Astronaut - Eagle Scout Neil Alden Armstrong
August 5, 1930 – August 25, 2012
Armstrong was active in the Boy Scouts and he eventually earned the rank of Eagle Scout. As an adult, he was recognized by the Boy Scouts of America with its Distinguished Eagle Scout Award and Silver Buffalo Award. On July 18, 1969, while flying towards the Moon inside the Columbia, he greeted the Scouts: "I'd like to say hello to all my fellow Scouts and Scouters at Farragut State Park in Idaho having a National Jamboree there this week; and Apollo 11 would like to send them best wishes". Houston replied: "Thank you, Apollo 11. I'm sure that, if they didn't hear that, they'll get the word through the news. Certainly appreciate that."
On August 16, 1950, two weeks after his 20th birthday, Neil Armstrong was informed by letter that he was a fully qualified Naval Aviator.
His first assignment was to Fleet Aircraft Service Squadron 7 at NAS San Diego (now known as NAS North Island). Two months later he was assigned to Fighter Squadron 51 (VF-51), an all-jet squadron, and made his first flight in a jet, an F9F-2B Panther, on January 5, 1951
Armstrong first saw action in the Korean War on August 29, 1951, as an escort for a photo reconnaissance plane over Songjin. Five days later on September 3, he flew armed reconnaissance over the primary transportation and storage facilities south of the village of Majon-ni, west of Wonsan. While making a low bombing run at about 350 mph, Armstrong's F9F Panther was hit by anti-aircraft fire. While trying to regain control, he collided with a pole at a height of about 20 feet, which sliced off about three feet of the Panther's right wing. Armstrong flew the plane back to friendly territory, but due to the loss of the aileron, ejection was his only safe option. He planned to eject over water and await rescue by Navy helicopters, and therefore flew to an airfield near Pohang, but his ejection seat was blown back over land. A jeep driven by a roommate from flight school picked Armstrong up.
Armstrong flew 78 missions over Korea for a total of 121 hours in the air, most of which were in January 1952. He received the Air Medal for 20 combat missions, a Gold Star for the next 20, and the Korean Service Medal and Engagement Star.
As a research pilot, Armstrong served as project pilot on the F-100 Super Sabre A and C variants, F-101 Voodoo, and the Lockheed F-104A Starfighter. He also flew the Bell X-1B, Bell X-5, North American X-15, F-105 Thunderchief, F-106 Delta Dart, B-47 Stratojet, KC-135 Stratotanker, and was one of eight elite pilots involved in the paraglider research vehicle program (Paresev).
Armstrong was involved in several incidents that went down in Edwards folklore and/or were chronicled in the memoirs of colleagues. The first occurred during his sixth X-15 flight on April 20, 1962, while Armstrong tested a self-adjusting control system. He flew to a height of over 207,000 feet, (the highest he flew before Gemini 8), but the aircraft nose was held up up too long during descent and the X-15 bounced off the atmosphere back up to 140,000 feet. At that altitude, the air is so thin that aerodynamic surfaces have almost no effect. He flew past the landing field at Mach 3 (2,000 mph) at over 100,000 feet in altitude, and ended up 40 miles south of Edwards (legend has it that he flew as far as the Rose Bowl in Pasadena). After sufficient descent, he turned back toward the landing area, and barely managed to land without striking Joshua trees at the south end. It was the longest X-15 flight in both time and distance from the ground track. -Source - Wikipedia
May the Great Master of all Scouts be with us till we meet again, Neil.