Buzz Aldrin Statement about Gene Cernan

Buzz Aldrin Statement about Gene Cernan

Today we lost yet another hero. Gene Cernan and I met for the first time when we were selected for the third group of astronauts in November of 1963. We started our training together in January of 1964 and eventually worked together as the backup crew of Gemini 9. He was a Navy guy and I was Air Force so there was always a friendly dose of ribbing and trying to one up each other that continued to this day.   We had the very interesting task of training together on the maneuvering unit  – a jet pack like George Clooney used in the movie “Gravity”, which was a fascinating project and was quite complicated. Unfortunately, NASA felt it was too risky so we weren’t able to use it during our Gemini missions.


I left NASA before Gene’s mission to the Moon on Apollo 17 but of course followed it closely with the rest of the world. He served the nation extremely well on his mission with Ron Evans and the first scientist astronaut, Jack Schmitt. It was the final mission to the Moon but our hopes had been that we would press forward and eventually be on Mars as the next destination. Unfortunately, that hasn’t happened and Gene is the last person to step foot on another celestial body. He was the last man on the moon and he wasn’t happy about that and continually stressed that he didn’t want to be the last.


Gene was probably the strongest spokesman for astronauts for lunar travel and advocating a return to the moon. He made multiple trips to Washington to give testimony along with Neil Armstrong and Jim Lovell to promote NASA and not losing our pioneering spirit. He wasn’t really a Mars guy like me, but he cared deeply about continuing manned space exploration.


Us astronauts will always remember his cheerful and smiling approach to everything. With the passing of the First Man – Neil Armstrong, and the passing of the Last Man – Gene Cernan, it is up to us Middle Men to carry on spirit of Apollo into the future for our Nation and the world.



  • Iwan Griffiths
    Posted at 13:47h, 17 January

    Mr Cernan was made of the right stuff. He helped us to understand our universe. God speed.

  • Tony lightsaber
    Posted at 13:37h, 17 January

    I am 55 years old. In 1968 when Apollo 8 saw the moon I was 7 years old. In 1972 I had come to know all of the Apollo astronauts because they were my role models when I was young. Like Eugene, Neil,James,Edgar I will miss them but I will not forget them…. Never!

  • Anonymous
    Posted at 13:31h, 17 January

    Very well put on this sad sad day.

  • Rich Moran
    Posted at 12:53h, 17 January

    We’re losing our American heroes much faster than we’re replacing them. Those of us who remember what the manned space program meant to our country in the 60’s appreciate that the few that are left are working hard to keep the dream alive.

  • Constantino Urrutia
    Posted at 12:35h, 17 January

    Yesterday I was watching “The Last Man on the Moon” and thinking about this Hero. Hope He will Rest In Peace.
    CMDR Constantino Urrutia

  • John Eric Statham
    Posted at 12:33h, 17 January

    Lovely words Buzz – he always seemed a gentleman with a heart full of warmth, passion, and eloquence. Where ever he may rest, I’ll always picture him on the Moon wandering around the Valley of Taurus Littrow, taking a few snapshots, chipping away at some rocks, and occasionally looking up and checking that mother Earth is watching over him – salutations Mr Cernan

  • Nathaniel Barber
    Posted at 11:03h, 17 January

    Thanks for this remembrance. My condolences to you, Buzz, and to Gene’s family.

  • Tom
    Posted at 10:58h, 17 January

    May his soul rest in unending peace and happiness. He is an American Hero.

  • Dean
    Posted at 10:54h, 17 January

    Thank you for your insight. I am sorry you lost a friend. I have read almost every book on the Apollo program and yet I feel I can’t get enough. Despite so much technology today, we have (as you have stated) lost our focus on solving big problems. One more thought. I know Jack Schmidt would argue (in fun) about the whole definition of “last man on the moon” with Cernan. It just occurred to me that, following Cernan’s definition, you, Buzz Aldrin, were the First Person to Leave the Moon!

  • Jim Stone
    Posted at 10:39h, 17 January

    We as a nation have lost the vision that such men and women as these personified and continue to personify.
    Those who cannot see passed account books and long to starve gov of resources. The middle-class and the poor will suffer greatly under their next grand plan, “No More Health Care if YOU can’t afford it.” God speed Astronaut Cernan.

  • Jim Stone
    Posted at 10:38h, 17 January

    We as a nation have lost the vision that such men and women as these personified and continue to personify.
    Those who cannot see passed account books and long to starve gov of resources. tThe middle-class and the poor will suffer greatly under their next grand plan, “No More Health Care if YOU can’t afford it.” Bad times coming.

  • Kelli Coyle
    Posted at 10:00h, 17 January

    Well said. Prayers for the Cernan family.

  • Kevin Yeager
    Posted at 09:08h, 17 January

    RIP Gene————You and your team did well and should be proud of your accomplishments. We will miss your push for our country to carry on to explore not only the Moon,but other planets as well.

