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.
Elmer K. Follis
“During the Korean Conflict, I had the opportunity to meet and brief the President of the United States, Dwight Eisenhower. He visited my airplane and talked to me, one on one, for several minutes.
In Vietnam, I flew fighter missions, in support of America’s ground forces, both Army and Marines alike. And we tried to do a good job because you know the average age of the American soldier in Vietnam was 19. You had teenagers fighting the war on the ground, most of them, in Vietnam. So you wanted to make sure you supported them with close air support.
The thing I’m most proud of is supporting those Army and Marine forces in Vietnam. One mission in Vietnam we saved 900 people. On one mission. And to do that mission we had to fly through a typhoon four times. Those 900 people came home. Let’s say they each had 4 children. That’s 3600 children that would not have been born if we didn’t fly that mission… Just think of the generations, you quadruple that number. A couple of years from now there will be millions of Americans walking the Earth who would have never been born if we didn’t fly that mission.”(1)
Col. Elmer Follis, Jr. has lived a life stocked with purpose, valor, and honor. As a pilot for the U.S. Air Force, he flew 400 combat missions in the Korean and Vietnam Wars. In 1967 he was assigned to an F-100 squadron as operations officer, where he flew close air support, interdiction, and landing zone preparation for friendly helicopters. His squadron saved thousands of U.S. lives. (2)
(1) Excerpted from an interview with host Host Jamaia Chase on Germantown HS Television. See the full video under Elmer’s Video tab