Apollo 16 Moonwalker Shares How His Faith Grew After The Mission: Charlie Duke was the youngest to have ever stepped on the moon during their mission in 1972. When he arrived, what he saw changed his life forever. He experienced God on the moon and grew deeper in relationship with Him. Tune in now to learn more!

Air Date: 05/28/2019

Guest: Charlie Duke

On-air Personalities: David Barton, Rick Green, and Tim Barton


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Transcription note:  As a courtesy for our listeners’ enjoyment, we are providing a transcription of this podcast. Transcription will be released shortly. However, as this is transcribed from a live talk show, words and sentence structure were not altered to fit grammatical, written norms in order to preserve the integrity of the actual dialogue between the speakers. Additionally, names may be misspelled or we might use an asterisk to indicate a missing word because of the difficulty in understanding the speaker at times. We apologize in advance.

Faith And The Culture

Rick:

Welcome to the intersection of faith and the culture. This is WallBuilders Live! Where we’re talking about today’s hottest topics on policy, faith, and the culture, always doing that from a Biblical, historical, and Constitutional perspective.

We’re here with David Barton, America’s premier historian and the founder of WallBuilders. Also, Tim Barton, national speaker and President of WallBuilders, and my name is Rick Green, I’m a former Texas state legislator, national speaker, and author.

Visit Us Online

You can find out more about us at our two websites. We’ve got WallBuildersLive.com, our radio site. And, then, go over to WallBuilders.com, our main site.

At the radio site, you’ll get a list of all our stations. You’ll be able to get into the archives of the program over the last few weeks. And, you can also make a donation there

Today, we are going to have a great program. I mean, we’re talking genuine astronaut, genuine moon-walking astronaut, one of only 12 people to have walked on the moon.

Guys, Tim, I know you and I are excited; but, I think David is more excited about this than maybe any program we’ve done in the last year.

DAVID:

I’m loving this. This is a really cool guy with a–I’m sorry. “Cool” is not the word anymore; that’s my generation.

Is “cool” still in?

TIM:

It’s acceptable.

A Very Special Guest

DAVID:

This is a really cool guy to me. I got to meet him, be with him, and do a number of meetings together. And, this is kind of where I go googly eyed and act like a teenage girl in front of a rock star; this this one is really special to me.

TIM:

Well, guys, I can tell you. Just thinking big-picture, as somebody who walked on the moon, that’s got to be one of the most incredible feelings that nobody can ever top. If you ever go to a party, people have conversations and are telling their stories like, “There’s one time I got finish–” whatever story they tell, you’re like, “That’s cool. I mean, I walked on the moon,” right?

Like, that’s just ridiculous. Nobody can ever top your experiences; that’s amazing. In fact, I even think about, as President Trump has talked about Space Force, I remember back to when we were first sending things out to orbit. Then, we’re going to test sending life out; we sent a monkey out wondering Can the monkey survive?

I feel like I would be happy just to be the test monkey at some point. Just send me up; let me go check this out. But, to be one of the guys who actually is a significant part of the program and actually walks on the moon, I can’t wait to hear story and details.

I hope he gets into part of how it felt. We hear these stories, maybe on movies, or see things. But, I want to hear from the guy who actually did it. That’s amazing.

DAVID:

It’s amazing. And, let me get the backstory on how he got to the moon, because Charlie Duke as a strong Christian guy. But, the guy who got this all started is the guy who came up with the Saturn Rocket, which is what carried the Apollo space program to the moon. And, the guy who came up with the Saturn Rocket is the guy who came up with the V2 rocket in World War II  that Germany used against England.

Wernher von Braun

IT was a guy named Wernher von Braun. And, Wernher von Braun invents this rocket. Then, he sees what’s happening in Germany and what the Germans are doing.

So, late in the war, he defects to the United States. He gives this stuff over the United States. The United States immediately puts–it’s still down the war–puts him in charge of the American rocket program.

