“Christopher Columbus, Charles Lindbergh, and Neil Armstrong. Ha, ha, ha. Neil Armstrong!”*
Born in 1930 in Ohio, educated at Purdue University, he became a Navy combat pilot. Enemy fire crippled his plane, and he clipped a pole with his wing at an altitude of twenty feet. He was able to fly to safety and eject successfully. He later flew a number of test aircraft, including the X-15, which was capable of speeds in excess of four thousand miles per hour. Selected as a NASA astronaut, he completed the first docking of independent spacecraft on Gemini 8. That mission terminated early due to a short-circuiting thruster that caused his vehicle to tumble dizzily. Commanding Apollo 11, he set the Lunar Module on the Moon’s surface with a negligible amount of fuel left, barely enough to give him and co-pilot Buzz Aldrin a safety margin in the event of an aborted landing attempt.