  • Diego Lopez
    Posted at 09:08h, 17 January

    What an honor it was to shake this man’s hand and hear his cool stories. Fair winds and following seas Sir.

  • Peet
    Posted at 08:47h, 17 January

    “first scientist astronaut, Jack Schmitt” hold on, you got your doctorate in 63 – so weren’t you the first scientist on the Moon!?

  • Victor Ramon Mojica
    Posted at 08:35h, 17 January

    I didn’t know Gene, but I wish I had. R.I.P., Mr. Cernan, and God Speed.

  • Terry
    Posted at 07:48h, 17 January

    As a young boy in the 1960’s these were my hero’s and they shaped my life in many ways, including becoming a pilot. As they each pass away I notice that a part of me passes with them, they contributed so much not only to the country, but the world and at a micro level, every fascinated young person looking for a place in the world and a contribution to make. It is impossible to quantify the value. I can only hope that they are exploring the worlds now that they were unable to tied to this earth and our physical constraints.

  • Jerry T
    Posted at 06:32h, 17 January

    A true pioneer during an exciting and proud era that, unfortunately, it appears we will never see again. Keep pressing for it, Buzz. Godspeed Gene.

  • JP Saleeby, MD
    Posted at 05:31h, 17 January

    Awesome memories. RIP Gene.

  • Jen
    Posted at 05:11h, 17 January

    Very sorry for your loss, Mr. Aldrin—sending you light and love as you deal with the loss of your friend and colleague..

  • Pingback:Astronaut Gene Cernan was the last man on the moon – and 'he wasn’t happy about that' – NewsLocal
    Posted at 04:58h, 17 January

    […] a tribute to his old friend, Aldrin wrote that “Gene was probably the strongest spokesman for lunar travel and advocating a return to the […]

  • PaulFoster
    Posted at 04:05h, 17 January

    it’s really sad that we are losing legends like this year after year. What’s worse is nobody is replacing them, we seem to have lost the passion and will for space exploration that we had in the 60’s. I’m just glad I lived through it and experienced the tremendous excitement and thrill that brave heroes like all you Mercury/Apollo guys gave to us. btw – you’re not a ‘middle man’ you are someone very very precious and special!

    RIP Gene and good health to you Mr Aldrin!

  • jeff crockett
    Posted at 03:43h, 17 January

    Thankyou Sir for your service and I hope to meet you some day.

  • Lawrence Davis
    Posted at 03:29h, 17 January

    Another hero gone to the stars. I looked at the moon this morning and said a big thank you to Gene. Take Care Buzz

  • Marianne
    Posted at 02:48h, 17 January

    Let us hope he will not be the last. That humankind can once again take that first step.

  • Daryle Mattox
    Posted at 02:29h, 17 January

    Thank you, Buzz for your comments and inspiration. Continue to carry the torch for future generations of explorers.

  • Anthony Wallace Cross
    Posted at 01:36h, 17 January

    Thoughts go out to the Family of Gene Cernan R.I.P.
    In the exploration of the Moon and Planets and the dangers involved to all the Hero’s who put their lives on the line, one day we will return to the Moon, but let us learn from this exploration that the only place we can call home is Planet Earth. Let us do all we can to protect and care for this wonderful place called Earth. THANK YOU ALL THOSE SPACE EXPLORERS

    Posted at 01:27h, 17 January

    Très cher Buzz,
    Une nouvelle étoile brille dans le ciel et illumine nos coeurs… Gene est – et sera toujours – une pierre de ce magnifique édifice que vous avez bâti, vous les astronautes.
    Je suis très triste… Aucun mot pour dire ma peine…
    Buzz, merci à vous d’être notre porte-parole: merci de transmettre mes condoléances et mes amitiés à la famille de Gene, et à la NASA
    Bien à vous
    Alain (from France)

  • HarryUSA
    Posted at 01:25h, 17 January

    Thanks to people like you and Gene, the human species moves on to accomplish great things. The space program has inspired people in all walks of life! Thank you!

  • Michael Broemmer
    Posted at 01:22h, 17 January

    My deep condolences to the death of Eugene Cernan. He was for our generation always a model and a hero. He inspired the people of the reality and the dream of the astronautics. With Gemini 9A in 1963, with Apollo 10 in 1969 and with Apollo 17 in 1972 to the Taurus Littrow unforgotten, successful space history has written Gene. In 2013 in the University of Technology in Berlin one could also experience Germany how he inspired the people with his history and vision totally. Rest in peace, the last man of the moon, we will never forget you !

  • Kevin Bittlestone
    Posted at 01:05h, 17 January

    Very well said Buzz. Many of us will feel very sad at his passing today. We should in greater measure celebrate the man and his achievements. Godspeed Gene Cernan.

