October 29, 1965: Edwards Pilots Win Thompson Trophy

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  • Air Force Flight Test Center

Colonel Robert L. “Fox” Stephens and and Lt Col Daniel Andre, of the YF-12/SF‑71 Test Force received the Thompson Trophy from the Air Foundation of Cleveland at a ceremony in Washington, D.C. attended by the new Secretary of the Air Force Dr. Harold Brown, and Generals Curtis LeMay, John P. McConnell, and Bernard Schriever. They were awarded the trophy for their world speed record breaking YF‑12 flight on 1 May 1965. General McConnell had earlier presided over a ceremony at the Pentagon awarding them the Distinguished Flying Cross, along with Lt Col Walter F. Daniel, and Majors Noel T. Warner and James Cooney, who had helped establish nine new speed records with the YF‑12 on May 1, 1965.

The Thompson Trophy, symbolic of speed supremacy in the air, is one of aviation's most coveted awards. It was first presented in 1929 following the Thompson Trophy Race at the National Air Races, Cleveland, Ohio, and was sponsored by Thompson Products, Inc., now Thompson Romo Wooldridge (TRW), Inc.  In 1965, the Thompson Trophy was awarded to Col. Robert L. "Fox" Stephens (pilot) and Lt. Col. Daniel Andre (first control officer) for their YF-12A flight of 2,062 mph on May 1, 1965. This flight recaptured the world absolute speed record for the U.S. from the Soviet Union.  The trophy was transferred to the museum by Maj. Gen. Alton D. Slay, commander of Air Force Systems Command.

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