Lancaster in Los Angeles County, California — The American West (Pacific Coastal)
Col. Robert L. "Silver Fox" Stephens, USAF
Aerospace Walk of Honor
Called the "Silver Fox" because of his prematurely gray hair, he was the first military pilot to fly the YF-12A, the Air Force's secret titanium-skinned interceptor, and the SR-71 advanced reconnaissance aircraft.
On May 1, 1965, at Edwards Air Force Base, Stephens established four world speed and altitude records in the YF-12A. He averaged 2,070 miles per hour over a 17-kilometer straight away course, then held 80,257 feet to establish a world record for sustained horizontal flight. Those records stood until 1977, when they were surpassed by the SR-71.
He was Chief of Fighter Operations at Edwards Air Force Base from 1952 to 1955. He flight-tested the YF-100A, YF-102, XF-104, X-5, X-1B, Navy F2H3, F4D, the F-94 series, F-86, F-89D, F-89H, and YF-101.
Stephens, a P-47 fighter pilot during World War II, has been honored with the Air Force Meritorious Service Medal, Distinguished Flying
Established in 1990 by the Lancaster City Council, the Aerospace Walk of Honor celebrates test pilots who were associated with Edwards AFB. Recognition is awarded for distinguished aviation careers marked by significant and obvious achievements beyond one specific accomplishment.
Erected by Lancaster City Council.
Topics. This historical marker is listed in this topic list: Air & Space.
Location. 34° 41.883′ N, 118° 8.346′ W. Marker is in Lancaster, California, in Los Angeles County. Marker is on Lancaster Boulevard, on the left when traveling west. Located in front of the Lancaster Chamber of Commerce Building. Touch for map. Marker is at or near this postal address: 554 Lancaster Boulevard, Lancaster CA 93534, United States of America. Touch for directions.
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within walking distance of this marker. Lt. Col. Robert G. "Bob" Ferry, USAF (here, next to this marker); Western Hotel (within shouting distance of this marker); Tuskegee Airmen (within shouting distance of this marker); John A. Manke (within shouting distance Thomas C. McMurtry (within shouting distance of this marker); Fred Wallace Haise (within shouting distance of this marker); Lt. Gen. James H. "Jimmy" Doolittle, (USAF Retired) (within shouting distance of this marker); John B. "Jack" McKay (about 400 feet away, measured in a direct line). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Lancaster.
Credits. This page was last revised on June 16, 2016. It was originally submitted on October 19, 2013, by Denise Boose of Tehachapi, California. This page has been viewed 568 times since then and 23 times this year. Last updated on November 26, 2014, by James King of San Miguel, California. Photos: 1, 2, 3, 4. submitted on October 19, 2013, by Denise Boose of Tehachapi, California. • Bill Pfingsten was the editor who published this page.