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Neil A. Armstrong

Hall of Fame Class of /Taxonomy/Topics/All Topics/Department Of Veterans Services/Hall of Fame/Honorees/1993

Neil A. Armstrong

Armstong fell in love with flying at the age of 2 when his father took him to the Cleveland Air Races. The Eagle Scout would learn to fly at the Wapakoneta airfield, earning his flight certificate on his 16th birthday, before even getting his driver's license.   

Armstrong went on to serve during the Korean War as a Navy fighter pilot, flying 78 missions and earning two gold stars, the Air Medal for combat and other awards.  After the war, he served in the Naval Reserve for eight years before returning to college to finish his degree.

Following graduation, Armstrong became an experimental research test pilot at the Lewis Flight Propulsion Laboratory in Cleveland before moving to Edwards Air Force Base in California. As a NASA civilian test pilot, he was ineligible to become one of its Mercury 7 astronauts, as selection was restricted to military test pilots. But Armstrong was selected for NASA’s "New Nine" in 1962.  He flew aboard Gemini 8, performing the first successful docking of two vehicles in space. Armstrong made history again when he became the first person to walk on the moon aboard Apollo 11, delivering the famous words "That's one small step for [a] man, one giant leap for mankind” on July 21, 1969.

Shortly after Apollo 11, Armstrong announced that he did not plan to fly in space again and accepted a teaching position in the Department of Aerospace Engineering at the University of Cincinnati.

Armstrong received many honors and awards, including the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the NASA Distinguished Service Medal and the Congressional Space Medal of Honor.