NEW BRAUNFELS, Texas (CBSDFW.COM) – The Texas Legislative Conference has picked an Apollo 16 astronaut as the 2020 Texan of the Year.

Brigadier General Charles Duke became the youngest of 12 people to ever walk on the surface of the moon in 1972.

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April 21, 1972 – Astronaut Charles M. Duke Jr., Apollo 16 lunar module pilot, salutes the United States flag during the mission’s first extravehicular activity. (Photo by NASA)

“His perspectives are unique and his efforts have paved the way for tremendous advancements in science and technology that we all enjoy today,” Texas Legislative Conference Chair E. Ray Covey said.

Duke is a South Carolina native and moved to Texas as one of the 19 astronauts selected by NASA for the Apollo program in 1966.

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He also served as the liaison between the Apollo 11 astronauts and Mission Operations Control Center, communicating with Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin during the first moon landing.

“General Duke is a pioneer, who embodies the spirit of ingenuity and discovery,” William T. Harris, president and CEO of the science and exploration learning center at Space Center Houston, said. “He continues to be an inspiration to future generations as we move forward in pursuit of new ideas and advancements in human space exploration.”

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Duke will receive the award at a ceremony in New Braunfels Civic/Convention Center in March 2020.