Lexington Sailor remembered for impact on Apollo 11

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LEXINGTON, Ky. (WTVQ) – The Aviation Museum in Lexington is honoring the commonwealth’s connection to Apollo 11, a former Sailor.

The late Max Hellmueller was a crane operator on the U.S.S. Hornet. The same ship that pulled Apollo 11’s astronauts out of the water upon landing back on Earth.

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Hellmueller worked as a volunteer at the Aviation Museum and donated his photos of the event.

Victor Tamariz worked with him and said he knew Hellmueller worked the crane, but had no idea of the story of how it came to be, until Hellmueller’s son came through the museum a few weeks ago.

Tamariz said, “he had a mate who also operated the crane, and they flipped a coin because they knew it was going to be important.”



“I guess the thing that he was most afraid of was dropping the capsule before it got on the ship,” he said.

He said he’ll never forget how the friend and coworker he cleaned and swept floors with at the museum was the same man who got to be a part of such a historic moment for America.

“I Never in my wildest dreams think I would actually get to meet someone that had Max’s contacts with Apollo 11,” Tamariz said.