And so, he’s here in America, doing the American rocket program. He gets put out in El Paso for a while and he’s working on rockets out there. He goes to a church out there and gives himself to the Lord, becomes a Christian.

So, he really has this passion to put men on the moon; even when he was in Germany, that was his dream: to put men on the moon. And so, he came up with this rocket. Then, he goes to work for NASA and does the Apollo program.

God and The Apollo Missions

And, you start with Apollo 1, all the way through the 17 Apollo missions, he was the guy who is doing the rockets that carried these guys. So, as you go through the Apollo missions, there are so many God moments in this. I think it was Apollo 8 where the astronauts are circling the moon, not going to land yet.

It’s not till Apollo 11 they land on the moon.But, in circling the moon, the astronauts said, “Hey, it’s Christmas Eve; now it’s Christmas. We have a Christmas message for everybody back on good planet Earth.”

And, they read the Genesis creation story from space. I mean, that was what the three astronauts did. And, then you had Nixon having prayer for Apollos as they’d take off. There was such a Christian tone to so much of what went there. So, when you actually get to Neil Armstrong, who’s the guy who was first to walk on the moon, Apollo 11. He’s a dedicated Christian.

We actually were able to add to the collection that we have at WallBuilders, his confirmation certificate with the doctrines of Christianity, how he had mastered those doctrines, his profession of Christian faith. It is a cool document to have. But, here just recently, we came up with a letter from from Charlie Duke.

Charlie Duke, the 10th Man to Walk on the Moon

And, Charlie was the 10th guy to walk on the moon. He was part of Apollo 16 and the youngest man to walk on the moon. We’re going to talk with him today.

But, just reading part of his letter, he says, “I thought that Apollo 16 would be my crowning glory; but, the crown that Jesus gives will not tarnish or fade away…. This is my God, the One who does not forget a single sparrow, Who tells us that we are each worth more than many sparrows; this is the Lord I love and serve.

“This is the God who transformed my life. Not everyone has the opportunity to walk on the moon, but everyone has the opportunity to walk with the Son;” and, so it went.

I mean, this is a guy who, that moon trip transformed his life. It woke him up to a spiritual awareness: Man, look what’s out here. This is bigger than I can imagine; the creation is so massive.

And, by the way, it did the same thing on Apollo 17 with Jim Irwin. I mean, he became a strong Christian as a result of that space trip. So, Charlie Duke is such a hero, such a good guy.

It’s just–I can’t tell you how thrilled I am to have him on here. We get to actually talk to a moonwalker. How cool is that?

RICK:

Well, it’s so cool that I did my research for this program. I went and watched Apollo 13, The Right Stuff, Gravity, Space Cowboys, 2001: A Space Odyssey, The Martian, Interstellar, Contact, and every other movie I could get my hand on.

{laughter}

TIM:

Was that just since last night, or like this afternoon?

RICK:

I really did feel like I should at least watch Apollo 13 and some of these. I mean, he was at Mission Command; and part of that– there are some great recordings of him talking to folks. He was part of whenever Neil Armstrong walked.

The Voice of NASA During Apollo 11

DAVID:1

Yes, Apollo 11.

RICK:

Yes.

DAVID:

He was the voice of NASA during Apollo 11. He was sitting there talking and the one you heard on all Apollo 11 recordings. It’s really cool.

RICK:

Good stuff. Well, we’re excited Charlie Duke will be with us. Stay tuned; you’re listening to WallBuilders Live!

Comedy and the Constitution at Front Site

Hey friends, Rick Green here. Have you ever wanted to laugh while learning? Would you like to actually have some humor included in your education about the Constitution? Well, that’s what Brad Stine and myself do in what we call Comedy and the Constitution.

We do it all over the country and can bring it to your community. But, we’re doing something we’ve never done before. We’re taking the Comedy and the Constitution Front Site in Nevada, and we’re going to combine it with the Constitutional Defense Program we’ve been doing for a couple of years.

Now, the Constitutional Defense Program is where you actually get some constitution training and some handgun training to you learn how to defend yourself and your family. You’re going to get all of it: the constitutional training; the opportunity to laugh with Brad Stine, God’s comic comedian, and you’re going to the handgun training at Front Site.

This is a one time event happening June 3rd and 4th. There’s still time to sign up; but, space is very limited. So, if you want to be on the range with us, then you’ve got to get signed up right now at RickGreen.com. Find out more; it’s going to be a great event on June 3rd and 4th. So, get signed up today at RickGreen.com.

From Eagle Scout to Retiring as a General

RICK:

Welcome back to WallBuilders Live! Thanks so much for staying with us.

We are honored today and excited to have General Charlie Duke with us.

From Eagle Scout to retiring as a general, somewhere in between, he did a few little things like walking on the moon and being a big part of Apollo. We are so excited to have you on. General Duke, thanks so much for being on our program today.

GENERAL CHARLIE DUKE:

My pleasure, Rick. Good to be with you. Thank you very much for the invitation.

RICK:

Well, we WallBuilders are excited to have you. In fact, we just obtained a letter of yours, a really cool letter where you talk about the Lord; and, it has some really great quotes. Our founder, David Barton, has the largest private collection of Founding Fathers documents, but loves collecting from guys like you too. And, we are just excited about your witness, faith today, and what you still do to have an impact on our country.

So, it’s just really great to have you.

GENERAL CHARLIE DUKE:

Thank you.

RICK:

So, we wanted to chat with you a little bit about some of the things going on in the world today, the space program, what President Trump is talking about doing, and some of those things. But, if we could, let’s back up. I mean, I’m really curious.

The main thing I would love to hear from you is what it was like after. You were at the top of the game being one of only 12 guys to walk on the moon. All the things that you did, when you got home–well, how did you?

What was your thinking at that point, like, How do I top what I’ve done already? You were a young man with your life before you.

Reaching the Top of the Ladder

GENERAL CHARLIE DUKE:

Well, that was a problem with several of us. You know, by the time Apollo was over, I was 37 years old and had climbed up to the top of the ladder. Then, the thought occurred to me What are you going to do now?

I had several opportunities: One, to run for Congress, that I declined. One, to go to Washington to work at NASA headquarters, which I declined because I knew if we moved out of Texas, I’d never see– if we got into politics or administration of NASA, I’d never see my family again. And, we’d been separated for a couple of years.

So, anyway it was this: What do you want to do now? And, that drive that took me to the moon was still there. I guess there was a struggle with it for a couple of years, three or four years.

Finding Peace

Finally I decided, “Well, maybe I need to leave NASA and go into business;” which, I did. But, that didn’t satisfy either. There was still that drive, no peace.

RICK:

Yeah.

GENERAL CHARLIE DUKE:

You know, “What now?” But, I found that peace of the Lord at a Bible study at T Bar M here in New Braunfels, in April 1978. And, when I said “Yes” to Jesus, this peace came over me, and I knew I was on the right road.

RICK:

Wow. Now, did your wife Dottie come to the Lord before you? Or, were you all together that weekend?

GENERAL CHARLIE DUKE:

She was before, about two and a half years before. We were still in Houston but were thinking about moving. And, in October of, I believe, ‘75, we had a little Episcopal Church we were going to when they had a weekend called “Faith Alive.”

And, these folks came. They shared their testimonies and faith in Jesus and had a love, joy, and a peace that we didn’t have. Dottie saw that.

She was very depressed at the time and had gone from despair, to depression, to thoughts of suicide.

RICK:

Wow.

Sadness to Joy

GENERAL CHARLIE DUKE:

But, when she said “Yes” to Jesus that weekend, over the next couple months I watched her change and saw peace and joy. There’s a little booklet she wrote called Sadness to Joy that tells that story. So, she was two-and-a-half years before me; then, I finally got the word.

RICK:

That’s incredible. That’s why I asked, because I had read part of her story that just sounded phenomenal. I can only imagine, from her perspective, being married to somebody that’s at the top of the game, in the national spotlight, and all the different things that came with being an astronaut at that time.

Her story’s amazing too. We want to get some people links today to her story. But, you now to still travel around and speak.

In fact, you’re going to be out of country in Switzerland next month. Tell me what you really enjoy sharing about. You’ve had so many life experiences.

I mean, you share about the Lord, NASA, the future of what’s going to happen. What still gets you passionate?

A Full Schedule

GENERAL CHARLIE DUKE:

Well, basically since the early 90s, Dottie and I have been doing our Christian ministry probably 20 or 30 percent of our time, traveling all over. We’re not preachers, but we just share our testimony and what God has done in our lives. Then, the rest of the time, I’m involved in some business investments.

But, mostly it’s a motivational speaking, I call it, talking about the space program.

I also am with Omega Watch, the watch we wore on the moon; so, I’m one of their ambassadors who travels around making appearances for them. I am busy.

We’re leaving next Sunday for Germany, then Switzerland. We’ll come home for a few days and go back to the Paris Air Show in mid-June. Then, from there, to a week’s conference and in Zurich, Switzerland called “Starmus.”

It’s a busy year. Of course, with the 50th anniversary, there’s a lot of activity. So, I enjoy motivating kids, inspiring companies in their teamwork efforts and managements, and  getting involved.

Did Going to the Moon Change Your Life?

Those kind of things I talk about. It’s given me a revival. All the while, even though you call it “talking for a company or a conference,” if you have a Q and A, somebody might ask you, “Well, did going to the moon change your life?”

I say, “That really didn’t. But, let me tell you what did.”

RICK:

Wow.

GENERAL CHARLIE DUKE:

I talk about my commitment to my Lord.

RICK:

Well, I love even just the inspiring people to do more, be more, and do whatever God’s called them to. I was actually visiting a guy we have on our radio program quite a bit, Pastor Tim Brooks, this last Sunday, visiting his church. And, he was talking about the fact that too often we think that if you’re not preaching the Gospel, you’re not living out making disciples.

But, in fact, if you’re building houses, being a plumber, or doing motivational speaking,  whatever you’re doing, if you’re serving people, inspiring them, and helping them, you’re living out the Gospel. I mean, we don’t have to actually–

GENERAL CHARLIE DUKE:

Yeah, I agree; {there are a} lot of opportunities that God gives us. And so, I’m just thankful for good health, the opportunity to travel, and the invitations that come. My wife and I both enjoy it.

She doesn’t speak so much, except in a Christian setting. But, she certainly is very effective one-on-one with the people God brings into her life.

Invite Charlie to Speak

RICK:

Well, before I start asking you a few questions about the space program, for folks to book you to speak, if they want to have you in, CharlieDuke.com, I guess, is the best place to go.

GENERAL CHARLIE DUKE:

That’s correct. We–it’s not in bookstores anymore; it’s been out quite a while. But, we do sell it online and at various Christian meetings where we attend get to sell books.

RICK:

And, that’s the place they can get you in to speak as well?

GENERAL CHARLIE DUKE:

Yeah, that’s correct. It’s [email protected]

RICK:

Okay:  [email protected]. We’ll have a link today at our website WallBuildersLive.com.

General Duke, what do you think about some of the things the president talking about: this Space Force? There’s a lot going on with talk about putting a man on Mars. What are your thoughts on the future of space exploration?

The Future of Space Exploration

GENERAL CHARLIE DUKE:

Well, Space Force is a military program combining all of the efforts, as I understand it. RICK:

Yes.

GENERAL CHARLIE DUKE:

This military program will combine under one command the assets of our space business: G.P.S. satellites, navigation satellites, weather satellites, and {CIS}-type stuff. So, that’s separate from NASA, of course. On the NASA side, I’ve been lobbying for years now about us returning to the moon.

I think it’s a tremendous opportunity to build a permanent station on the moon where you would cycle crews back and forth on a several-months basis maybe. And there, establish the ability to live long duration out in deep space. The moon is a great platform for science, developing procedures and systems that you might need on a trip to Mars.

The moon is basically instant communications; Mars is 12 minutes or more: “Hello, Houston,” and they don’t hear you for long time.

RICK:

Yeah.

GENERAL CHARLIE DUKE:

So, you’re basically on your own at Mars and need a lot of confidence in your systems. And, being on the moon is a place to develop those system, plus have a wealth of scientific knowledge and maybe even some mineral extraction from the moon.

RICK:

Well, and you’ve talked about the fact that when it comes to spending money on these types of things, that’s money you’re gonna get back as a result of that research and that scientific exploration.

Helium-3

GENERAL CHARLIE DUKE:

Yes, there’s a lot of opportunity to learn more about the moon, plus also, to learn about our solar system and universe. And, one of our astronaut colleagues who is a geologist on Apollo 17, sees the moon as a source of helium-3, which is a material you can bring back that has nuclear energy and leaves no residue or radioactive residue. It can power cities; so, maybe in the future, that will be the power source that we’re all going to be using.

RICK:

No telling; well, it’s it’s exciting to see what’s coming. I think that having leaders with vision that will reach out like that is one of the things that we have a duty as citizens to look for in our leaders. So, I’m excited that we’re talking about doing more of this.

And, we wanted to get your opinion on that as well. General, I gotta give you a personal invitation from our founder, David Barton, because I know you’re in New Braunfels, Texas. Which, you’re in the great state of Texas as we are, up in Aledo, Texas.

We have that incredible library that now your letter’s in. But, you’d probably enjoy seeing some of those Founding Fathers letters as well. So, someday we’d love to give you a tour of our museum.

GENERAL CHARLIE DUKE:

Well, we’d love to do that. I haven’t seen David lately; but, we were on several programs and in several venues together.

RICK:

Yes.

GENERAL CHARLIE DUKE:

I really support your work. He’s a tremendous patriot that inspires so many people about the history of America.

RICK:

Well, thank you sir. Well, we sure appreciate your time today and would love to have you back again soon.

GENERAL CHARLIE DUKE:

Well, I hope so. Just give me a call, Rick. God bless you; thank you.

RICK:

Thank you, General. God bless you. Stay with us, folks; we’ll be right back with David and Tim Barton.

Share a veteran’s story

We Want To Hear Your Vet Story

Rick:

Hey friends! If you have been listening to WallBuilders Live for very long at all,  how much we respect our veterans and how appreciative we are of the sacrifice they make to make our freedoms possible. One of the ways that we love to honor those veterans is to tell their stories here on WallBuilders Live.  Once in awhile, we get an opportunity to interview veterans that have served on those front lines that have made incredible sacrifices have amazing stories that we want to share with the American people.

One of the very special things we get to do is interview World War II veterans. You’ve heard those interviews here on WallBuilders Live, from folks that were in the Band of Brothers, to folks like Edgar Harrell that survived the Indianapolis to so many other great stories you heard on WallBuilders Live.

You have friends and family that also served.  If you have World War II veterans in your family that you would like to have their story shared here on WallBuilders Live, please e-mail us at [email protected]  Give us a brief summary of the story and we’ll set up an interview. Thanks so much for sharing here on WallBuilders Live!

RICK:

We’re back now live. Thanks for staying with us and very special thanks to Charlie Duke for joining us today. Wow!

What a cool thing to have an actual moonwalker, an astronaut, on our program, especially to hear about his incredible faith. We’re back with David and Tim Barton. Guys, that was that was just really cool to hear his faith, the story of he and his wife. I mean, all the things you typically don’t get when you just watch these guys on the news and that sort of thing. This was fun.

DAVID:

Well, listen to his story. I really, in listening to it, was struck in a very profound way by a comment he made. Because, you asked him, “What do you do after you’ve walked on the moon?”

What Now?

And, he said, “That was trouble for a lot of us moonwalkers;” this is what he said, “What are you going to do now? The drive that took me to the moon was still there. But, what now?”

I thought That is a great question for every one of us: what now? What are you going to do now? You know, I don’t know what drives each of us; but, he reached a pinnacle that only 12 guys have ever reached, and the youngest to do it.

But, I thought that was a profound question to help direct the purpose of your life. When he started asking that “what now” question, “What am I going to do now?” that’s when God opened up a new world to him.

And, you went through all the stuff he’s doing, all the places he’s speaking. He, his wife, and daughter, all the stuff they do. But, I thought that was such a good question for every one of us to ask ourselves: what now?

What can I do to grow and move past where I am right now? That’s just a great life question.

TIM:

Well,  one of the things that he also pointed out is that he really didn’t have peace until he found Christ. Which I think also is so significant, because we can strive so hard in life trying to find the answers; and, sometimes we’re trying to fill the void with the wrong things and never find what we are looking for. As a Christian, this is absolutely part of my faith and belief: you’re only going to find that completion in Christ.

In fact, one of the things that Paul wrote in Colossians to the Church in Colossae was, “You are complete through your union with Christ.” What he’s explaining to believers is that this is where your completion comes, Christ. So, he finds peace through Christ.

Clean Energy

But, one of the things he said I thought was so interesting, is related to clean energy. And, when he talked about his friend who was on Apollo 17, this scientist-kind-of guy, who said, “We should we actually do some research on the moon and what’s up there. I think we can make some clean energy from this.”

DAVID:

Yes, he called it “Helium-3.” You know, we can make nuclear power with no nuclear waste and have a base on the moon. And, I go, “Oh my gosh.”

TIM:

Well, right. The idea that we can take from the helium-3–whatever this is up there, because I have no idea what the science is behind this. I’ve never been there and don’t know what that’s about right.

But, how cool would this be? As we have a culture that’s in the era of the Green New Deal and wants to go green with windmills, recycling. I’m totally in favor of Let’s be good stewards and take care of the planet. But, I also recognize that so much of what’s being promoted is a sham.

To say, “Wait a second; there might actually be something out there that scientifically, we might be able to take and do something;” this is so cool and is where I would totally get behind. Hey, I support his idea of space force. You know; what can we do?

Is This the Role of Government?

This is awesome. Now, we might talk about Is this really the role of government, or should it be privatized? That’s a different conversation.

But, nonetheless, some very cool things and very cool to hear from him. I do hope one day he does make it up here to the library. Would love to have him; and, as much as  he might enjoy seeing some stuff we have, I just want to hear him tell stories.

He would probably have some amazing stories to tell. But, very cool interview. I think my favorite part is him identifying where he really found peace wasn’t it all the things he did. He didn’t find completion in everything he did; it was really when he came to Christ, which is absolutely the message and hope of the Gospel.

It was so cool to hear from a guy like this.

Apollo 16 Moonwalker Shares How His Faith Grew After The Mission

RICK:

It’s a great honor to have him on the program. And, as you said, just to get to hear his faith as well. You can learn more about him at CharlieDuke.com; It’s the website: CharlieDuke.com.

We’ll have a link today at WallBuildersLive.com to make it easy for you. By the way, he’s got some incredible pictures and other things on the website available to you. There’s a really cool image of the earth, him on the moon, all kinds of cool stuff.

So, check that out at CharlieDuke.com. Thanks again to General Duke for joining us here on WallBuilders Live! today. We certainly appreciate you joining us and listening to the program.

We’d also ask you, as a listener, to become a supporter of the program. This is a listener- supported program. So, that’s how the program actually happens; it’s what makes it possible for us to broadcast across the nation and to have folks like you learning, being equipped, and inspired to be a better citizen and do your part to help preserve our nation.

So, if you’d like to expand that and allow for other people to do the exact same thing, you can do that by going to our website today, WallBuildersLive.com. Click on that donate button; make a one-time or monthly donation. We really appreciate your support.

Thanks so much for listening. You’ve been listening to WallBuilders Live!