Major General Eldon (Al) Joersz-Brief Biography
The Mercer County Regional Airport was dedicated as Al Joersz Field on July 6, 2013 in honor of Hazen native and the world’s fastest pilot, Major General Eldon (Al) Joersz.
The general entered the Air Force on October 1966 as a graduate of the North Dakota State University Reserve Officer Training Corps Program. He has commanded a strategic reconnaissance squadron at Beale Air Force Base and two Air Force wings; a bombardment wing at K. I. Sawyer Air Force Base, and a composite fighter/tanker wing at Seymore Johnson Air Force Base. He is a command pilot with more than 4,500 flying hours, which includes for than 450 hours of F-105D combat time in Vietnam and Laos. In addition, he has been qualified in the SR-71, B-52, K-135, KC-10 and F-15E aircraft. In June 1976 he set the world’s absolute speed record of 2,193 miles per hour in the SR-71. That is 100 feet per second faster than the average rifle bullet and the record still stands today.
Lockheed Martin produced a wonderful 4 minute video about General Joersz titled “Dare to Dream: A SR-71 Pilot’s Tale” and can be found at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2xZIE_YSXnk