Tony Bevacqua

Veterans in Blue 2017

Retired Lt. Col. Tony Bevacqua poses for a photo at his home in Yuba City, California, May 9, 2017. Bevacqua served a total of 21 years in the Air Force and is among a select group of pilots who flew the U-2 Dragon Lady and the SR-71 Blackbird. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Tristan D. Viglianco)

Tony Bevacqua joined the Air Force Feb. 29, 1952, with the dream of becoming a pilot. During Bevacqua’s career, he flew a variety of aircraft but spent the majority of his service flying the U-2 and the SR-71. In 1957, he became the 55th person to solo pilot the U-2. In his nine years flying the U-2, he amassed 1,904 hours and flew missions over Vietnam and Cuba during the Cuban missile crisis. In 1996 Bevacqua moved to Beale Air Force Base, California, where he transitioned to flying the SR-71. He was the 158th pilot to fly the SR-71 and flew a total of 738 hours. After 21 years of service, he retired as a lieutenant colonel. Bevacqua remained in the area surrounding Beale AFB, eventually starting a career in real estate. He continues to involve himself in the Air Force community and serves as a member of the Beale AFB Military Liaison Committee.