2007-09-05 / Front Page

Jay Barbree recounts 50 years at the Cape

Twenty eight years ago Blakely native Mitch Clark decided he was going to be a journalist while watching coverage of the first moon landing and Neil Armstrong's proclamation, "That's one small step for man, one giant leap for mankind."

He's now a good journalist for the

Gainesville Times and readers catch his columns most weeks in the Early County News.

Twelve years earlier, another Blakely native, Alicia Collier's brother, Jay Barbree, was already in radio and TV when the Soviet Union launched the world's first man-made satel- litein 1957. After filing reports about Sputnik from WALB in Albany where he was working at the time, Barbree was hooked on space exploration, and four months later was a Cape Canaveral correspondent for NBC.

Fifty years later, and still an active NBC correspondent, he's written a book about his coverage of America's space program, "Live from Cape Canaveral," which was released over the Labor Day.

Barbree has been present at every manned launch. In fact, he is the only correspondent which has covered every manned launch out of Cape Canaveral - all 150.

"There are an awful lot of guys who were here for the early days, and they're no longer here," Barbree, 73, said in an AP feature story over the weekend.

Barbree still lives near the space center with his wife of 47 years, Jo. He intends to keep covering shuttle missions until the last one in 2010 and hopes to be around when astronauts blast off again to the moon, supposedly sometime in the next decade.

He plans to be in Blakely Oct. 12 for a book signing at Three Diamonds on Court Square.

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