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As a 10-Year-Old, He Played an Unexpected Role in Apollo 11

In July 1969, the Apollo 11 spacecraft was on its way to the Moon — carrying Neil Armstrong, Buzz Aldrin, and Michael Collins.

Back on Earth, 10-year-old Greg Force was dreaming of going to space himself one day.

Greg’s father, Charles Force, worked on the Apollo missions. The family lived on Guam, home to a massive antenna that connected the astronauts to Mission Control.


At 60 years old, Greg came to StoryCorps with his 17-year-old daughter, Abby, to remember the little-known role he played in the success of that historic mission.


Top photo: Greg Force and Abby Force at their StoryCorps interview in Greenville, SC on May 21, 2019. By Alletta Cooper for StoryCorps.
Middle photo: Greg Force (second from left) and his three brothers in Guam. Greg says his father chose him to help because his older brother’s hand was too big, and his younger brother would’ve “gotten grease everywhere.” Courtesy of Greg Force.
Bottom photo: 10-year-old Greg Force in 1969, greasing the antenna bearing at the NASA tracking station on Guam. Courtesy of Greg Force.

Originally aired July 19, 2019, on NPR’s Morning Edition.