EL SEGUNDO, Calif. (KABC) -- Buzz Aldrin was the second man to walk on the moon and served 66 combat missions in the U.S. Air Force, retiring as a colonel.
Now he'll be called brigadier general, a new accolade bestowed upon the 93-year-old astronaut to honor his decades of dedication and accomplishments.
A large crowd gathered at the U.S. Space Force's Space Systems Command in El Segundo to honor Aldrin.
"In my own lifetime, man and soon women have gone to the moon and returned safely. I know because I am one of them," said Aldrin. "What I most wish to say is that it is thrilling that I am still here to see NASA sending brave astronauts to circumnavigate the moon next year."
Aldrin served as the lunar module pilot on the Apollo 11 mission in 1969, taking a walk on the moon after Neil Armstrong. He also spent 21 years in the Air Force, flying combat missions in the Korean War and later serving as commandant of the test-pilot school.
Many who were inspired by him say his work plays an important role in space exploration today, supporting the efforts leading to NASA's upcoming mission back to the moon.