June 17th, 2016

Recalling astronaut Brandenstein

brandenstein webI examined this framed memento on my office wall the other day and was prompted to check out NASA astronaut Dan Brandenstein on the Internet. I was a reporter at the Whidbey News-Times when the U.S. Navy pilot visited Oak Harbor (He flew 192 combat missions in A-6 Intruders). Brandenstein piloted one space shuttle mission and commanded three others, including the maiden flight of the Endeavor. I can’t recall the sequence of events subsequent to our meeting, but somewhere along the line Brandenstein honored me with a commemorative shuttle patch and a signed document that had acknowledged me as an applicant for the Journalist in Space Project. The April 1986 document was later followed up by a “Dear John” letter. Brandenstein wrote on my document: “Sorry you weren’t ‘the one.’ Best wishes for more success next time.” Brandenstein later served as chief of the Astronaut Office before leaving NASA and the Navy in 1992. A true American hero. He was inducted into the U.S. Astronaut Hall of Fame on June 21, 2003. I am honored to have met him. (Names on the shuttle patch include Brandenstein, Creighton, Nagel, Fabian, Lucid, Baudry and Al-Saud.)

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About Photographer Steve Berentson

A fourth generation Skagit County native who was moved kicking and screaming from this island community in 1960. I finally reclaimed an Anacortes address in 1980, and I have been in constant celebration of my return since that time. Many of us who call Anacortes home love Fidalgo Island for its natural assets: among them are rugged beaches, pristine lakes, thousands of acres of forestland and some awesome views of the Skagit Valley and surrounding islands. Another element of my love affair with this community is its people, both natives and immigrants. They will “star” in many of my journal entries.

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