Buzz Aldrin was born in New Jersey, the son of a military man. He was offered a full scholarship to MIT but turned it down in favour of attending the US Military Academy at West Point. He graduated in 1951 with a Bachelor of Science in mechanical engineering. He was commissioned to the US Air Force, where he was Second Lieutenant and flew 66 missions as a jet fighter pilot during the Korean War. After the war he became aide to the dean for the US Air Force Academy. During this same time he gained his Sc.D in Astronautics from MIT. In 1963 he was hired by NASA, where he distinguished himself as a quick thinker and capable pilot. On 20 July 1969 he became the second man to walk on the Moon, following fellow Apollo 11 astronaut Neil Armstrong. He was the first man to hold a religious ceremony on the Moon, performing Communion there.
Armstrong retired in March of 1972 after 21 years of active service. During this time he suffered depression and alcoholism, which he would battle throughout his life. After his retirement he has been a critic of the current goals and choices of NASA. In 2002 he was confronted by Bart Sibrel, a man who claims that the Apollo 11 landing was a hoax. Buzz Aldrin punched him in the face.