Three astronauts pose in official photo.

Photo courtesy of NASA

The members of the prime crew of the Apollo 13 lunar landing mission are astronauts James A. Lovell Jr. (from left), commander; Thomas K. Mattingly II (replaced by Jack Swigert for the actual mission), command module pilot; and Fred W. Haise Jr., lunar module pilot.

Ohio ANG pilot part of famed Apollo 13 spaceflight

Story by Sgt. 1st Class Joshua Mann, Ohio National Guard Historian

On April 11, 1970, Apollo 13 launched from Kennedy Space Center in Florida with the mission of landing on the moon. The crew included lunar module pilot Fred Haise, a former fighter pilot with the Ohio Air National Guard’s 164th Tactical Fighter Squadron in Mansfield, Ohio. A native of Mississippi, Haise served in the squadron while he worked as a research pilot at NASA’s Lewis Research Center near Cleveland. Haise was a pilot in the squadron when it was called into federal service for the Berlin Crisis in 1961.

APOLLO XIII mission patch

The Apollo 13 mission was scheduled to be the third lunar landing, which would have made Haise the sixth person to walk on the moon.

Haise was one of 19 astronauts selected for NASA Astronaut Group 5 in 1966. The Apollo 13 mission was scheduled to be the third lunar landing, which would have made Haise the sixth person to walk on the moon. However, the mission was aborted en route after an oxygen tank exploded and ruptured in the service module on April 14, which damaged the spacecraft. After the incident, the crew reported the now famous “Houston, we’ve had a problem.”

Haise and his fellow crew members, Jim Lovell and Jack Swigert, were able to return to Earth, splashing down in the South Pacific on April 17. Haise continued to work for NASA until 1979 and spent several years working on the development of the Space Shuttle program that defined the U.S. space program in the 1980s and ‘90s. In the 1995 film “Apollo 13,” directed by Ron Howard, Haise was portrayed by actor Bill Paxton.

Haise retuned to Mansfield after the Apollo 13 mission to present the 179th Tactical Fighter Group with a unit insignia patch that he carried with him on the flight. This upheld a promise he made to the unit before the mission.

Black and white photo of Haise at lectern on tarmak at airforce base with officers on either side of him with inset of him in astronaut gear.

Photo courtesy of Ohio National Guard Heritage Center

Astronaut Fred W. Haise Jr. (at lectern), a former member of the Ohio Air National Guard’s 164th Tactical Fighter Squadron, addresses members of the 179th Tactical Fighter Group after the completion of the Apollo 13 mission in 1970. Haise presented the unit with a 179th unit insignia patch that he carried with him on the mission. INSET: Astronaut Fred W. Haise Jr., Apollo 13 lunar module pilot, is shown at Kennedy Space Center, Fla. prior to the mission. ~ Photo courtesy of NASA


Stow armory with 1st Sgt Robert Pinn super imposed

Stow armory named for U.S. Colored Troops hero during Civil War

First Sgt. Robert Pinn (1843-1911) earned the Medal of Honor during the Battle of New Market Heights, Va. on Sept. 29, 1864. He was the first Black Soldier to have an armory or readiness center named after him in the state, in the early 1970s, when the new Ohio Army National Guard Armory in Stow was opened.


Painting of HELL'S WENCH aircraft with black and white photo of Baker superimposed.

Lt. Col. Addison Baker earns Medal of Honor during WWII

On Aug. 1, 1943, “Hell’s Wench,” an American B-24 bomber badly damaged by antiaircraft artillery fire, led the 93rd Bombardment Group (Heavy) in its daring low-level attack on the oil refineries at Ploesti, Romania, which supplied two-thirds of Germany’s petroleum production at that stage of World War II.


Pvt. Jacob Parrott with super-imposed Medal of Honor

Medal of Honor history:
Member of Ohio National Guard predecessor was first recipient

Pvt. Jacob Parrott, a member of the Ohio Volunteer Militia — the predecessor to the Ohio National Guard — has the distinction of being the first person to receive the Medal of Honor, on March 25, 1863.


Lt. Col. James A. Poston is shown emerging from his F-84E Thunderjet -inset of Poston holding trophy

Ohio Air National Guard pilot wins cross-country jet race

“Slow F-84 Jet Wins Dash Across U.S.” was the newspaper headline that announced Lt. Col. James Poston of the 166th Fighter-Interceptor Squadron as the winner of the 1955 Ricks Memorial Trophy race.