Donna Duperron attended the promotion ceremony for retired U.S. Air Force Colonel Buzz Aldrin last Friday. Lieutenant General Michael A. Guetlein, Commander, Space Systems Command presided over the promotion of Colonel Adrin to the rank of Brigadier General in the United States Air Force.

Aldrin is an American Former astronaut, engineer, and fighter pilot.  He made three spacewalks as pilot of the 1966 Gemini 12 mission.  As the Lunar Module Eagle pilot on the 1969 Apollo 11 mission, he and mission commander Neil Armstrong were the first two people to land on the moon.

As two F18’s completed a fly over, Lieutenant General Guetlein welcomed guests and spoke about the significance of the day.  Congressional representative Ken Calvert, 41st District, said Aldrin has dedicated his life to causes greater than himself and provided a timeline of Aldrin’s accomplishments while Secretary of the Air Force, Hank Kendall, spoke about Aldrin being an inspiration to him throughout his life.

Aldrin’s first space flight was in 1966 on Gemini 12.  Three years later, he set foot on the Moon, July 21, 1969, nineteen minutes after Neil Armstrong first touched the surface, while command module pilot Michael Collins remained in lunar orbit. Apollo 11 effectively proved U.S. victory in the Space Race by fulfilling a national goal proposed in 1961 by President John F. Kennedy “of landing a man on the Moon and returning him safely to the Earth” before the end of the decade.

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