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.
Robert M. Bond
“Robert M. Bond was a lieutenant general of the United States Air Force (USAF). He saw combat in Korea and three tours of Vietnam, before becoming an instructor and then vice-commander of an organization that developed and evaluated weaponry for the USAF.
Bond was born on 16 December 16, 1929, in Trenton, Tennessee, and attended Marion Military Institute in Marion, Alabama, and the University of Mississippi.
He joined the USAF in 1951 and flew 44 combat missions in the F-86 Sabre during the Korean War. He flew F-84 Thunderjets, F-86s, and F-100 Super Sabres in Europe, then in 1958 trained at the USAF Fighter Weapons School at Nellis Air Force Base. In 1963 he became chief of the Strike Branch at Kadena Air Base, Okinawa, and flew combat missions over Vietnam in the F-105 Thunderchief.
After going to Staff College from 1965 to 1966, he served as F-105 and F-111 project officer at Norton Air Force Base, California. From 1968 to 1969 he flew 213 combat missions from Cam Ranh Air Base in Vietnam, in the F-4 Phantom. On 30 December 1968 in Vĩnh Lợi District in the Mekong Delta, Bond, by now a major, made repeated ground attacks in poor weather and under heavy automatic ground fire, for which he won the Silver Star.
He was an F-100 instructor pilot at Luke Air Force Base, Arizona, from July 1969 to January 1970, when he was given command of the 310th Tactical Fighter Training Squadron, the first USAF unit to fly the A-7 Corsair. While there, he became director of operations for the 58th Tactical Fighter Training Wing. In 1972 he served a third tour in Vietnam, this time in the A-7.
In June 1973 he joined USAF HQ at the Pentagon in Washington D.C. He was awarded the Distinguished Service Medal for his work there in modernizing and integrating weapon systems. He worked in many of the USAF’s “black” programs, which were activities so undercover that they commanded secret funds to avoid scrutiny.
In August 1978 he was sent to Eglin Air Force Base, Florida, as commander of the Armament Division, Air Force Systems Command. On 25 April 1980, as a major general, Bond read out President Jimmy Carter’s eulogy at a memorial service for the eight American servicemen who died in Operation Eagle Claw, the unsuccessful US attempt to free hostages held by Iran. In June 1981 he became vice commander, Air Force Systems Command, Andrews Air Force Base, Maryland, and was promoted to lieutenant general.”