intense preparation made this rescue possible. The skill, coordination and performance under pressure of the mission operations team made it happen. Three brave astronauts are alive and on Earth because of their dedication, and because at the critical moments the people of that team were wise enough and self-possessed enough to make the right decisions. Their extraordinary feat is a tribute to man's ingenuity, to his resourcefulness and to his courage."

The White House
April 18, 1970
Richard M. Nixon

Because the Medal of Freedom was presented as a group award, the members of the Apollo 13 team have the distinction of being the only individuals ever presented with the honor without being given the actual medal itself.