Emmett Felix Yost, better known to his friends and family as Felix, was born October 7, 1903, in the heart of the wheat belt at Downs, Kansas, but after graduation from Downs High School in May 1923 he knew that the farming life was not for him. The long hot hours in the sun and a favorite uncle having graduated from the Naval Academy were incentive enough to prepare for a military career. He sought to go to the Naval Academy, but his age was against him. The Military Academy had a different age requirement and so he applied there instead. After a one-year stint at Kansas State Agricultural College at Manhattan, Kansas, in 1923, he entered West Point in 1924.
As a cadet Felix was best remembered by his classmates as being a quiet, rather shy person who had to work very hard academically. Yet through it all he still maintained a keen sense of humor. Rules and regulations never seemed to bother him. He was always very meticulous and methodical in everything he did, and this carried over into his military career.
After graduation in 1928, as a second lieutenant, infantry, he attended the Air Corps Flying Training School at Kelly Field, Texas. He transferred to the Army Air Corps in 1929. His first assignment was at Selfridge Field, Michigan, as a pursuit pilot, squadron engineering and supply officer for the 27th Pursuit Squadron. It was here that he met and married Mary Beatty of nearby Richmond, Michigan, on September 30, 1931. In November 1931 they moved to Wheeler Field, Hawaii, where Felix was squadron engineering and armament officer. Their first child, Mary Diane, was born July 2, 1934. In August 1934 he was assigned to the Flying Training Command at Randolph Field, Texas, as a flying instructor and flight commander. He remained at Randolph until 1939. Their second child, David Felix, was born in 1937.
Felix was next assigned to Dallas, Texas, with the mission of establishing a civil contract flying school. He attended the Air Force Tactical School at Maxwell Air Force Base in 1940, returning to Dallas and then on to Pine Bluff, Arkansas until 1942. His next assignment was at the Air Force Advanced Flying School at Waco, Texas, as commanding officer. In 1944 he moved to Del Rio, Texas, to be commanding officer of the B-26 Transition School, where he stayed until 1945. For his part in training pilots for the Brazilian Air Force, the president of Brazil awarded him the Brazilian decoration Commander of the National Order of the Southern Cross.
His next tour of duty was on Okinawa with Headquarters Eighth Air Force, Plans Division, where he remained until 1947. Upon returning to the United States, he was assigned to the Troop Basis Branch, Directorate of Manpower and Organization at Headquarters United States Air Force. In 1948 Felix was assigned to the Deputy Chief of Staff for Intelligence in the Special Project Office. He became chief of the Supplemental Research Branch in 1950 with the same directorate, where he remained for a year.
In 1951 Emmett became inspector general of the Eastern Air Defense Force at Stewart Air Force Base, Newburgh, New York. In 1952 he transferred to Headquarters Air Defense Command in Colorado Springs, Colorado, as inspector general. During 1953 he attended a military management course at George Washington University. He was then assigned as the commander of the 85th Air Division at Andrews Air Force Base, Washington, D. C., where he remained until his retirement as a brigadier general in July 1958.
Felix and Mary settled down to their retirement years in North Redington Beach, Florida. Two or three times each week Felix was on the golf course. With a house right on the water he was able to enjoy boating and fishing as well. He remained active with the Lions Club and worked closely with the city government, serving on different commissions over the years.
Mary, his wife of over fifty years, passed away in 1983. Felix died April 12, 1985, in North Redington Beach and was buried next to Mary at St. Albans Episcopal Church in Saint Petersburg Beach, Florida. Felix will be remembered best for his truly gentle spirit, kind nature, and strong sense of “duty, honor and country.” He had a wonderful, quiet sense of humor and will be missed greatly by all those who knew and loved him.