Dr. Edwin E. Aldrin now has an additional honorific to add to his list of accomplishments: that of Brigadier General.
The Apollo 11 lunar module pilot, Ph.D. aerospace engineer and colonel in the U.S. Air Force received a promotionon May 5, 2023 to the honorary rank of brigadier general — or one-star officer — during a May 5 ceremony at Los Angeles Air Force Base in California. Lt. Gen. Michael Guetlein, commander of Space Systems Command, presided over the event, which came more than 50 years after Aldrin retired from the Air Force, following 21 years of service.
In addition to being promoted to a one-star in the Air Force, Brig. Gen. Aldrin [was] made an Honorary Space Force Guardian,” said Michael Guetlein, commander of Space Systems Command. “He has lived a life epitomizing the Space Force Guardian values of character, connection, commitment and courage.”
To the best information available to this reporter, this makes General Aldrin the first actual astronaut in the new Space Force.
In 1969, Dr. Aldrin became the second human being to set foot on the moon. In the 21st century, we take it for granted that astronauts will possess one or more doctorates (Sally Ride, Shannon Lucid, Christopher Williams, etc.) but in the early days of the space program most astronauts were test pilots and/or combat pilots. Aldrin was the first astronaut to earn a doctorate.
He earned his Doctor of Science degree from Massachusetts Institute of Technology before being selected for the Gemini 12 mission. His colleagues nicknamed him Dr. Rendezvous because his doctoral dissertation was on Line-of-Sight Guidance Techniques for Manned Orbital Rendezvous.
In addition to various scientific papers, General Aldrin has written two autobiographies, Return to Earth, and Magnificent Desolation.
Dr. Aldrin spent nearly 90 hours in space, of which almost 8 hours was EVA (extravehicular activity).
His many awards and honors include: the Air Force Distinguished Service Medal, the Distinguished Flying Cross, the Air Medal, the Congressiional Gold Medal, the Prersidential Medal of Freedom, the NASA Distinguished Service Medal, the NASA Exceptional Service Medal,the Stephen Hawking Medal for cience Communication, and the Explorers Club 50 People Changing the World List.
Dr. Aldrin spent most of his adult life wearing his country’s uniform. He graduated from West Point in 1951 and served as a fighter pilot in the Korean War, earning several medals. He is the oldest person to have visited the South Pole.
Aldrin retired from the Air Force as a colonel in 1972, after 21years of service.
We salute General Aldrin and his contributions to Science and Space Exploration. One man can change the world.
Susan Macdonald is the author of the children’s book “R is for Renaissance Faire”, as well as 26 short stories, mostly fantasy in “Alternative Truths”, “Swords and Sorceress #30”, Swords &Sorceries Vols. 1, 2, & 5, “Cat Tails” “Under Western Stars”, and “Knee-High Drummond and the Durango Kid”. Her articles have appeared on SCIFI.radio’s web site, in The Inquisitr, and in The Millington Star. She enjoys Renaissance Faires (see book above), science fiction conventions, Highland Games, and Native American pow-wows.