115:03:07 Shepard: Okay. Put it down. (Pause) Let's get the...(Pause) Deploy it while it's still up here. There we go.[After unfolding the wheels, they have to lock the front legs and handle into place.]115:03:24 Mitchell: Well, let's see...We've had visitors again.
115:03:28 Shepard: Yeah. Hardly worth mentioning.
115:03:33 Mitchell: Agree. (Pause)[Jones - "I had heard that the backup crew had put notes in lots of places on the spacecraft. Did you just find one on the MET?"]
[Mitchell - "I think what we're talking about there is one of their patches, because they put the goddamn things all over the spacecraft and, whenever we opened up something, there would be one of them. It had a Roadrunner on it and was a parody of our patch."]
[The exchange 'Visitors...hardly worth mentioning,' is, of course, a very dry, joking dismissal of the backup crew.]
On 16 May 2005, while reviewing the 16-mm film of the flag depoyment, Ulli Lotzmann spotted what is undoubtedly a backup-crew patch on the back of Al's PLSS.
The images from the 16-mm film of the flag deployment doesn't provide enough detail to establish that we are seeing a backup-crew patch. Lotzmann points to a short TV sequence with a somewhat better image of the suspect patch. However, even in this case, the image quality isn't good enough to allow a determination.
Finally, in October 2017 while reviewing the 16-mm film of the ALSEP depoyment, Ulli Lotzmann found undoubtable proof of a backup-crew patch on the back of Al's PLSS. (Click here for a higher-resolution version.) Note that the patch is positioned over the second Velcro strip up from the bottom on the right, which meant that the Backup Crew could attach the patch to the PLSS via a complementary Velcro strip attached to the back of the patch.
Lotzmann notes that Shepard and Mitchell seem to have removed the backup-crew patch from the back of Shepard's PLSS during their time in the cabin between the EVAs, as indicated by the following contrast-enhanced detail from AS14-68-9422 taken during the climb to Cone Crater.
The Apollo 14 crew was the last Apollo crew to be placed in quarantine at the Lunar Receiving Lab after their mission. Sometime after they emerged, a Splashdown party was held and, on that occasion, Shepard presented Back-up Commander Gene Cernan with a wooden plaque - fabricated at the Manned Spacecraft Center Machine Shop under the supervision of Bill Whipkey - with the flown Backup Crew Patch from the back of Shepard's PLSS glued to the plaque.
The fourth photo is this series shows
the front and back surfaces of the flown patch, with a Velcro strip on the back of the patch for mating with Velcro on the back of Shepard's PLSS. Remnants of the glue used to attach the flown patch to the plaque are visible.
The final chapter in the story of the flown 'Beep-Beep' Backup-Crew Patch came in 2009 when Gene Cernan shared it - if only for a moment - with Ed Mitchell. From Gene's expression, he was clearly delighted to have another 'Gotcha' moment at Ed's expense.
|Journal Home Page||Apollo 14 Journal|