West Point classmate of Buzz Aldrin recalls background of the de - FOX34 Lubbock

West Point classmate of Buzz Aldrin recalls background of the decorated astronaut and Apollo 11 mission

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LUBBOCK, Texas -

Fifty years ago, Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin became the first two humans to land on the moon, as part of the Apollo 11 mission. 

Before his career as an astronaut, Aldrin was a decorated student at West Point Academy. 

His bunkmate, Ken Hite, said he remembers Aldrin as one of the nicest people he has ever met. 

He also said he knew from the beginning that Aldrin was destined for greatness, primarily because of how smart he was. 

"Buzz was well known because he was the first or second-ranked academic performer in our class of about 475 people," Hite said.

Both Aldrin and Hite served as fighter pilots in the U.S. Air Force, and Hite said an opportunity came up to join an upstart space program. 

Hite said the ever-ambitious Aldrin accepted it, while he stayed on as a fighter pilot. 

He added he believes he could have been the fourth member on the Apollo 11 mission had he accepted, but he wanted to serve his country in a different way.

"He elected to go into the space program, and I was offered that opportunity, but I suggested that I wanted to become a fighter pilot. I said I think I have another tour or so as a fighter pilot, so I declined the offer," Hite said.

93-year-old Ken Hite went on to serve 28 years as a fighter pilot, and he said he will never forget the moment he saw his long-time friend, Buzz Aldrin, complete his mission and walk on the moon. 

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