Florence in Lauderdale County, Alabama — The American South (East South Central)
Lieutenant Colonel R. Edward Yeilding
United States Air Force
Born 1949 and raised in Florence, Alabama, Lt. Col. Yeilding was an active-duty Phantom pilot from 1974-1983, with assignments in the RF-4C, F-4D, and F-4E. During his Okinawa assignment in 1979, then Captain Yeilding was crewed for several months with Lt. Ralph E. Gholson, a Weapons System Officer from Texas. Lt Col. Yeilding chose Gholson’s name for the rear canopy to honor Gholson’s enthusiasm for their mission, and to commemorate Lt. Gholson’s life, which ended in 1981 during a RF-4 war game exercise in Nevada while practicing for the defense of our country and our freedoms.
After Lt. Col. Yeilding’s Phantom assignments, he was selected in 1983 for assignment to Beale Air Force Base, CA to fly SR-71 Blackbirds. Lt. Col. Yeilding flew 93 overseas Blackbird reconnaissance missions and became an SR-71 instructor and developmental test pilot. When the SR-71 Blackbird fleet was retired in 1990, Lt. Col. Yeilding and Lt. Col. J.T. Vida, a Reconnaissance Systems Officer of CA were tasked with delivering an SR-71
On March 6, 1990, Yeilding, Vida, and their Blackbird set an official coast-to-coast aircraft speed record of 67 minutes 54 seconds, cruising at mach 3.3, 2,190 mph, and reaching an altitude of 83,000 feet. That SR-71, tail #64-17972, is on display at the Smithsonian’s Udvar-Hazy Center, west of Washington, D.C.
Location. 34° 48.734′ N, 87° 37.455′ W. Marker is in Florence, Alabama, in Lauderdale County. Marker is on Veterans Park Drive 0.2 miles east of South Cox Creek Parkway (Alabama Route 133), on the left when traveling east. Click for map. Marker located in Veterans Memorial Park beside the F-4D Phantom. Marker is in this post office area: Florence AL 35630, United States of America.
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within walking distance of this marker. The Phantom (here, next to this marker); The Cobra Helicopter (a few steps from this marker); 75mm Field Gun (a few steps from this marker); Anti-Tank Gun (within shouting “Gooney Bird” Propeller (within shouting distance of this marker); Don Leslie Michael (within shouting distance of this marker); 16” Projectile (within shouting distance of this marker); W.W. II Anchor (within shouting distance of this marker). Click for a list of all markers in Florence.
Also see . . .
1. R. Edward Yielding. Alabama Aviation Hall of Fame (Submitted on October 24, 2013, by Sandra Hughes of Killen, Usa.)
2. Captain Ralph E Gholson, U.S. Air Force. Ralph was born on April 05, 1954 and was from Ft Worth, Texas. On April 16, 1981, he died in a non-hostile incident in United States at the age of 27. (Submitted on October 24, 2013, by Sandra Hughes of Killen, Usa.)
Categories. • Air & Space • War, Cold •
Credits. This page originally submitted on , by Sandra Hughes of Killen, Usa. This page has been viewed 606 times since then and 255 times this year. Last updated on , by J. Makali Bruton of San Salvador, El Salvador. Photos: 1, 2, 3, 4. submitted on , by Sandra Hughes of Killen, Usa. • Bill Pfingsten was the editor who published this page. This page was last revised on June 16, 2016.