Air Force vets reunite with plane that helped break world speed record

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WARNER ROBINS, Georgia (41NBC/WMGT) – It’s been 40 years since two men set a world speed record for flying in a jet-powered airplane.

The Air Force vets say attempting the record wasn’t easy and say they were fortunate and lucky to have been part of history.

“You might remember it better than I do, but I didn’t think we dumped any fuel,” Retired Major General Eldon Joersz said to his record breaking partner.

“Well I’m older than you, so I really don’t remember,” Retired Lt. Col. George Morgan responded.

When it’s been four decades, the details may dim. For the two men, the memories still place them back in the cockpit.

“I think we, as a crew, were pretty relaxed about it all. I mean we were just, kind of, going about our routine and our mission and doing what we did all the time,” Joersz said.

A routine that put the dynamic duo along with their SR-71 Blackbird into the history books.

They set the record in 1976.

“We just happened to be at the right place at the right time to be able to set the record,” Joersz said.

Perfect time for a duo who hasn’t seen each other in 40 years and share the utmost respect for one another.

“A guy from North Dakota and a guy from Brooklyn, New York wound up in something like this. What are the odds of this opportunity,” Morgan asked in disbelief of the accomplishment.

So 2, 193 miles per hour later, the men still hold the record.

“Coming together and being able to do wonderful things, but that’s the American way. You’re able to achieve something if you put your mind to it and that was the whole essence of the airplane and what we were doing as a nation,” Joersz said.

It actually took the men two times to get the record because of some equipment failure the first.

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(478) 745-4141 ext. 311 Skyler joined the 41 NBC News Team in April 2013. He anchors the news at 6 p.m. and also covers stories going on throughout the day. He was born in Brooklyn, New York and raised in Stone Mountain, Georgia, a suburb right outside of Atlanta. Before heading to Middle Georgia, Skyler worked as a stage manager for WSB- TV in Atlanta. Skyler graduated from Georgia Southern University in Statesboro, Georgia in 2011 with a Bachelor’s of Science degree in Multimedia Communication. He went to school initially to be an architect, but one step inside of the student radio station changed everything. While at Georgia Southern, he was exposed to radio and television and became the Program Director of the student radio station and was a part of a team that received a Southeast Regional student Emmy for their work on the program "Inside Georgia Southern Football." Skyler anchored and reported for Georgia Southern University's "Eagle News." There he covered the 2010 midterm elections live as well as reported on stories in the community. In the Spring 2012, Skyler interned for Clear Channel in Los Angeles, California. Skyler is a proud member of Kappa Alpha Psi Fraternity, Incorporated. In his free time, you can find Skyler watching the latest movies and reading up on all things in Hollywood. He also loves spending time with his family and friends and finding inspirational quotes. He loves telling stories about politics, tax dollars at work in the community, and highlighting people and business who don’t normally get the spotlight. If you have any story ideas, email Skyler at shenry@41nbc.com.