First Man on the MoonBorn on August 5, 1930 on his grandparents’ farm in Auglaize County, Ohio,Neil Armstrong was the eldest of three children of Stephen and Viola EngelArmstrong. His family moved several times before they settled in Wapakonetawhen Neil was 13. Neil fell in love with airplanes at the age of 6 when he tookhis first flight, in a Ford Tri-Motor “Tin Goose.” He worked at numerous jobsaround town and at the nearby airport so he could start taking flying lessonsat the age of 15 and on his 16th birthday he was issued a pilot's license. Hehadn't even received his automobile license yet. Always fascinated by planes and flying, Armstrong built a small wind tunnelin the basement of his home where he performed experiments on model planes hebuilt. After he graduated from Blume High School in 1947, Neil Armstrong entered Purdue Universitywith a US Navy scholarship. He began work on an aeronautical engineering degree, but in1949, he was called to active duty with the Navy. He won his jet wings atPensacola Naval Air Station in Floridaat the age of 20, the youngest pilot in his squadron. He was sent to Korea in 1950and flew 78 combat missions in Navy Panther jets winning three Air Medals.
Before the war was over, Armstrong returned to Purdue to complete hisbachelor’s degree in aeronautical engineering in 1955. Neil Armstrong joined NACA, (National Advisory Committee for Aeronautics),NASA's predecessor, as a research pilot at the Lewis Laboratory in Clevelandand later transferred to the NACA High Speed Flight Station at Edwards AFB,California. He was a project pilot on many pioneering high speed aircraft,including the 4,000 mph X-15. As a test pilot, Neil Armstrong made 7 flights inthe X-15 aircraft. He was able to attain an altitude of 63,198 meters (207,500feet). In 1962, Armstrong was transferred to astronaut status. He served as commandpilot for the Gemini 8 mission, launched March 16, 1966, and along with DavidScott, performed the first successful docking of two vehicles in space bymating his Gemini 8 with an uninhabited Agena rocket.