Michael Collins was born in Rome in 1930. After graduating from the U.S. Military Academy, he entered the newly independent Air Force, becoming a fighter pilot and experimental test pilot.
He was one of the third group of astronauts named by NASA in 1963. On his first mission, Gemini 10, he set a world altitude record and became the nation's third spacewalker. His second flight was as command module pilot of the historic Apollo 11 mission to the moon in July 1969.
He is retired major general in the U.S. Air Force Reserve and has received numerous decorations and awards, including the Presidential Medal of Freedom and the Collier Trophy. He is now retired and lives in South Florida. Carrying the Fire is his memoir.