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.
William Robert Henderson
Bill was born in Kansas City, MO. Upon graduation from high school, he joined the U.S. Air Force where he proudly served as a decorated fighter pilot of numerous jets, including his favorite F-104 Starfighter. His military service took him to Okinawa, Laos, Vietnam, Washington DC, Arizona, South Korea, and Berlin.
During the Cold War, Bill served at the Berlin Air Safety Center, a most unique and distinguished position of safely directing American airplanes through airspace that was individually controlled over what was then West and East Berlin; four distinct countries – the Soviet Union, France, England, and the United States – each represented by an individual officer, who, in one room and facing each other across air traffic control boards, worked together during this most tumultuous of times to safely manage the air space above the Berlin Wall and the city it separated.
After 23 years in the USAF, Bill retired and went on to earn a BS degree from Oklahoma City University. Bill dabbled in a number of entrepreneurial pursuits, including selling corporate jets, before he found his second-calling working for the Federal Aviation Administration. One of his proudest work achievements was leading the talented FAA team that developed the arrival and departure flight patterns at the brand new, innovative, and world-class Denver International Airport.
As a leader, Bill’s dedication to both the professional and personal success of his team is evident in the group of employees who have stayed in close touch with Bill since his FAA retirement 21 years ago, both for fun (playing golf and a bit of wagering over a pint of beer) and for their care and unwavering support to Bill. Upon his retirement from the FAA, Bill found love a second time with his adored, Glynda.