Buzz Aldrin in front of Thunderbirds F-16


By Dario Leone
Apr 5 2017
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In 1969 Buzz Aldrin broke barriers and he set foot on the Moon

On Apr. 2, 2017 retired Air Force Col. and astronaut Buzz Aldrin flew in an F-16 belonging to the U.S. Air Force Air Demonstration Squadron, the Thunderbirds and took part in the diamond formation fly by over Launch Complex 39A at the Kennedy Space Center, Cape Canaveral, Florida.

Edwin Eugene “Buzz” Aldrin Jr., who is often remembered only as the Lunar Module Pilot on Apollo 11, served as U.S. Air Force (USAF) fighter pilot during the Korean War. He flew 66 combat missions in F-86 Sabres, shot down two Mikoyan-Gurevich MiG-15 aircraft and Jun. 8, 1953, issue of Life magazine featured gun camera photos taken by Aldrin of one of the Soviet pilots ejecting from his damaged aircraft.

After the war, Aldrin was assigned as an aerial gunnery instructor at Nellis Air Force Base (AFB), Nevada, and next was an aide to the dean of faculty at the USAF Academy, which had recently begun operations in 1955. That same year, he graduated from the Squadron Officer School at Maxwell AFB in Alabama.

He flew F-100 Super Sabres as a flight commander at Bitburg Air Base, West Germany, in the 22d Fighter Squadron (FS).

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Aldrin was selected as a member of the third group of NASA astronauts in Oct. 1963.

He flew as pilot on Gemini 12, the last Gemini mission, where he set a record for extravehicular activity (EVA), demonstrating that astronauts could work outside spacecraft.

In 1969 Aldrin broke barriers and he set foot on the Moon at 03:15:16 on Jul. 21, 1969 (UTC), following Apollo 11 commander Neil Armstrong.

Photo credit: U.S. Air Force

Artwork courtesy of

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Dario Leone

Dario Leone

Dario Leone is an aviation, defense and military writer. He is the Founder and Editor of “The Aviation Geek Club” one of the world’s most read military aviation blogs. His writing has appeared in The National Interest and other news media. He has reported from Europe and flown Super Puma and Cougar helicopters with the Swiss Air Force.
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