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COL. JAMES P. COONEY USAF (Ret)
Colonel Cooney was part of the original flight crews on the YF-12 Joint Test Force from 1962 - 1968. During this period he spent time at Area 51. On 1 May 1965 he flew back seat for Walter Daniel at Edwards AFB as they piloted the YF-12A on speed runs to set the world speed records for manned flight. Jim flew many YF-12A missions with Jim Eastham, the Lockheed test pilot who first flew the YF-12 at Area 51. Jim also launched successful Aim-54 from YF-12A with Col. Joe Rogers at Holloman AFB in 1967. The target was a QB-47. He flew many Cat II SR-71 missions with SAC and AFSC pilots. Later he flew 186 combat missions in the F-4 in SEA out of Udorn AB in Thailand, chalking up 1 MiG kill on 12 May 1972. Cooney won the MacKay Trophy in 1965 along with Fox Stephens, Don Andre, Walt Daniel, and Noel Warner for setting World Speed Records in the YF-12A. He retired in 1977 with the rank of Colonel. Among his many decorations were the Silver Star and DFC w/5 LOC. Our hearts and prayers go out to the family who have suffered a great loss.