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CNN LIVE EVENT/SPECIAL

Interview With Michael Anderson's Friend, Lt. Col. Derek Green

Aired February 4, 2003 - 14:48   ET

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.

JUDY WOODRUFF, CNN ANCHOR: 1998, that was the year that Michael Anderson went up in space for the first time. His ride was aboard the shuttle Endeavor that took him to the Russian space station Mir. Aboard Columbia, he was the payload commander. Here with me now, someone who knew him well, Anderson's longtime friend, Lieutenant Colonel Derek Green.
Colonel Green, any comfort -- were you able to take any comfort from today's ceremony?

LT. COL. DEREK GREEN, FRIEND OF MICHAEL ANDERSON: Yes, I was, actually. I kept reflecting on how accurate the president's words were about Mike. He's a very strong Christian and being saved, I know he's resting with the Lord now so that really all the pain I feel right now is my own, and it's selfish for the loss I suffer. So, that's really the comfort I rest in.

WOODRUFF: When you think of Michael Anderson, what do you think of?

GREEN: Very -- probably the clearest, sharpest thinker I've ever known. Very intelligent, very professional, a quick study. An avid aviator, a terrific father to his children, and a great friend to me.

WOODRUFF: He went up in space once before, we mentioned on the shuttle Endeavour up to -- actually, it was mission to provide some assistance to Mir, the space station, that had been having a lot of difficulty. And he came away from that mission, I gather, saying he really admired the persistence of those cosmonauts. Tell us a little about that.

GREEN: Mike was -- he was always very impressed with the Russian space program and the cosmonauts. He always thought they were very technically advanced, and they studied their craft very well. A lot of people look at the facilities over in Russia versus the facilities over here, and the training facilities, and Mike would always say that the way the Russians studied and learned their craft, that he was sure if they went to Radio Shack and bought all the parts, they could put a spacecraft together themselves. So, he was very impressed with their space program.

WALLACE: How fully aware was Colonel Anderson, your friend, of the risks involved here?

GREEN: Oh, he was -- he was always -- he was aware of it. But it's one of those things that, as an aviator and as a pilot, you -- you always assess those risks, and you weigh them, and he always came out with the benefits far outweigh the risks, so he never thought a second time about going into space.

WOODRUFF: Well, he was an extraordinarily courageous man. Lieutenant Colonel Derek Green, and I'm sorry we -- just at the last moment -- there you are back. We want to thank you so much for talking to us on what we know is an incredibly difficult day for you, and everyone who knew Colonel Anderson. Thanks again.

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