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“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
Lancaster in Los Angeles County, California — The American West (Pacific Coastal)
 

Col. Robert L. “Silver Fox” Stephens, USAF 


Aerospace Walk of Honor

 
 
Col. Robert L. "Silver Fox" Stephens, USAF 
 Marker image. Click for full size.
By Denise Boose, July 5, 2013
1. Col. Robert L. "Silver Fox" Stephens, USAF 
 Marker
Inscription. Colonel Stephens distinguished himself in flight test, flying nearly all of the jet fighter aircraft from the F-80 Shooting Star to the F-106 Delta Dart. He graduated from the Experimental Test Pilot School in 1949.


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 Cross, Legion of Merit, Thompson Trophy, MacKay Trophy, Flying Tiger Trophy, Federation Aeronautique Internationale Gold Medal, and Henri De La Vaulx Medal. A member of the International Order of
Col. Robert L. "Silver Fox" Stephens, USAF 
 Marker image. Click for full size.
By Denise Boose, July 5, 2013
2. Col. Robert L. "Silver Fox" Stephens, USAF 
 Marker
Characters, he was past president of the Society of Experimental Test Pilots.
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.
 
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. Touch for map. Located in front of the Lancaster Chamber of Commerce Building. Marker is at or near this postal address: 554 Lancaster Boulevard, Lancaster CA 93534, United States of America.
 
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 of this marker); Thomas C. McMurtry (within shouting distance of this marker); Fred Wallace Haise 

Col. Robert L. "Silver Fox" Stephens, USAF 
 Marker image. Click for full size.
By Denise Boose, July 5, 2013
3. Col. Robert L. "Silver Fox" Stephens, USAF 
 Marker
(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.
 
Categories. Air & Space
 
Aerospace Walk of Honor Emblem image. Click for full size.
By Denise Boose, July 5, 2013
4. Aerospace Walk of Honor Emblem
 
 
Credits. This page was last revised on June 16, 2016. This page originally submitted on October 19, 2013, by Denise Boose of Tehachapi, California. This page has been viewed 460 times since then and 43 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.
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