Naval Aviator, Test Pilot, Aerospace Engineer, Apollo 11 Astronaut, Neil Armstrong, Dead at 82

Years before voyaging to the moon aboard Apollo 11, Armstrong served his country proudly as a Naval Aviator and test pilot; regularly testing the limits of human courage and physical endurance while inside powerful, rocket-powered planes such as NASA’s blisteringly fast X-15. (Photo: NASA)

One of my all-time favorite childhood heroes, astronaut Neil Armstrong, died today. I was just 9 years old when Armstrong, Michael Collins and Buzz Aldrin journeyed together aboard Apollo 11 to the moon. I can clearly remember watching that and other space missions of the 1960s and ’70s on television, clipping articles about them from the newspaper and reenacting innumerable splashdowns in the bathtub with my GIjOE astronaut and space capsule. I LOVED America’s adventures into outer space. I even remember watching some of the missions in my elementary school classroom in Austin, Texas. The teacher wheeled in a big black and white television set with “AV” painted on the side (remember those?) and we thought it was the most exciting and “high-tech” thing to have a TV in the classroom. Yes! But back to Armstrong…According to the Reuters article announcing his death:

“Armstrong died following complications from heart-bypass surgery he underwent earlier this month, the family said in a statement, just two days after his birthday on August 5.

As commander of the Apollo 11 mission, Armstrong became the first human to set foot on the moon on July 20, 1969. As he stepped on the dusty surface, Armstrong said: ‘That’s one small step for (a) man, one giant leap for mankind.’ Those words endure as one of the best known quotes in the English language.”

My custom-made, 3-figure, Apollo 11 GIjOE astronauts box remains front and center within my collection, commemorating the courage and success of Armstrong, Collins and Aldrin’s famous journey in 1969. (Photo: Mark Otnes)

Bottom Line: Armstrong and Aldrin’s actual time on the moon was very short (only 2 1/2 hours) and the Apollo 11 mission was only one small part of Armstrong’s long and storied career. To learn more about this amazing man, I highly recommend you read the Wikipedia account detailing his many accomplishments found HERE. God Speed, Commander Armstrong!

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One thought on “Naval Aviator, Test Pilot, Aerospace Engineer, Apollo 11 Astronaut, Neil Armstrong, Dead at 82

  1. kneonknight says:

    I remember watching the entire telecast of the moon landing, and when it was over rushing outside to stare up at the moon which now seemed a part of my own backyard, rather than an unattainable, mysterious orb in the night sky. No matter what else may be achieved in the field of space travel, this event will never be equalled. Thank you,Commander Armstrong, for the single most memorable event of my life, and for opening the door to the stars for all mankind

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