Apollo 15: Yellow Back-Up CDR Arm and Leg ID Mystery

By: JL Pickering

I receive quite a few photo related questions during the course of a year. I am going to use this space from time to time to start answering a few of them. Hopefully you will find some of them interesting.

First up is a question I often get regarding a minor part of the Apollo 15 back-up crew EVA training wardrobe. “Have you ever noticed that Dick Gordon was wearing yellow CDR arm and leg ID bands during training.” I had indeed noticed this many years ago, but had not put much thought into it. After being asked for about the fifth time, I looked into it a bit. It did not take long for my good friend Ed Hengeveld to produce EVA training logs that showed both prime and back-up crews had suited up at Kennedy Space Center on the same day (May 27) in 1971.
This fact apparently provides the definitive answer to the yellow CDR arm and leg ID bands. You can’t have two CDR’s running around in red ID bands. Photos below show Gordon (L) and Dave Scott (R) at KSC on May 27. Photos were taken at different times of the day. Prime crew (Scott and Jim Irwin) were training outside when back-up crew¬† (Gordon and Jack Schmitt) were inside.


To add a little to the story, Gordon is seen wearing red ID bands on May 12, 1971 as the back-up crew suited for an EVA training session at KSC. Gordon is assisted by suit tech (and artist) Ron Woods. Second photo shows Gordon on May 27 now with the yellow bands, which according to Ron was actually yellow tape wrapped over the red bands. Ron approached Dick Gordon a few years ago and showed him one of the “yellow ID band” photos. Neither one could remember anything about it. Obviously it was a long time ago.



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