Talk about irony...or was it destiny? Buzz Aldrin was a Jersey boy born in 1930. He grew up in New Jersey and graduated a year early from high school taking him straight to West Point where he graduated third in his class with a BS in mechanical engineering.
He joined the Air Force and flew F86 Sabre Jets in 66 combat missions in the Korean War. He was decorated with the Distinguished Flying Cross for his work in Korea. He did a tour of duty in Germany flying F100s and then returned to the U.S. where he got his Doctorate of Science in Astronautics at MIT.
He wrote his thesis on Manned Orbital Rendezvous. He was well chosen by NASA in 1963 into the third group of astronauts and the only one with a doctorate. This is where we all know him from, of course.
Ironically, Aldrin's mother was named Marion Moon! He then was chosen by NASA to become an astronaut and one of the first two people to ever set foot on the moon. Aldrin was a pivotal piece in NASA's space program. He came up with the idea of using underwater training as a substitute for zero-gravity flights and the docking and rendezvous techniques he made for the spacecraft and lunar orbit were critical in the success of the Gemini and Apollo programs. His techniques are still used by NASA today.