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.
John J. Closner
Before retiring in April of 1996, Major General John J. Closner Ill was chief of Air Force Reserve, Headquarters U.S. Air Force, Washington, D.C., and commander, Air Force Reserve, a field operating agency located at Robins Air Force Base, Ga. As chief of Air Force Reserve, General Closner served as the principal adviser on Reserve matters to the Air Force chief of staff. As commander of Air Force Reserve, he had full responsibility for the supervision of all U.S. Air Force Reserve units around the world.
General Closner was born March 27, 1940, in Houston and graduated from Bayside High School, Long Island, N.Y., in 1958. He earned a bachelor’s degree in business administration from Texas A&M University in 1962. The general completed Squadron Officer School in 1971, Air Command and Staff College in 1973, and Industrial College of the Armed Forces in 1976.
The general was commissioned through the Air Force Reserve Officer Training Corps program at Texas A&M University. He received wings after pilot training at Reese Air Force Base, Texas, and then completed F-100 fighter training at Luke Air Force Base, Ariz. In August 1964 General Closner was assigned to the 494th Tactical Fighter Squadron, Royal Air Force Station Lakenheath, England, where he flew the F-100.
In June 1967 he was assigned to the 615th Tactical Fighter Squadron, Phan Rang Air Base, South Vietnam, as an instructor pilot. He flew 300 combat missions and also had assignments as a standardization and evaluation officer, ground training officer and flying training officer.
General Closner separated from active duty in July 1968 and flew for 18 months with Pan American Airlines. In February 1970 he joined the New Jersey Air National Guard as a full-time, civil service employee. He was assigned to the 177th Tactical Fighter Squadron, Atlantic City, where he flew the F-100 and F-105, and was chief of standardization and evaluation.
In January 1973 General Closner was assigned to the 507th Tactical Fighter Group, Tinker Air Force Base, Okla. He figured prominently in the command’s first F-105 fighter conversion and served as chief of standardization and evaluation, and as an operations and training officer. He assumed command of the 465th Tactical Fighter Squadron at Tinker in November 1975.
In May 1978 the general became commander of the 917th Tactical Fighter Group at Barksdale Air Force Base, La., and flew A-37s. Two years later the unit was the first in the Air Force Reserve to convert to A-1Os. As commander, he also guided the activation of the first A-10 flight training school for the Air National Guard and the Air Force Reserve. He served as commander of the Air Force Reserve’s first F-16 wing, the 419th Tactical Fighter Wing, Hill Air Force Base, Utah, from July 1983 until July 1987, when he became commander of 10th Air Force, Bergstrom Air Force Base, Texas. In July 19S9 he was assigned as deputy to the chief of Air Force Reserve, Air Force headquarters, and assumed his present duties in November 1990.
A command pilot with more than 5,000 flying hours, General Glasner has flown the A-10, A-37, F-16, F-100 and F-105. His military awards and decorations include the Distinguished Service Medal, Legion of Merit, Distinguished Flying Cross, Meritorious Service Medal, Air Medal with 14 oak leaf clusters, Air Force Commendation Medal and Air Force Outstanding Unit Award with three oak leaf clusters.
His civic affiliations include the Air Force Association, Reserve Officers Association, Bergstrom-Austin Community Council and Austin Military Affairs Council.