A retired Navy frogman, once a celebrity for retrieving two monkeys from a sinking space capsule 56 years ago, now lives in obscurity in a Beaverton retirement complex.
“I don’t talk about what happened in 1959,” 81-year-old Ed Foy told The Oregonian. But for a while, Foy enjoyed fame in Time and Life magazines, national news programs, and on the “To Tell the Truth” television game show.
On May 28, 1959, NASA launched Able, a rhesus monkey, and Baker, a squirrel monkey, 360 miles into space. Several primates had died in earlier rocket flights, but Able and Baker survived their capsule’s descent into the Atlantic Ocean. Foy dove 35 feet underwater to snag the sinking nose cone and connect a cable to raise it.
Then the attention ended for Foy at age 24. America launched men into space, and everyone forgot about the monkeys.
Foy encountered Able again years later in the Smithsonian in Washington, D.C. Read more in this Oregonian feature.