"Hornet Plus Three" Button from USS Hornet's Recovery of Apollo 11 Astronauts
Title: Button, Hornet Plus Three
Accession #: NHHC 1969-452-L
Medium: Plastic, Paper, Metal
Location: Headquarters Artifact Collection, Naval History and Heritage Command
One circular yellow metal button with a pin clasp on the reverse side and dark blue lettering on the obverse side that reads "Hornet / Plus / Three."
The aircraft carrier USS Hornet (CV-12) served as the primary recovery ship for the retrieval of the Apollo 11 command module and astronauts. After the splashdown in the Pacific Ocean, the astronauts had to change into Biological Isolation Garments (BIG) to prevent them from introducing any potential moon germs to Earth. Helicopter #66, designated as Recovery One, picked up the astronauts and delivered them to the Hornet. Once aboard, they were immediately sealed inside the Mobile Quarantine Facility (MQF), another part of the moon germ containment initiative.
Once the astronauts were inside the MQF, they traded their BIG suits for blue flight suits, each adorned with a lapel button like this one. Captain Carl Seiberlich, Commanding Officer of USS Hornet, chose the slogan “Hornet Plus Three” to welcome aboard the returning astronauts from Apollo 11. A sign displaying the phrase was also hung above the door leading into the Mobile Quarantine Facility (MQF).