ALAMEDA (KCBS) – The USS Hornet was acknowledged for its role in the Apollo 11 space mission Wednesday, as the curator for the warship and museum docked in Alameda attended Wednesday’s Congressional Gold Medal ceremony for Apollo astronauts in Washington D.C.

Randall Ramian, CEO of the USS Hornet Museum was invited to see the astronauts receive the nation’s highest civilian honor.

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On July 24, 1969, President Richard Nixon was aboard as the Hornet recovered astronauts Neil Armstrong, Buzz Aldrin and Michael Collins and their spacecraft Columbia after the Apollo 11 moon mission. Armstrong and Aldrin were the first two humans to walk on the moon.

“It was a monumental moment, and we’re not only proud to be associated with the Apollo 11 recovery, but also Apollo 12, which happened a few months later,” said Randall Ramian, CEO of the Hornet’s Apollo museum.

KCBS’ Anna Duckworth Reports:

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The museum is home to the largest collection of the mission’s artifacts. He said he is honored that as the museum’s curator, he was invited to the White House as a symbol of the ship’s pivotal role.

“We actually weren’t suspecting it,” said Randall. “It was actually a very nice surprise.”

Wednesday’s Congressional Gold Medal recipients include the three Apollo 11 astronauts and former senator John Glenn, the first American to orbit the earth.

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