One of the advantages of the modern-day Space Shuttle is its ability to land at the same place it took off and be reused for a future flight. Before the invention and perfection of this technology, the modules carrying American astronauts in the Apollo, Gemini, and Mercury programs had to splash down in the ocean. This required the mobilization of a large task force of warships to be on standby, ready to pick up the astronauts.
In 1965, NASA and the Navy tasked the Atlantic Fleet to recover Gemini 11 and astronauts Charles "Pete" Conrad and Richard Gordon (more about the mission and its many accomplishments can be read here at NASA's website). Shown here are two images of the ship's company of the Norfolk-based USS La Salle (LPD-3/AGF-3) rehearsing the recovery of a Gemini space craft off the coast of Ascension Island.