Monday, June 15, 2009

Georgia Preacher Rescued Apollo 11 Astronauts

/PRNewswire/ -- When Apollo 11 astronauts Neil Armstrong, Buzz Aldrin and Mike Collins splashed down into the Pacific Ocean on July 24, 1969 after their historic moonwalk, the first human they saw had flowers plastered all over his wetsuit. A picture of Wolfram standing on top of the capsule holding on to the recovery loop like a cowboy on a bucking bronco was plastered all over America's newspapers and periodicals, including the now-defunct Look magazine. You can't miss Wolfram. His flowers distinguish him from the others.

Wolfram remembers that remarkable day as if it were yesterday, "Who would have thought that a 20-year-old seaman like me would have ever gotten the chance to be part of history? Dreams do come true."

Rescuing astronauts was not the only adventure of Wolfram's short navy career. He was deployed twice to Vietnam where he received a purple heart from a leg wound received during a firefight with the Viet Cong. John lost eight close friends, "I was one of the fortunate ones. I was able to return to the U.S. and pick up where I left off."

John's amazing story is chronicled in a book he has published called Splashdown, The Rescue of a Navy Frogman -- just in time for the 40th anniversary of the first Moon landing. Wolfram not only describes in detail his journey to become a Navy UDT/SEAL, he also shares with readers his personal struggles, coping with drugs and the controversial war. While hallucinating on LSD in a Vietnam hotel room, he escaped the horrors of suicide after hearing a familiar voice -- the one that had spoken to him once before as a child.

With the help of faith that never left his side, Wolfram weaves into his narrative how while he was trained to rescue others, he found himself in need of rescue.

When asked the question, what do you want readers to get out of your book, among other things? His reply was "to realize someone is out there, urging us to try, to take the risk, to brave the danger, and standing ready to reveal Himself as our savior."

Wolfram's own conversion came at the end of his four-year Navy enlistment. His turnaround was so dramatic that many of his UDT-11 teammates were also converted. Four of them became preachers of the gospel.

Wolfram's Christian journey has led him back to Vietnam, among those whom he fought in order to lead them to Jesus. "Going back to Vietnam was a rush beyond words," says Wolfram. "I faced my demons and answered God's call all at the same time. I've been making trips every year since the early '90s."

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