Vince Capone oral history interview



Vince Capone oral history interview


Born-digital video recording of an oral history with Vincent "Vince" Capone, Jr. and interviewer Geoff Nunn, recorded as part of The Museum of Flight Oral History Program, February 10, 2017.


Hydrographer and sonar search specialist Vincent “Vince” Capone, Jr. is interviewed about his career in ocean exploration and artifact recovery. The interview focuses in particular on Capone’s involvement in spacecraft recovery efforts. He discusses his experiences with the 2013 search-and-recovery mission of the Apollo 11 F-1 engines, funded by Bezos Expeditions, and also touches on his involvement with the search for the Space Shuttle Columbia’s black box. Topics discussed include his personal and educational background, the logistics of sonar and ROV technology, details about the F-1 recovery mission, and the challenges of search-and-recovery operations.

Table Of Contents

Introduction and interest in undersea exploration -- First dive -- Connection to aviation -- Education Transition to sonar expert -- Plans after graduation -- Undersea searches -- Search for the Space Shuttle Columbia -- Search and recovery of the Apollo F-1 engines -- Differences in two sonars -- Ocean Stalwart -- Identifying potential high-value targets -- Next steps -- Challenges -- Seabed Worker and recovery process -- Recovery of first engine -- Final words -- Re-cap of challenges -- Favorite aircraft -- Apollo 12





1 recording (1 hr., 28 min., 41 sec.) : digital



Bibliographic Citation

The Museum of Flight Oral History Collection/The Museum of Flight




Biographical Text

Vincent “Vince” Capone, Jr. is a hydrographer and sonar search specialist who has participated in the recovery of multiple artifacts, including air and spacecraft. He was born to Vincent J. Capone, Sr. and his wife in Camden, New Jersey in 1959. He first became interested in undersea exploration in grade school and learned to scuba dive in high school. In 1982, Capone graduated from Fairleigh Dickinson University with a bachelor’s degree in marine biology. His studies included a semester of Coral Reef Ecology at the school’s former West Indies Laboratory in the U.S. Virgin Islands. During college, he also worked for RCA, which further cultivated his interest in electronics. In 1986, Capone received a master’s degree in marine science and experimental statistics from Louisiana State University.

An expert in side-scan sonar search operations and sonar image analysis, Capone has participated in several specialized underwater search-and-recovery operations around the world. In 1990, he participated in the discovery of an eighteenth-century warship in Lake George, New York. In 2003, he assisted with debris search operations for the Space Shuttle Columbia. In 2013, Capone served as the operations manager for the search-and-recovery mission of the Apollo F-1 engines, funded by Bezos Expeditions.

During his professional career, Capone has worked for Kaselaan & D’Angelo Associates (Haddon Heights, New Jersey), Oceaneering (Falls Church, Virginia), and Enviroscan, Inc. (Lancaster, Pennsylvania). He also founded Marine Search & Survey in 1990. Since 2008, Capone has worked for Black Laser Learning, a maritime technology training company in Hockessin, Delaware. His clients have included the U.S., Australian, and Singapore Navies, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.

Biographical information derived from interview, the Black Laser Learning, Inc. webpage (, and additional information provided by interviewee.

Black Laser Learning, Inc. (accessed September 9, 2019).