Steely Eyed Missile Man

Apollo 13 is an exceptional movie, full of nerdy heroism and high-tension problem-solving. Not long ago when I rewatched it one line suddenly caught my ear. An engineer praises another with the words, "You, Sir, are a steely-eyed missile man!" The term appears in the book that was the basis of the movie, Lost Moon: The Perilous Voyage of Apollo 13 by Jim Lovell and Jeffrey Kluger. From Chapter 6:

Anyone who had been working at the Manned Spacecraft Center for even a few weeks quickly learned that John Aaron was the stuff of folk songs. Among the men in the Canaveral blockhouse and the Houston control room, there was no greater tribute a controller could be paid than to describe him, in the rough poetry of the rocketry community, as a "steely-eyed missile man." There weren't many steely-eyed missile men in the NASA family. Von Braun was certainly one, Kraft was certainly one, Kranz was probably one too. John Aaron, a twenty-seven-year-old wunderkind from Oklahoma, had recently become one as well.

What delightful "rough poetry"!

^z - 2008-05-01

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