Few aviation notables are as instantly recognizable or revered as Neil Armstrong, who grew up as an Ohio native captivated by the feats of the Wright brothers. The soft-spoken man who would go on to take that “one small step” became enthralled with aviation at a young age, experiencing his first airplane ride in a Ford Trimotor when he was six years old. He went on to get his pilot’s license at the age of only 15, before he even had his driver’s license. He served as a U.S. Navy pilot during the Korean War and later as a test pilot, manning such high-speed aircraft as the Bell X-1B and the X-15. Armstrong was officially moved to astronaut status in 1962 and made his first space flight as the commanding pilot of Gemini 8 in 1966. He would make his most memorable achievement a little more than three years later, as hundreds of millions of people around the world raptly watched the live footage as he became the first man ever to step foot on another world. As incredible and stunning as that feat is, perhaps equally compelling is the humility and modesty that marked Armstrong’s demeanor throughout his life. He once said, “I am, and ever will be, a white socks, pocket protector, nerdy engineer,” and he continually credited others for the success of Apollo 11.
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