Col. Bob Gilliland
Bob Gilliland joined the Navy at age 17, graduated the Naval Academy in 1949, and was commissioned as an Air Force 2nd Lt. After earning pilot wings, he flew F-84 Thunderjets in the Korean War and became a test pilot at Eglin AFB, FL. Gilliland was hired by Lockheed in 1960 as a test pilot for the F-104 Starfighter program, and then participated in the flight envelope expansion and J58 engine tests for the revolutionary Mach 3 A-12 Blackbird. He went on to fly the YF-12 Interceptor and was personally chosen by Kelly Johnson as Project Test Pilot for the SR-71, making that aircraft’s first flight on December 22, 1964. Gilliland made the inaugural flights of the first ten SR-71 aircraft including the unique SR-71B models. A distinguished Fellow Member of the Society of Experimental Test Pilots, Bob retired from the Lockheed Aircraft Corporation in 1974.