Nearly 41 years after Neil Armstrong first set foot on the Moon, he has finally received a pair of Naval Astronaut Wings.
In a ceremony on-board the USS Eisenhower (accompanied by fellow Astronauts Jim Lovell and Gene Cernan) Armstrong was presented with a pair of rare Naval Astronaut wings by Captain Dee Mewbourne (CO CVN-69) and Capt Roy Kelley (CAG-7).
"I take these wings with great pleasure and great pride," said Armstrong. "I have made certain achievements in my life and been recognized many times, but, there is no achievement I value more highly then when I received the wings of gold [for naval aviation]; to be given a second pair of gold wings is just as special."
..."I have learned so much throughout my career and I owe a tremendous amount to the Navy,"
Neil and his fellow Astronauts were on-board "IKE" as part of the "Legends of Aerospace" Tour sponsored by Morale Entertainment. But the idea of presenting Armstrong with the wings was not a spur of the moment idea.
Prior to the IKE visit, in a conversation with Capt. (Ret.) Edward F. Bronson, Armstrong, who served as a naval aviator from 1949 to 1952, mentioned he never received a pair Naval Astronaut Wings. The wings were not authorized prior to 1961 when they were first presented to Cmdr. Alan Shepard Jr.
Word quickly reached Vice Adm. Thomas Kilcline, Commander, Naval Air Forces, and through a series of e-mails between Commander, Naval Air Forces Atlantic and Commander, U.S. Naval Forces Central Command, it was determined that it would be a fitting tribute to present Armstrong with a pair of Naval Astronaut Wings at sea aboard an aircraft carrier.
Indeed it is... and long overdue.
(HT- Ken Schoeni)
Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Gina K. Wollman