“Nobody believes me, but during this six-day odyssey we had no idea what an impression Apollo 13 made on the people of Earth. We never dreamed a billion people were following us on television and radio, and reading about us in banner headlines of every newspaper published. We still missed the point on board the carrier Iwo Jima, which picked us up, because the sailors had been as remote from the media as we were.

Only when we reached Honolulu did we comprehend our impact: there we found President Nixon and Dr. Paine to meet us, along with my wife Marilyn, Fred’s wife Mary (who being pregnant, also had a doctor along just in case), and bachelor Jack’s parents, in lieu of his usual airline stewardesses.”

—James Lovell (NASA SP-350, pg. 263)

RECOVERY AREA, SOUTH PACIFIC OCEANAPOLLO 13 RECOVERY - Rear Admiral Donald C. Davis, Commanding Officer of Task Force 130, the Pacific Recovery Forces for the Manned Spacecraft Missions, welcomes the Apollo 13 crewmembers aboard the USS Iwo Jima, prime recovery ship for the Apollo 13 mission. The crewmembers (from the left) astronauts Fred W. Haise Jr. (waving), lunar module pilot; John L. Swigert Jr., command module pilot; and James A. Lovell Jr., commander; were transported by helicopter to the ship following a smooth splashdown only about four miles from the USS Iwo Jima. Splashdown occurred at 12:07:44 p.m. (CST), April 17, 1970, to conclude safely a perilous space flight. [NASA caption]