Navy SEAL Robert "Bob" Coggin - Apollo 8 Recovery Interview


The South Carolina State Museum hosted a special screening of Robert Stone's "Chasing The Moon"  on Thursday, July 25, 2019. Museum guests, and members of the SCETV Endowment alike came to see this special screening, and took advantage of the opportunity to speak with several guests of honor, including astronaut Charlie Duke.  Earlier that afternoon, the museum hosted a meet-and-greet with two extraordinary South Carolinians who actively took part in the Apollo Program.  These two gentlemen - Robert "Bob" Coggin, and Milt Putnam, served in the U.S. Navy, and took part in the recovery operations of several Apollo spacecraft, after they returned from their voyages to the moon. 

Robert "Bob" Coggin is a native of Charleston, South Carolina. Coggin served as a U.S. Navy "frogman" diver. A "frogman" is someone who is trained in scuba diving, or swimming underwater, for military or police work. During the Vietnam War, Coggin was part of a Navy SEAL underwater demolition team.  Just after returning to the U.S. from his tour in Vietnam, Coggin received his next assignment: to train for the possibility of recovering the Apollo 8 spacecraft. Once a spacecraft returned to the earth, "frogmen" would assist with its recovery - performing duties such as attaching flotation devices to the spacecraft, and assisting with the astronauts' egress from inside the spacecraft.

Coggin was one of these very "frogmen" stationed on the U.S.S. Yorktown, who assisted astronauts Frank Borman, Jim Lovell, and Bill Anders, after they returned from orbiting the moon on the historic Apollo 8 spaceflight. and SCETV had the privilege of discussing Coggin's experiences in the Navy, and the Apollo 8 recovery.