Neil A. Armstrong in a 1958 photo. Upon graduation from high school in 1947, Armstrong received a scholarship from the U.S. Navy. He enrolled at Purdue University to begin the study of aeronautical engineering. Armstrong was called to active duty during the Korea War and flew 78 combat missions from the carrier USS Essex in a Grumman F9F-2 Panther. He received the Air Medal and two Gold Stars.
In 1952, Armstrong returned to Purdue University and graduated with a bachelors degree in aeronautical engineering in 1955. He later earned a masters degree in aerospace engineering from the University of Southern California.
He later became a test pilot and flew the hottest aircraft around, including the sleek X-15 rocket plane, taking the powerful craft to 207,000 feet - the very edge of space.