The Third Guy

by Tim Benjamin

a11portraitOn the fortieth anniversary of the Apollo Moon Landing, a question came to mind as I watched the coverage of the historical event on the news and the History Channel: “Who is the third guy?”

The History Channel had a special entitled “Live from 1969: News coverage of the moon landing” in which I had roamed across a few minutes into it as I heard the news commentator speaking live over video transmissions from the moon in 1969.

apollo11footage The special had the live feed from a mounted TV cam off a leg of the Lunar Module showing Mission Commander Neil Alden Armstrong stepping down the ladder and was just bouncing off his first step on the moon surface and the news anchor had said as I just turned the sound on, “-what was that he  said?  I didn’t hear the second part to his statement.  I am sure it was important so I’ll have to hear that part again later.”

hasselbladThe History Channel Special continued as Lunar Module Pilot Edwin Eugene ‘Buzz’ Aldrin, Jr.stepped down and was told by Armstrong to watch that last step.

371479main_image_1422_946-710During the days of the Lunar Landing Anniversary, the news showed President Barack Obama chats with Apollo 11 astronauts, from left, Buzz Aldrin, Michael Collins and Neil Armstrong, Monday, July 20, 2009, in the Oval Office of the White House in Washington, on the 40th anniversary of the Apollo 11 lunar landing. (2) While watching this coverage, I thought of two things.

340x_snoopandbuzzThe first is that Buzz Aldrin stated once in jest that he will forever be remembered as the second guy to walk on the moon.  Not so well known about Aldrin is that he collaborated with singer Snoop Dogg on his second love, hip hop (3).

The second thought was, “WHo is the third guy?”  In the history of mankind, we will forever remember the first man on the moon was Niel Armstrong and the second guy on the moon was “Buzz” Aldrin, but how many of us can remember who the third guy was.

200px-Michael_collinsWell, I will state that I will try to remember that there was a third man that helped the two famous guys be the first on the moon.  Michael Collins was the man and went into space twice. Two more than I and Walter Cronkite.  His first spaceflight was Gemini 10, when he and command pilot John W. Young performed two rendezvous with different spacecraft and Collins undertook two EVAs.  His second spaceflight was Apollo 11 where he served as the command module pilot. While he orbited the Moon, Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin performed the first manned landing on the lunar surface. He is one of only 24 humans to have flown to the Moon (1).

(1) Wikapedia Page on the Landing

(2) Official Nasa Web Page