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Wed, Apr 26, 2023

Buzz Aldrin to be Promoted to USAF Brigadier General

History’s Second Moonwalker Gets a Boost in Rank

Retired U.S. Air Force Colonel Buzz Aldrin—Apollo 11 lunar module pilot and the second man, after Apollo 11 mission commander Neil Armstrong, to walk on Earth’s moon—will receive an honorary appointment to the rank of Brigadier General during a ceremony on 05 May at Los Angeles Air Force Base.

Following a U.S. Space Force press release announcing the promotion, Aldrin, 93, tweeted: “Always honored to serve our country. I will bear true faith and allegiance.” The famed astronaut’s words derived of the oath taken by both the enlisted men and commissioned officers of the U.S. armed services.

Aldrin went on to thank U.S. Congressional Representative Ken Calvert (Republican, California), the USAF, and U.S. Department of Defense for the honor.

The private ceremony will see U.S. Space Force Space Systems Command commander Lieutenant General  Michael A. Guetlein award the promotion to Aldrin, the eldest of the four surviving Apollo moonwalkers.

Born in New Jersey on 20 January 1930, Aldrin is a graduate of the U.S. Military Academy at West Point. From 1952 to 1959, he served as a U.S. fighter pilot, flying F-86 Sabres in 66 combat missions. While assigned to the 16th Fighter-Interceptor Squadron at Suwon Air Base, South Korea, Aldrin shot down two MiG-15s. He also functioned as an F-100 Super Sabre flight commander in the 22nd Fighter Squadron at Bitburg Air Base in Germany.

Aldrin later attended graduate school at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), receiving a doctorate in astronautics. For his doctoral thesis, the future astronaut serendipitously penned a work pertaining to manned orbital rendezvous.

Buzz Aldrin—born Edwin Eugene Aldrin Jr.—was among the 14 individuals chosen in 1963 for NASA’s Astronaut Group 3. He subsequently flew aboard Gemini 12 in 1966, becoming the first man to perform what the Space Force called a “completely successful” spacewalk. Notwithstanding brief 1965 spacewalks by Soviet cosmonaut Alexei Leonov and NASA astronaut Ed White, Aldrin’s Extra-Vehicular Activities (EVA/Spacewalk) spanned a then record 5.5-hours.

During NASA’s Apollo program of the late 1960s and early 1970s, Aldrin earned his places in both the 12-man fraternity of moonwalkers and the annals of human history.

Following a protracted, half-century-plus hiatus, NASA, by dint of its planned Artemis III mission, seeks to reestablish a human presence on Earth’s moon. Were NASA’s schedule to hold, Aldrin would be nearly 96-years-old when Artemis III crew-members set foot on the moon near the lunar south pole in 2025.

Currently, Aldrin holds the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the Air Force Distinguished Service Medal, the Legion of Merit, two Distinguished Flying Crosses, three Air Medals, and numerous additional awards and decorations.

In 2011, the Apollo 11 crew—which comprised Aldrin, Neil Armstrong, and command module pilot Michael Collins—collectively received the Congressional Gold Medal. Aldrin was further honored with a standing ovation during President Donald Trump’s stirring 2019 State of the Union speech in Washington D.C.

On his 93rd birthday, Aldrin married Anca Faur in a small ceremony in Los Angeles.

In 2023, Buzz Aldrin continues to serve NASA, contemporaneously promoting humanity’s imminent return to the moon and the agency’s stated goal of one day landing human beings on Mars.

FMI: www.nasa.gov

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