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.
William E. Barrineau, Jr.
In early 1964, Jean and I headed to UPT at Del Rio, TX. We stopped in San Antonio to honor my Uncle Edwin R. Barrineau (1918-1954); the man who motivated our journey. He was a pilot and served with two of his six brothers in WWII.
After UPT and F-100 training, we arrived at Myrtle Beach AFB in late 1965 and received the following greeting: “…you are a South Carolina boy so your family will be taken care of while you depart immediately for Incirlik AB, Turkey.” Six months into that TDY, I was assigned to the 353rd TFS at Torrejon AB, Spain. I was the most junior member of that unit and remained so when in 1969, I departed TDY to the F-100 FWS en route to Phang Rang. That culminated in nearly 1300 hours in the F-100.
I was able to keep my single seat status in the A-7 at Myrtle Beach and Korat, Thailand. I met Bobby Bond during A-7 training in 1971 and in 1974 he took me into the Research, Development, and Acquisition process at the Pentagon. For 4 years I took part in the fielding of an entirely new fighter force (F-15, F-16, A-10, and the then-secret F-117); the latter being spearheaded by Joe Ralston.
After serving as DO in the F-4 at Spangdahlem and Vice at George AFB, I moved to TAC HQ in 1983 as Director of Fighter Requirements. The DRF crew advocated for the fielding of many versions of the F-16 and the introduction of the F-15E. Most importantly, the DRF crew wrote the requirements document for the Advanced Tactical Fighter (ATF) which is now the F-22.
A footnote to the ATF: Colonel Mike Loh was Deputy Director of Requirements and his ability to reach deep into the aero engineering minds at Wright Patterson made a significant impact on the design requirements for the F-22.
My best flying experience: the F-100. My best memories; all the great people I got to know, respect, and appreciate.