ALS, one page, 8.5 x 11, personal letterhead, no date. In full: “Instead of blaming newly designed equipment observers blamed Gus Grissom for blowing his hatch after his water landing. This caused the spacecraft to sink and almost cost Gus his life. I was almost badly hurt during a helicopter pick-up in training, and I decied to have Sigma 7, my Mercury spacecraft, hoisted onboard the carrier by a shipboard crane. A mattress was placed near the hatch of Sigma 7 permitting me to blow the hatch while on the flight deck. I hit the plunger, actuator with my right hand. The ‘switch’ was about two inches in diameter, and the recoil cut through my glove and cut my hand. Gus was thrilled to see the cut, the next day, on the carrier, and we all agreed there had been no marks on Gus after Libery Bell sank. Gus was vindicated.” In fine condition. Accompanied by a color satin-finish 10 x 8 composite photo of Schirra’s experiment with the hatch, signed in the lower border in black felt tip, “Schirra blows the hatch, Gus is vindicated! Wally Schirra,” adding his mission insignia next to his signature. Despite Grissom’s assertion of the hatch unexpectedly blowing off after his splashdown, and NASA’s conclusion he was correct due to lack of any injuries to his hand, speculation remained until Schirra performed this quick experiment at the end of his flight, deliberately blowing the hatch after his recovery and hurting his hand. A superb piece exonerating his friend and fellow Mercury member. Pre-certified Steve Zarelli and RR Auction COA.
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