Telephone Conversation With the Crew of Apollo 12 Following Splashdown and Recovery.
THE PRESIDENT. Hello, Commander? Are you all three on?
COMMANDER RICHARD F. GORDON, JR. Yes, sir, we are all on the phone.
THE PRESIDENT. I am delighted to have this opportunity to welcome you back. I only wish that I could be out there for the splashdown.
We all went with you on television. I can't say that I followed every bit of it. But I can assure you that millions here in the United States and around the world were watching.
I am just tremendously proud, personally, and speaking also representing the American people, of what you have done.
As you know, before you took off, we talked on the phone that night and I invited you and your wives to come to the White House for dinner. I just want to be sure you can make that date.
COMMANDER GORDON. Yes, sir, we will be there.
THE PRESIDENT. Fine. We will expect to see you after you get out of quarantine.
And now there is one other thing that I think I should tell you. I have noticed that you have been responsible for several firsts. You weren't 'the first on the moon. But I think, Commander Conrad, you were the first to sing from the moon, right?
COMMANDER CHARLES CONRAD, JR. I guess so, sir.
THE PRESIDENT. That is right.
Also, we have had the first moonquake as a result of your flight and the first press conference from outer space.
Now, after all of those firsts, I think that the Nation wants some recognition. And I have been trying to think of what would be the best way to recognize you.
Over these past 10 days I have noticed that Walter Cronkite and the other commentators are always referring to you as "Commander Conrad," and "Commander Gordon," and "Commander [Alan L.] Bean."
And I, exercising my prerogative as Commander in Chief of the Armed Forces, have decided that you should be promoted and that from this day forth, you shall be "Captain Conrad," and "Captain Gordon," and "Captain Bean." Congratulations.
CAPTAIN GORDON. Thank you, Mr. President.
CAPTAIN BEAN. Thank you very much.
CAPTAIN CONRAD. Thank you, sir.
THE PRESIDENT. We look forward to seeing you.
CAPTAIN GORDON. Yes, sir. We look forward to being there.
Thank you very much, sir.
Note: The President spoke at 5:45 p.m. in his office at the White House to the astronauts on board the aircraft carrier U.S.S. Hornet.
Richard Nixon, Telephone Conversation With the Crew of Apollo 12 Following Splashdown and Recovery. Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project https://www.presidency.ucsb.edu/node/240204