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.
Paul Rex Hammock
Colonel Paul “Rex” Hammock spent the majority of his youth in San Diego. A seven-year boarding student at Army-Navy Academy in Carlsbad, he earned varsity letters in football, basketball, and baseball, served as Class President as well as Cadet Major, and was voted Outstanding Senior upon his graduation in 1951.
In 1956, Rex graduated from San Diego State College, where he played baseball, participated in AFROTC, and was a member of Kappa Sigma Fraternity. He later earned a Master’s Degree from Shippensburg State in Pennsylvania. The joy of his professional life came in the 24 years Rex spent as a fighter pilot, “the greatest job in the world,” in the United States Air Force.
Most of his time was spent flying the F-100 Super Sabre and the F-4. His many career highlights include: flying 100 missions over North Vietnam during the Vietnam War in which he earned the Silver Star for “gallantry in action against the enemy;” graduating from the U.S. Army War College in Carlisle, PA (1972); living abroad as U.S. Air Force Attaché to the Republic of Iran; serving as Director of Operations for the F-4 Wing at Luke A.F.B.; and molding young men and women as Professor of Aerospace Studies and Commander of the AFROTC at Arizona State University (1977 – 1980).
He was a proud member of The Super Sabre Society, The Order of Daedalians, Command Bar Stool Association, and the Military Officers Association of America. Following his Air Force retirement in 1980, Rex spent 20+ years in various management and leadership roles, ultimately retiring “for good” as Director, Motor Vehicles Division, for the Arizona Department of Transportation.