• Links to Oral History Sessions: Weinberg, Michael (August 10, 2018)
  • Conflict(s): Cold War
  • Military Branch & Unit: Navy
  • Theater(s): American
  • Navy Ship: USS Rooks
  • Navy Other: Rooks participated in Mercury-Redstone 3 mission, in which Alan Shepard became the first American in space


Michael Weinberg was born in Paterson, New Jersey on August 22, 1939.  The family history has ties to the textile industry in Paterson, with Mr. Weinberg's grandfather owning a mill.  Mr. Weinberg's father worked as an accountant and, during World War II, worked a second job in a dye factory making uniforms for the war effort.  His parents participated in the renowned Temple Emanuel Choral Society. 

After graduating from Paterson Eastside High School in 1957, Mr. Weinberg enlisted in the U.S. Navy.  He served four years of active duty and two years in the Reserves.  His training consisted of boot camp at Great Lakes, landing party training at Camp Lejeune, and disbursing school in Newport.  Mr. Weinberg served onboard the USS Rooks (DD-804), a Fletcher-class destroyer, based at Newport.  On the crew of the Rooks, Mr. Weinberg worked in the engine room and then as the paymaster.  The crew of the Rooks trained with NASA as a part of rescue operations associated with the Mercury-Redstone 3 mission.  Mr. Weinberg, along with the crew of the Rooks, observed on May 5, 1961 as Alan Shepard became the first American in space, achieving suborbital flight in the Freedom 7

Following his military service, Mr. Weinberg went to the University of Oklahoma for a year and a half.  During his career, Mr. Weinberg worked in men's wear retail and major home appliances.  He is a member of Temple Emanu-El in Edison and is an avid traveler.