  • Dan Barrett
    Posted at 23:59h, 16 January

    Well said, you are all great men.

  • Matthew F. Reyes
    Posted at 23:50h, 16 January

    Well said, Buzz. May you continue to be blessed with good health and a strong voice.

    Godspeed Gene Cernan.

  • Torbjorn
    Posted at 23:43h, 16 January

    The most important thing is that he so clearly said he did not want to be the last man on the moon. We need more of that spirit in this world where it is all about I and fame today. If you ever need a marine engineer in space, give me a call and I’ll be the 13th. 🙂

  • Marilyn Hamot Ryan
    Posted at 22:40h, 16 January

    Oh my dear Buzz,
    You just hit the nail on the head again !

    Your observation of the first and last man on the moon brought tears to my eyes!

    My dad built his own telescope, ground the lenses himself, and taught me to look to the stars! I’ve never stopped looking!

    Buzz, when I met you in Ridgewood for a book signing, you altered my life forever. I just gave my first grandson your signed children’s book with a photo of us together for his first birthday!

    I continue to pray for you and ask God to bless you with good health for many years of good health!! Hey, I expect more grands to idolize you like I do!

  • Michael S. Moore
    Posted at 22:28h, 16 January

    Wonderful thoughts and feelings. And as a “middle man,” you are not to be avoided, but acknowledged as one of America’s great pioneers, like Mr. Cernan.

  • Matt moore
    Posted at 22:27h, 16 January

    Mr Aldrin, a beautiful summary. Thank you for posting. R.I.P. Gene Cernan.

  • Carlos Torres Jr. U.S.Army Ret.
    Posted at 22:24h, 16 January

    I had the honor of meeting Buzz and Gene both great Americans God speed Gene and next step is Mars.

  • Ethan Jogola
    Posted at 22:04h, 16 January

    All of the apollo astronauts are hero’s, they risked their lives for the betterment of mankind. And Buzz, I really appreciate the day you gave to me when you granted my ‘make a wish’ day last year. That will leave a lasting impression for the rest of my life. Rest in peace Gene.

  • Dana Luterick
    Posted at 21:42h, 16 January

    The Apollo program was and still is awesome.
    Thank You, Buzz. R.I.P. Gene Crenan. very sad day.

  • Brent Hineman
    Posted at 21:40h, 16 January

    Ad Astra Gene Cernan!

  • Tom Nocera
    Posted at 21:28h, 16 January

    Well said, Dr.Aldrin. I never think of you as a “middle man”. You are much too special and too much of a thought leader for that designation. I related to you before the first Gala in July 2015, that Gene, both Barry Goldwater, Sr. & Jr. and I were the closest humans to witness your historic launch from KSC on July 16, 1969. Now that small club is down to just 2. Wishing you good health and much success in all your endeavors.

  • Paul
    Posted at 21:21h, 16 January

    Godspeed Gene.

  • Florence Hupf
    Posted at 21:14h, 16 January

    Thank you so much for these kinds words for such a kind man. My husband worked for DOD, and met Cernan at a meeting in Huntsville, Al. many years ago. My husband told him how I had always followed the space program, knew all the astronauts, stats, etc. Cernan gave my husband an autographed photograph to give to me. I cherish it. Thank each and every one of you for advancing the NASA program. God bless and take care.

  • John Nagle
    Posted at 21:07h, 16 January

    What a wonderful tribute, Buzz, and what an injustice to his legacy that we have not been back to add more footprints. America must never lose its thirst for discovery.

  • Francis Panton
    Posted at 21:07h, 16 January

    Very sad day. Especially for you guys being such a small minority. My thoughts are with you and Gene’s family. Onwards to Mars and further to show respect to the brave men like yourself and Gene. Pleased to hear that you are well, and loved that you visited our country NZ.

  • JD
    Posted at 21:03h, 16 January

    Thank you, Buzz for your recollections about Gene. With you and Neil, he was one of my heroes. I admired his humility and intelligence, a rare combination these days. I hope we can regain our collective wonder about interplanetary travel, and not let those who refuse to raise their downward gaze prevail.


  • Jeff Ring
    Posted at 20:56h, 16 January

    what a lovely tribute.. and his memory lives on on the moon.. his daughter’s intials on the dust of the moon that will stay there long after we slip the surly bonds of earth

  • Pingback:Gene Cernan, 1934-2017: letzter auf dem Mond | Skyweek Zwei Punkt Null
    Posted at 20:56h, 16 January

    […] dem NASA-Archiv, weitere Statements hier und hier und weitere Nachrufe hier, hier, hier, hier, hier, hier, hier, hier, hier, hier, hier, […]

  • Philip Dennis
    Posted at 20:56h, 16 January

    Thank you Mr. Aldren, and RIP Mr. Cernan–I followed every minute of you last lunar mission. What a shame we didn’t take the next step…….perhaps now.

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