Apollo 11: The recovery mission – Navy SEALs Wes Chesser, left, and John Wolfram pause after securing the Apollo 11 capsule on July 24, 1969. Wolfram wore 60s "Flower Power" decals, showing his rebellious side. Chesser says, that only now does he realize how physically demanding the mission was. "We were in such good shape."
Navy SEAL John Wolfram – At age 20, only two years out of high school, Wolfram was the youngest of an elite team responsible for safely getting the Apollo 11 crew from their capsule to a helicopter. "Being the first to look them in the eye and see that they're OK -- it's quite a rush," Wolfram told CNN.
The capsule after re-entry – Carmichael described the capsule as "a bobbing, 12-foot high, 12,000-pound, spinning, behemoth" drifting across the ocean current. Frogman Mike Mallory, who snapped many photos of the mission, says he and Wolfram were "muscle guys" who worked against the waves and wind to pull an inflatable ring around the capsule.
Guarding against lunar pathogens – After the capsule was stabilized, the astronauts and SEALs put on biological isolation garments to guard against possible lunar pathogens. If the SEALs had been been directly exposed to the astronauts, they would have been ordered to be quarantined.
Decontamination raft – In the "decontamination raft" mission leader Clancy Hatleberg sprayed the astronauts with sodium hypochlorite and helped them scrub their suits.
Hoisting the astronauts – Hatleberg helped the astronauts climb into a "Billy-Pugh net" which was used to hoist them into a Navy chopper hovering above.
Capsule, chopper, aircraft carrier – Astronaut Neil Armstrong was hoisted first into a hovering chopper, then Michael Collins, then Buzz Aldrin. Once aboard, the chopper headed for the USS Hornet. "There was real delight on those astronauts' faces, and a real thrill of accomplishment," says Wolfram.
Peace signs – Back at the capsule, Wolfram and Hatleberg, right, flashed peace signs for Mallory's camera -- which raised eyebrows at the height of the Vietnam War. But Wolfram heard nothing about it from his superiors. "John was a wild, crazy guy," said Mallory. "That was his thing."
Capsule in quarantine – The capsule hatch was locked and sealed before the spacecraft was hoisted aboard the Hornet and kept in its own quarantine area, just in case. "We all took strips of that gold foil as souvenirs," said Wolfram.
Life of ministry – After two tours in Vietnam, Wolfram returned to the U.S. and had an epiphany during a church service. "That night, my life changed," he says. Now a Georgia-based husband, father and ordained minister, Wolfram serves as a missionary in Southeast Asia.
SEAL Team Swim 2 – Mallory, now a husband and grandfather in Michigan, says he was just proud to be a part of the space program as a member of SEAL Team Swim 2. "I wish the space program was continuing better than it is." Chesser, a retired defense contractor, is a newlywed and grandfather living in Virginia. The Space Race "was an extremely exciting time for our country," Chesser says. "Today we don't have that."