“Local man accompanies astronauts on hunt”
This article from the Knik Arm Courier, Oct. 5, 1966, follows a local Chugiak man who took three astronauts hunting and fishing in Alaska:
Ed Bellringer, a well-known local pilot and outdoorsman, is presently accompanying a group of three U.S. astronauts on a hunting and fishing trip here in Alaska.
The party arrived in Kodiak on Friday by private airplane and will be hunting for moose, bear, elk and caribou — as well as getting in some fishing.
Members of the party include Donald “Deke” Slayton, Charles “Pete” Conrad and Clifton Williams.
Slayton, a retired Air Force major, is now a civilian with NASA. He is the director of flight crew operation for the astronaut program and is in charge of selecting and training astronauts. He has not yet flown in space but hopes to in the future.
Conrad recently made headlines by taking part in two space missions, Gemini 5 and 11. He is a commander in the Navy attached to the space program.
Williams is a major in the Marine Corps and has yet to make his first space flight. He was a backup for Gemini 10, which John Young and Mike Collins participated in.
Williams expects to be the first man on the moon.
Also part of the hunting group is W.C. O’Brien, of Cheyenne, Wyo. — who made all advance arrangements for the party — and W.O. DuBose, of Uvalde, Texas, who is Conrad’s father-in-law.
Traveling with the astronauts is Dean Conger, who is with National Geographic Magazine.
Bellringer, who is acting as an unofficial guide for the party, is a resident of Peters Creek. He lives on Mt. Eklutna Drive. He is employed by the Air Force as a game conservation adviser.
When he asked Conrad of the chances of getting to the moon, Conrad replied, “That’s what I’m here for. Sure hope so!”
This column is provided by the Chugiak-Eagle River Historical Society. Reach them at firstname.lastname@example.org or leave a message at 688-4706.