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.
Jay D. Blume, Jr.
Lt. Jay Blume reported for duty in January 1964 for pilot training at Williams AFB, in Arizona where he completed primary and basic flight training with about 270 hours in the T-37 and T-38 aircraft. He received his Air Force wings in February 1965. Following graduation, he reported to Luke AFB, Arizona for advanced gunnery training in the F-100 fighter aircraft.
Upon completion of gunnery training, he was assigned to the 309th Tactical Fighter Sqdn. at Homestead AFB, Florida. While assigned to the 309th, Jay completed forward air controller training at Hurlbert Field, Florida; spent three months at Ciglie AFB, Turkey pulling nuclear alert, and 13 months at Tuy Hoa, Vietnam, flying 303 combat sorties (458 hrs.) in the F-100. Captain Blume returned to the US in February 1968 and taught instruments, academics, and gunnery at Luke AFB until August 1970. Jay accumulated 1770 hours in five and one-half years in the F-100C, D, & F models.
The following two years were spent back at Texas A & M in graduate school where he received a Master of Engineering in Operations Research, with a follow-on posting to the US Air Force Academy, Colorado to become an Associate Professor of Mathematics. While there he also served as Associate Air Officer Commanding of the 38th Cadet squadron and flew 600 hours in the T-33 as formation instructor and flight check pilot. After three years at the academy, he found himself back at Luke AFB in a three-month course to qualify in the F-4C. Following qualification, Major Blume reported to Osan AFB, Korea for a one-year remote tour pulling air defense alert. This was the first of nine years in F-4 aircraft in which he accumulated 1515 hours in F-4C, D, E, F & G as well as the RF-4C.
Following a six month tour at the Armed Forces Staff College at Norfolk VA in 1976 & 77, Jay returned to Luke AFB to again gain currency in the F-4C. Major Blume then moved to Hahn AFB, Germany in April 1977 where he served as Operations Officer of the 313th Tactical Fighter Squadron, a primary Strike (nuclear alert) unit with additional conventional, air to air, Pave Spike (laser designation) and Maverick missile secondary missions. After three years at Hahn, Lt. Colonel Blume was moved to the USAFE staff at Ramstein AFB, Germany where he served for nine months as Chief of Standardization & Evaluation. In this capacity he maintained instructor and evaluator status in the F-4 and was able to fly several sorties in the F-15, F-111, and RF-4C.
The last F-4E air to air squadron in Europe, the 526th at Ramstein needed a commander and Jay got the call in December 1980. He sat five-minute air defense alert, the same as in Korea, scrambled three times on Alpha Scrambles (real-world active launches). He lead his squadron on numerous weapons training activities in Italy, Turkey, Spain; two missile-firing evaluations during WSEP at Eglin AFB, Florida; and two training sessions at Red Flag exercises at Nellis AFB, Nevada. He returned to the US in July 1982.
Jay Blume was an honor graduate of the Air War College in 1983 and was assigned to the Air Staff at the Pentagon in Washington D.C. For two years he led the fighter shop for Air Force Studies and Analysis. This unit addressed such issues such as how many AIMRAMs should the Air Force buy, should the F-15E or F-16F become the dual-role fighter, and how many of these aircraft should the Air Force procure. After two years in this capacity, then Colonel Blume was again posted to Europe as vice commander of the 52nd Defense Suppression (Wild Weasel) Wing at Spangdalem, Germany. He became the wing commander after nearly two years and led the wing through a conversion to hunter/killer combined F-4G and F16C/D wild weasel squadrons and flights. He was qualified in both the F-4G and the F-16C/D. Jay was then assigned as special assistant to the Supreme Commander Allied Powers Europe and spent 14 months in this high-level staff position in SHAPE Headquarters at Mons, Belgium.
After being promoted to Brigadier General, he was sent to command the NATO AWACS unit at Geilenkirchen, Germany. This unit was composed of airmen from 10 NATO nations and they flew the Boeing E-3A aircraft plus three cockpit missionized Boeing 707 aircraft. General Blume commanded this unit for three years, flew 600 hours in the equipment, and led the unit through the 1st Gulf War in Iraq and initiated Operation Allied Force to provide surveillance of the former Republic of Yugoslavia. He returned to the US in September 1992, was promoted to his second star, and given command of the Technical Training Center at Lowry AFB, in Denver, Colorado. Each year this unit provided technical instruction to over 20,000 students in courses, ranging from aircraft avionics to food service, and from fire fighting to space operations. While there general Blume was able to fly the T-38, T-37, and the T-1 training aircraft usually on cross-country sorties to perform Air Force business. This was his final assignment that included any piloting of Air Force aircraft.
His final Air Force assignment began in April 1994 in the Pentagon, Washington D.C. as special assistant to the Chief of Staff US Air Force for Base Realignment and Closure. Major General Blume retired from the Air Force in February 1996 and began a three-year civilian career.
Jay began his flying career in 1963 as he obtained his private pilot’s certificate while in ROTC at Texas A & M College flying the Cessna 140. Upon graduation in May 1963, in Mechanical Engineering he then worked seven months for General Dynamics Fort Worth as a design engineer in the crew station design section on the F-111 aircraft. He entered the Air Force in January 1964 and served 32 years. Major General Blume retired from the Air Force in February 1996 and began a three-year civilian career as head of Washington Operations for Logicon Corp. who supported the National Reconnaissance Office (NRO) classified space programs. After relocating to Texas in June 2000, Jay met Don Wylie, leader of the Texas Air Aces, and was asked to participate in the air combat and air safety training sorties. This again stimulated his interest in flying and instructing. He flew in the T-34 for the Aces program and became involved with home-built experimental aviation. He was a partner in both RV-4, and RV-8 experimental aircraft and accumulated over 700 hours in general aviation aircraft. Jay accumulated a total of about 6,000 hours in numerous civilian and military aircraft and currently holds a Commercial and Instrument rating.