IKE: The Memoir of Isom

IKE: The Memoir of Isom "Ike" Rigell

by Ike Rigell


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What would you do if you were an 18-year-old Marine operating a small combat telephone switchboard on Midway Island, and you have to put the call through to your Commanding Officer, letting him know that the Japanese had attacked Pearl Harbor . . . this was the situation Ike Rigell found himself in on December 7, 1941. Growing up in the tiny town of Slocomb, AL, Ike never dreamed he would travel halfway around the world to fight for his beloved country in WWII, and then go onto a long and prolific career at NASA and the aerospace industry. Ike’s emotional, poignant, and often humorous firsthand account of his life over the years pays tribute to our nation’s history through the time-honored tradition of storytelling.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781633935143
Publisher: Koehler Books
Publication date: 09/20/2017
Pages: 542
Product dimensions: 6.00(w) x 9.00(h) x 1.63(d)

About the Author

Ike Rigell is a Marine Veteran of World War II. After honorably fighting for his country at the battles of Iwo Jima, Midway, Saipan, and Tinian, Ike went on to earn a degree from one of the top engineering schools in the country, Georgia Tech. After graduation, he went to work for the Army Ballistic Missile Agency (ABMA), which was later transferred to NASA in 1960. At NASA, Ike was an original member of the launch team at Cape Canaveral, FL. He was a member of the launch team for the Free World's first satellite, Explorer I (1958), the Free World's first man in space (1961), Chief Engineer and Deputy Director for all Apollo Space Program launches (12 men walked on the surface of the moon), Skylab, the United States first laboratory in space, and Director of Launch Operations for the Apollo-Soyuz launch in 1975 (a joint U.S. and Russian rendezvous in space). After his time at NASA, he worked for ten more years in the space program for United Technologies and retired as the Vice President of USBI, Florida Operations. Ike and his wife, Kathryn, live in Titusville, FL.

Table of Contents

Foreword 3

Introduction 11


Early years 15

Parents 27

Jobs 31

The Great Depression 40

Bartering 49

Hog Killin’ 52

School Days 54

Ramblin’ Thoughts 63

Blacks and Whites 65

Christian Heritage 69


War years 73

Marine Corps 86

Birmingham to Boot Camp 89

Telephone School to Midway 97

Dolittle’s Raid 113

Battle of Midway 119

Lejuene to Roi-Namur 134

Marshall Islands to Maui 140

Saipan 144

Hitting the Beach 152

27th Army Infantry 164

More Saipan Memories 168

Saipan Cane Field 174

Battle of Saipan 177

Tinian 182

Iwo Jima 185

Flag Raising 196

End of War 199

Wars are Senseless 205


Civilian years 211

Discharged 249

Georgia Tech 254

Space Career 262

Dayton To Huntsville 269

Cuban Missiles 287

Apollo 291

Readiness Reviews 304

Space Workers 309

Space Barber 309

Near Miss 321

Apollo 8 325

Usbi 328

1991-Retirement 341

2012-Greatest Generation Trip 355

Greatest Generation Trip 366

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