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 E. Downey
John “Jack” Downey loved his early life in Whitefish, Montana where he managed Whitefish Lake swimming, waterskied in Cypress Gardens, FL with an acrobatic team and received a football scholarship to the University of North Dakota.
As a USAF career fighter pilot, Jack flew the F-86, F-4, and F-100 and was a team member of the World Champion William Tell Gunnery Team. He was also Flight Commander of many squadrons, developed air refueling testing, developed low-level photo reconnaissance of SAM sites in Cuba, and supported President Kennedy’s embargo during the Cuban Missile Crisis.
Jack was honored with pilot wings by the Chinese Air Force. In addition, Jack was actively engaged in the Vietnam Conflict. He ended his USAF career as an Executive Secretariat at the Pentagon and received and Daedalian for his last tour of duty prior to retiring in June of 1973.
After retirement, Jack was a General Contractor/Developer in VA, MD, and DC. He was arbitrator/Mediator for construction hearings as well as a Construction Management Consultant n Jupiter, FL in the 1990s.
Jack and his wife spent their time between Annapolis, MD and Jupiter Island, FL and moved to Palm City, FL in 2000. In 2017 they moved back to Palm City to be near their daughter, Paige Noel.