He was one of the many silent unsung heroes of the space race.
From Freedom 7, the first ever U.S. astronaut in space, to Apollo 17, the last ever Moon mission, Guenter Wendt was closely involved in one of the greatest adventures of mankind.
Nearly fifty years ago, in the heart of the space race in Cape Canaveral, tensions were high and unfortunately the rockets weren't going high enough. It was here and now that Wendt was a part of group of technicians who managed the launching pad, helping astronauts set themselves in various rockets for the missions that would carry them into history. His team was responsible for not only helping the astronauts sitting in the capsules, but also to make sure that the capsule was secured properly. Although history would shine more on the men who ventured beyond the Earth, the men who went there never forgot the man who had come to be known as the "Pad Fuhrer."
He was originally called Pad Leader but it was John Glenn who would give him that title due to him being German and the austere air around him whenever there was a flight. In his own words from his 2001 memoir, The Unbroken Chain he wrote, "If you came up to the spacecraft, you didn't touch it without my permission."
However not all his interaction with the astronauts was cold or distant. When Neil Armstrong was about to be seated in the command module of Apollo 11 for its historic mission, Wendt presented Neil Armstrong with a makeshift "key to the moon" made out of styrofoam. In turn, the astronaut presented Wendt with a "space taxi" ticket good for travel between "two planets."