41. Captain Pete Conrad on the Moon


When astronaut and naval Captain Charles (Pete) Conrad Jr. ’53 became the third man to walk on the moon on November 18, 1969 as spacecraft commander of the Apollo XII mission, he said of his first lunar footstep, “It may have been small for Neil [Armstrong] but it was a big one for a little fella like me.”  Conrad carried with him five Princeton flags, one of which he presented to the University only for it to be tragically destroyed by fire in the frame shop where it was waiting to be mounted for display.  Conrad entered the Navy after his Princeton graduation and served for 20 years, including 11 as an astronaut.  Prior to his moonwalk, Conrad had piloted the 1965 Gemini V mission and commanded the 1966 Gemini XI mission; after his lunar trip, he returned to space in 1973 as commander of the Skylab II mission, accumulating almost 1,180 hours of space flight.  Upon his retirement from the Navy in 1973, Conrad became a senior executive in the cable television industry, and later served the McDonnell Douglas Corporation as a vice-president of international commercial sales, marketing, and staff.  He died in July 1999 at the age of 69 from injuries sustained in a California motorcycle accident.