Apollo 11: She was the 'mom' in the VAB inspectors office

If you've heard the saying behind every great man, there's a woman, Betty Coiner would agree.

In 1969, she was inside Rocket Quality Control.  She worked inside the VAB (vehicle assembly building) for NASA. In the office that oversaw the Saturn 5 rocket.

"I had a total of 13 years with NASA, but I worked with that crazy, lovable bunch for nine of those years," Coiner said, as she ruminated on the 50th anniversary of Man Landing on the Moon.

Coiner had a bouffant hair-do, impeccable organization skills, and a friendly phone voice.

"One day, another secretary called -- I don't even remember what it was about -- but I called her 'honey,' and she said, don't you call me 'honey,' well I'm sorry, but this is the south and this is what we do in the south," Coiner said.

Coiner says her job was to keep the men on schedule. She worked long hours, dealing with the rigorous safety inspects of the giant rocket that Apollo 11 rode on. Coiner says after launch, her team was elated, but they still worried about the crew.

"And if they couldn't get off the moon, then Michael Collins would have left them and come back and how awful that would've been for him." Coiner said.

When all three Apollo 11 astronauts returned to earth, they went on a whirl-wind victory tour, after that, Coiner says they visited with her co-workers.

"They came back to the VAB in particular, because that, you know, that's where everything was stacked, that's where all the action was, and we would form an aisle, and they would come down and shake hands." Coiner said.

Coiner was 47 at that time; she's now 97. She says the inspectors on her floor became her sons.  

"I was the only woman with 58 men," Coiner said. "I mothered them, because I cared about each and every one of them, and what NASA did was wonderful."