They are his great uncle's
Wiseman, 38, asked
In response, Sweitzer told him he was honored to be asked.
Wiseman will be making the flight aboard a Soyuz spacecraft with
The launch for Expedition 40/41 is scheduled for Wednesday from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in
It will take the spacecraft just under six hours to reach the space station, according to
The crew is scheduled to return to Earth in November.
Sweitzer said he's always had a close relationship with Wiseman, who is his brother's grandson. (His brother, Harold, died at age 70.)
Sweitzer said Wiseman used to call him "Uncle Daddy." Among other things, he helped teach his great nephew how to play golf.
"I was very close to him, and that's why he's doing so much for me," Sweitzer said. "I can't believe the little boy is 38 years old!"
Wiseman first saw the war medals more than a decade ago when Sweitzer and his wife, Sue, were living in
"He never forgot that," Sue said.
Wiseman, a former Naval aviator, was accepted into
Sue promptly shipped them to Wiseman's home in
So, are the war medals on loan to Wiseman or does he get to keep them?
"They are on loan to him," Sue said. "When they come back from space, they go back in Ralph's medals case."
He was injured in the Battle of the Bulge -- a major German offensive in
One of three soldiers in a foxhole, he was the only one to survive an explosion. He was unconscious for several days in a hospital. He had lost hearing in his left ear.
Sweitzer said he came back to America a different man.
"It made me fear every loud noise," he said. "I would hit the ground ... I was neurotic. It took me a long time to realize (back home) I wasn't in a position to be killed."
As Sue said, "They didn't call it post-traumatic stress syndrome back then. They didn't know what it was."
When his stepfather died, Sweitzer took over the family business in
"All of the designs were exactly like it was when we were over there," Ralph said.
On Wednesday afternoon, he and Sue will be watching the launch of Expedition 40/41 on the NASA TV website.
The crew at the space station will participate in several hundred experiments in biology and biotechnology, physical science and Earth science during its monthslong mission.
SITE: Baikonur Cosmodrome in
NASA TV: Available on cable systems and satellite providers, or on the Internet http://www.nasa.gov/multimedia/nasatv
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