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Acadiana linked to the moon landing in several ways

Cecilia man worked on Apollo 11
Posted at 6:00 PM, Jul 20, 2019
and last updated 2019-07-20 23:09:32-04

More than 600 million people watched this historic moment 50 years ago - Neil Armstrong taking mankind's first steps on the moon.

It's a moment that took years in the making spent on building and designing. That included the help of a few Louisiana men.

A Korean War Veteran was stationed in Lake Charles serving for the Air force. His daughter Denise Clement and her siblings say their father, Charles Perry, started building engines for NASA in 1956.

Clement says every day her father spent his time at work building a rocket. Perry passed away while working on the shuttle mission in 1978 but decades later his family remembers his contribution to space travel.

"I remember being so proud of my father and happy for him, that all his hard work, and all those long hours away from us, had come to fruition, and he was so proud of what he and his co workers had accomplished." Clement said.

Several years later a Cecilia man joined in on the effort to win the space race.

"I feel that I had a very interesting and rewarding career." Harvey LeBlanc said.

LeBlanc was one of 400,000 to design and create the Apollo 11. LeBlanc worked on the middle piece, the Saturn V.

"We built the second stage which took it right to the edge of space." LeBlanc explained.

Altogether the rocket stood 360 ft.

"The first time I went up to the launch pad, I looked up and thought there is no way this big thing is going to get off the ground." LeBlanc recalled.

In 1961 LeBlanc was in his final year at UL or USL at that time. In September of 1961 he heard Kennedy's speech.
"I believe that this nation should commit itself to achieving the goal before this decade is out, of landing a man on the moon and returning him safely."

So in 1962 after graduation, LeBlanc was off for the career of a lifetime.

"The Russians were beating us, I wanted to be a part of that action. I didn't realize at the time, we had a front row seat to history being made."

From there LeBlanc continued working on several missions until 1999. He retired as the Boeing Executive Design Director for Propulsion and Mechanical Systems on the Space Shuttle, Delta IV Rocket, and other programs.