This is not a baseball story.
If you’ve watched the movie “Apollo 13,” then you know who Dr Charles Berry was though. He was the doctor who said Ken Mattingly couldn’t go to space after having been exposed to measles and thus needing to be in quarantine, not maybe on the moon potentially delirious with a high fever. The mission commander, Jim Lovell, famously protested to no avail…Mattingly was grounded. He didn’t get sick, and was the instrumental in devising the plans that got the astronauts who did fly home again after an oxygen tank exploded. Dr Berry was portrayed in my favorite scene in the movie:
Dr Berry liked that scene, too. In fact, he played it often when he gave talks at medical conferences. He was a flight surgeon for 68 years…for the USAF starting in the Korean War, then NASA in its earliest days (indeed, he was a big part of selecting the astronauts in the 1960’s), and later in private practice. I was an Air Force flight surgeon for 22 years myself. He’s a hero in our field, and I feel privileged to have met him a number of times.
Today, as I’ve done before, while re-watching the movie, I looked him up online…and found out he passed away at age 96. It was peaceful and in his sleep at home. It’s a good age and a good way to go, I suppose, but I’m still sad today.
The featured image is Dr Berry doing a check up on Jim Lovell.
(One thing Dr Berry did not like about the movie was it’s portrayal of him smoking. He was never a smoker.)