The U.S. Air Force has awarded Air Medals to four Swedish air force pilots in recognition of their decisive actions during a once-classified encounter with a crippled SR-71 Blackbird during the waning years of the Cold War.

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Benjamin Franklin nailed it when he said, "Fatigue is the best pillow." True story, Benny. There's nothing like pushing your body so far past exhaustion that you'd willingly, even longingly, take a nap on a concrete slab.

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And no one knows that better than military service members and we have the pictures to prove it.

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If there is one thing that has remained a constant since the first Top Gun screamed into theaters three decades ago, it's Tom Cruise's need for speed.

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A retired Air Force pilot who flew the SR-71 Blackbird recently told the Pensacola News Journal what it was like to fly the legendary aircraft that can cruise at three times the speed of sound.

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The SR-71 Blackbird spy plane is the fastest and highest-flying production aircraft to ever hit the skies.

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Flickr/Plane Bricks

The SR-71 Blackbird is a legend, a spy plane that has captured imaginations since it first went Mach 3.5 over Soviet spymasters in the 1960s; you may recognize its distinct profile from spy flicks, espionage novels, and in multiple Marvel universe movies as the X Men's chief mode of transport.

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