Nickelson help recover Astronaut Gordon Cooper’s Mercury Capsule in 1963
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PASO ROBLES — Estrella Warbirds Museum will once again host an engaging speaker at its monthly dinner on Feb. 6. Richard G. “Nick” Nickelson served in Underwater Demolition Team Twelve, a precursor to today’s Navy SEAL’s, from 1962 until 1965. He served in Vietnam, the Cuban Missile Crisis, and was a member of the three-man team that rescued Astronaut Gordon Cooper after his Faith 7 Mercury landing.
Nickelson was one of three Navy Frogmen who placed the flotation collar on Gordon Cooper’s Mercury Capsule when it splashed down in the Pacific on May 16, 1963. The U.S. Navy Memorial in Washington, D.C. has a bronze relief of the rescue mission showing Nickelson on the capsule.