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.
“In spite of flying two other great aircraft, the F-100 and the A-10, his true love was the Thud…”
Matt graduated from Kent State University, Ohio in June 1960. Forsaking his Chemistry degree, he immediately entered Pilot Training Class 62A at Moore AFB, TX. After graduation, he flew the F-100 Super Sabre at Luke AFB in AZ, and Cannon AFB in NM. In 1964 he retrained in the F-105 Thunderchief, affectionately known to its pilots as the “Thud”.
The next four years were spent assigned to Kadena AB, Okinawa, with a total of five temporary deployments to Vietnam and Thailand, where he completed 107 Missions over North Vietnam in the Thud. For his missions over the North earned him the Silver Star twice, the Distinguished Flying Cross six times, and numerous Air Medals.
Subsequent assignments were into and out of the Thud, eventually serving as an inspector, flying with the Reserve Forces. After a tour at Tactical Air Command Headquarters, Matt returned to flying assigned D.M. AFB in Tucson as an inspector pilot in the A-10 training program. He served in that capacity until his retirement in 1984. In spite of flying two other great aircraft, the F-100 and the A-10, his true love was the Thud, as ground spare with a chance to move up and excel.
Matt then started his own business “Revolve Store” where he helped many people keep their Volvo on the road. After 13 years and his second retirement, he signed on as a volunteer at the Pima Air & Space Museum.
(source: Published in the Arizona Daily Star on Apr. 24, 2016)