America has lost a hero.
Neil Armstrong (82) passed away today.
A Navy pilot, Korean War Vet, and test pilot, Armstrong was best known for being the first man to step foot on the moon. His contributions to our space program were much more.
He was the Command Pilot for Gemini 8 which had the first rendezvous and first ever successful docking between two spacecraft in orbit.
He was the backup Command Pilot for Gemini 11 and Apollo 8.
Incredible accomplishments for someone prone to motion sickness as a child.
On July 21, 1969 he transmitted these words, "I'm going to step off the LEM now.....That's one small step for a man, one giant leap for mankind."
Yes, A man. The 'a' was obscured by static.
In a letter, signed by Apollo veterans Jim Lovell and Gene Cernan, he said, "For The United States, the leading space faring nation for nearly half a century, to be without carriage to low Earth orbit and with no human exploration capability to go beyond Earth orbit for an indeterminate time into the future, destines our nation to become one of second or even third rate stature".
As my friend Stephen wrote, "Twelve men walked on the moon, and there are now eight men still living who have walked on the moon.
Apollo 11: 20 Jul 1969 — Neil Armstrong, Edwin "Buzz" Aldrin
Apollo 12: 19 Nov 1969 — Charles (Pete) Conrad, Alan Bean
Apollo 14: 05 Feb 1971 — Alan Shepard, Edgar Mitchell
Apollo 15: 30 Jul 1971 — James Irwin, David Scott
Apollo 16: 21-23 Apr 1972 — Charles Duke, John Young
Apollo 17: 11-13 Dec 1972 — Harrison Schmitt, Eugene Cernan
Three others have passed away:
Pete Conrad died 07/08/1999
Alan Shepard died 07/21/1998
James Irwin died 08/08/1991
Neil Armstrong died 08/25/2012
Of the living, Buzz Aldrin is the oldest at 82. The youngest Charles Duke, 76."
Armstrong underwent surgery on August 7, 2012, for blocked coronary arteries. He died at 2:45pm on August 25, 2012, at a hospital in Columbus, Ohio, from complications.
Dan Emplit WBFD
USN 1986 - 1992