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Buzz Aldrin: Homecoming

Buzz Aldrin's first flight came at the age of two.

His most famous flight took him to the moon.

And, he trained to become an Air Force fighter pilot, a critical first step to becoming one of the world's most famous "star voyagers," at Bryan Air Force Base.

Aldrin grew up in New Jersey, son to a well-known aviator and Standard Oil executive. He attended West Point and, later, would receive a Ph.D. in astronautics from MIT. In the dedication of his doctoral thesis on Line-of-Sight Guidance Technique for Manned Orbital Rendezvous, Aldrin wrote, "In the hopes that this work may in some way contribute to their exploration of space, this is dedicated to the crew members of this country’s present and future manned space programs. If only I could join them in their exciting endeavors!"

Eventually he did.

Aldrin applied for NASA's second astronaut class, but was rejected given the agency was only selecting test pilots at the time. He resubmitted his name and was chosen as a member of America's third group of astronauts.

He began the aviation journey which would ultimately lead him to space in 1951. After graduation from the U.S. Military Academy at West Point, Aldrin chose the Air Force as his branch of service, specifically to become a fighter pilot. At that time, the Korean War had just begun and Aldrin would eventually serve there, flying more than 70 combat missions and shooting down two Russian MiG enemy aircraft.

Aldrin received his advanced fighter-pilot training at Bryan Air Force Base. His assignment here lasted only three months.

In May 2018, Aldrin returned to the site of Bryan Air Force Base. His tour of the RELLIS Campus came in his capacity as the newly-named chancellor for the International Space University, based in France. 

He reflected on his "homecoming."

 

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