30 November 1957 – Capt Benny Lacombe is killed when he unsuccessfully attempts to bail out of Lockheed U-2A, 56-6704, Article 371, 13 miles SE of Laughlin AFB. Ejection seats had not yet been fitted to U-2s at this point. The history of the U-2 program is fraught with fatalities and crashes. “CIA pilots Wilburn S.
Alfred J. Dempsey
Al Dempsey flew F-86 and F-100 fighters while serving in the U.S. Air Force from 1954 to 1958 during the Cold War. The F-100 had far more thrust — the force which moves an aircraft through the air — than the F-86.
“Seventeen thousand pounds of thrust versus 7,000 pounds of thrust,” Dempsey said. “That made a heck of a difference.”
It was akin to strapping a rocket on your back.
“I always thought to myself, ‘I’m going to go out and I’m going to put this airplane on – I’m not going to climb in the cockpit and sit in the airplane – I’m going to put this airplane on,’” he said. “It becomes part of you. Today, all these jet fighters and bombers all have computers all over the place. … We had no computers in our planes. We were the pilot, we were the navigator, we were the bombardier, we were the gunner – we did everything. You had to train to do it all.”
He said training in the F-100 was a much different experience than learning to fly other aircraft — starting with the first “ride.”
“Normally when you check out in an airplane, you climb in … and the instructor climbs in next to you and shows you how things work, maybe demonstrates the way the airplane flies, takes off and lands. When you’re in a single-seat F-100, you’re all by yourself from the very first flight.”
When the air museum began adding some Korean and Vietnam-era aircraft to its collection, Dempsey pitched the idea of acquiring an F-100 in the fall of 2013.
After one deal fell through, Dempsey arranged for another to be purchased from a private owner in Reno, Nevada. The aircraft resided at nearby Stead Air Force Base.
“I said, ‘Hey Fred, let’s get this airplane.’ For my legacy, I want to provide the funds so that the museum could acquire that F-100. I asked Fred to ‘Call the owner and you make the best deal that you can make and I’ll cover it.’”
On June 2, 2014 – Dempsey’s birthday – he wired $200,000 to the air museum’s bank account to cover the cost of the aircraft.
(source: excerpted from an article by Denise Goolsby, The Desert Sun, published, p.m. PT Nov. 5, 2015 | Updated 8:25 p.m. PT Nov. 5, 2015)