Hangin' with Buzz

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Roger Smith
TRF Sponsor
Jan 18, 2009
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That's me with my buddy, Buzz Aldrin .... :)

I had the pleasure of talking with him for about five minutes last Friday night. He did most of the talking. I was mostly tongue-tied. All I was thinking was "you're Buzz Aldrin." I'm sure he already knew that.

I was seven when my mother woke me up, at what I thought was the middle of the night, to "see men walking on the moon." My reply was "Aw, Mom. I've seen that."

Buzz and his accomplishments have been a part of my life as long as I can remember. So, I was thrilled to have the opportunity to meet him. He was friendly and appeared to enjoy talking with me even though I was having problems forming the simpliest of sentences.

After I got up, my wife asked Dr. Aldrin for an autograph. He explained why he doesn't sign autographs in public. Then he asked about her accent and they ended up talking about Israel for about fifteen minutes.

-- Roger
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Lucky you Roger! :D I would probably be the same way, all tongue tied! Making the truly intelligent sounds of 'ummm, errr, ahhh, ohhhh, mmmmm'....:roll:
that's really cool, I saw Armstrong at a distance a few months ago as he was on a VIP KSC tour before the last launch. Congrats that is a great picture.
that's really cool, I saw Armstrong at a distance a few months ago as he was on a VIP KSC tour before the last launch. Congrats that is a great picture.

When I saw Armstrong interviewed on TV a while back, I was excited to see that he was at KSC and I was probably only thirty or forty miles away! :)

I've never seen him in person, but Neil Armstrong was on the board of the company I used to work for, Veridian. He gave speeches at company events. Unfortunately, not at any meeting that I was ever invited to. But, I knew several co-workers that had the chance to shake hands with Armstrong. So, that's only a couple degrees of separation.

Shuttle astronauts, Sally Ride and Joe Allen were also big-wigs in the company. They each visited our division and, both times, I was out of the office! Sally Ride was here for one of her Sally Ride Science Festivals. I was out of town that weekend - the weekend of the Columbia accident.

But, I've had the pleasure of seeing Ride and Allen in person at different times. Both times were when they were inducted into the Astronaut Hall of Fame. When Ride was inducted, the ceremony was outdoors at KSC and rain poured down on us. I have a photo of myself drenched from head to foot. You'd think with all the excellent meterologists at the Cape, they would have known it would rain!

I saw Allen when he was later inducted in the Hall of Fame. The ceremony was indoors. I think it was John Young who gave a brief speech introducing Allen. Veridian was mentioned a few times in the speech which I thought was cool (even though the company had, by then, been absorbed by General Dynamics).

-- Roger
Nice meeting.

Out of curiousty, what reason did he give?

He said that his wife asked him not to! :)

He explained further that it just gets to be to much of a hassle and he doesn't like disappointing people when has to stop when people are still waiting. But, he was quite accommodating when asked to take a photo or shake his hand.

Of course, this was a situation where he expected to greet people. If he had been out to dinner with his wife, I certainly wouldn't have interrupted his meal to ask for a photo or whatever.

-- Roger
great tie, btw.

Mine? It was the only one I could find in my closet. Fortunately, it matched my shirt. :)

I wore a tie when I got married and I wore one to dine with the astronauts last Friday. There's not very many other occassions for which I'd wear a tie.

-- Roger
I'm glad for you to have had this opportunity.

I got the meet Michael Collins, the command module pilot, about 6 months after the big event. He came into my dad's restaraunt and I was all ga-ga. My dad didn't believe me until he sat down and started talking to me. He was amazed that anyone recognized the guy who didn't get to land.

That was one of the most memorable events of my life at that time.

Mom didn't believe me or dad.
Roger, even though I work at the Cape I didn't even know in advance that the ceremony was happening soon. I envy your meeting with Buzz, I would have been just a stuttering fool.

I have personnally been able to have had worked with 3 Astronauts although at the time they were just Air Force Pilots/Test Engineer working on the same F-15 project I was on.

A few years ago, my oldest son saw one of my few Space Shuttle patches and asked why I had those in particular. Well Joe, these first two held you when you were only two weeks old. We were out celebrating a project milestone in a small restaurant in Tularosa, New Mexico and also showing off our first son to the world.

Those Astronauts were:

Brian Duffy (STS-45 Atlantis, STS-57 Endeavour, STS-72 Endeavour and STS-92 Discovery)

Tom Akers (STS-41 Discovery, STS-49 Endeavour, STS-61 Endeavour and STS-79 Atlantis)

Later I worked with:
Eric Boe (STS-126 Endeavour)