Wernher von Braun Team Tribute Unveiling Ceremony
Although the people who constituted the "von Braun Team" changed over the years, the Marshall Retirees Association compiled a list of German team members who were working on the Redstone Arsenal in Huntsville by December 31, 1953, whom they consider the basis of our getting to the moon. This resulted in a list of 121 names, and a commemorative plaque with those names was placed in the Davidson Center for Space Exploration shortly after it opened.
The effort to create a Wernher von Braun Team Tribute, a commemorative brick for each of these 121 team members, was spearheaded by Jackie Dannenberg, widow of Rocket Team member Konrad Dannenberg. Other newspaper articles documented this effort, and a Facebook group was established.
The money necessary to produce the bricks was raised in time to have the unveiling ceremony coincide with an event to commemorate the 60th anniversary of the von Braun Rocket Team's move from Fort Bliss, Texas, to the Redstone Arsenal. The surviving Rocket Team members and families of team members attending this event were also present at the unveiling.
Even for Alabama in the summer, the day of the ceremony was especially hot. Luckily, the area in which the bricks were located was just east of the Saturn V replica, allowing most people to be in the rocket's shadow. In his opening remarks, Larry Capps, CEO of the USSRC, jokingly praised the foresight of the von Braun team for building a rocket which was large enough to provide shade for those assembled.
In her remarks, Jackie Dannenberg recounted that, after her husband Konrad died, her first thought was to purchase one of the large commemorative tiles in his name. Upon further reflection, however, she realized that that would not be what Konrad would have wanted: He was part of a team. He would eschew personal recognition in favor of having the entire team honored. Instead the single tile for Konrad, the idea for a tribute to the entire von Braun team was born.
Also speaking at the event was Major General Genaro Dellarocco, Program Executive Officer, Missiles and Space, Redstone Arsenal (which one might describe as a successor organization to the ABMA, the Army Ballistic Missile Agency, which was formed around the German rocket scientists).
Marshall Space Flight Center, to which the bulk of the von Braun team was transferred in 1960, was itself celebrating its 50th anniversary and was unable to send a speaker.
Dellarocco, who was in full dress uniform in the sweltering heat, remained after the physical unveiling of the bricks. He helped von Braun team member Hans Fichtner find his brick and helped widows of deceased team members find their husbands' bricks.
I've prepared three PDFs: