The late Joyce W. Milkie reported on many things during decades as a reporter for The Times and Democrat: major events, interesting places and noteworthy people. On July 16, 1969, as Apollo 11 was preparing to depart Earth for man’s first landing on the moon, she told The T&D audience something that we often comment on to this day: There seems always to be an Orangeburg connection to major events. There certainly was to the Apollo 11 mission.
As Milkie reported in 1969:
“When the Apollo lifts off today, Orangeburg will have a stake in it, because an Orangeburg-born and -bred young man, a graduate of Orangeburg High School, will have been very much involved in the entire program.
“Marion D. Edwards II, son of Mr. and Mrs. D. Edwards Sr. of Orangeburg, has been with the NASA program for 13 years and is now Chief of Launch Instrumentation Systems Div., L.V.O. (Launch Vehicle Operation).
“Edwards, a graduate of the University of South Carolina, his wife, and two children, David, 11, and Cindy, 7, live in Rockledge, minutes away from his work.
“What kind of a man handles this kind of job? Do you handle him with kid gloves?
“’Oh, no!" Mrs. Edwards, the former Patsy Crosland, said emphatically. "He is a very cool and calm, and easygoing person.’
“Mrs. Edwards, the daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Edward Crosland, said her husband doesn't bring his work home. She does find she must share him with the telephone, though.
“’People call him continually,’ she said, ‘asking him for decisions. He has a great deal of responsibility, and must make many decisions.’
“The Edwardses met in school. They were good friends during high school and on into college. Mrs. Edwards also attended the university, taking a secretarial course.
“Following graduation, the Edwardses, now married, went to Huntsville, Ala., for two months. They received security clearance and then went to Cape Kennedy, where they have remained ever since.
“They know the astronauts, although they were closer to the original seven.
“Now the main emphasis on the space training program is in Houston, and Edwards' job is with the missile itself, the Saturn V. He has nothing to do with the spacecraft. The present astronauts spend most of their time in Houston.
“According to his wife and to friends who have known him for years, Edwards is a cool, calm, self-contained man. He is ‘reserved’ and if he gets in a flap occasionally, nobody ever knows it but himself.
“’He is dedicated and confident,’ Mrs. Edwards said. ‘He is relaxed and doesn't get upset like I do.’”