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 H. Baker
I was born in Shreveport, Louisiana, in 1944. I remember attending air shows at Barksdale AFB and always wanted to fly. I graduated with a degree in Electrical Engineering from Louisiana Tech University where I was a member of the ROTC Unit and obtained my private pilot license through the Cadet Flight Indoctrination Program.
In 1968 I entered Undergraduate Pilot Training at Reese AFB, TX. After UPT, I followed the standard Pipeline route to SEA. I completed F-100 gunnery at Luke AFB and then off for my year at Bien Hoa. As the war wound down, I rotated back to CONUS with the Tuy Hoa Wing to reform the unit at England AFB, LA.
After a year, the senior pilots were pulled out to fly Gen Momyers Edsel the F-111. I spent five years at Mtn Home AFB with a TDY in 72 to Takhli RTAFB during Linebacker II. In 75, I was selected to do an exchange tour with the RAAF and enjoyed two years drinking Australian beer. In 78 I was required to pay back for the Oz assignment with a tour at Hq TAC.
After three years in purgatory, I went to the AFSC at Norfolk followed by a year and a half at the Naval Postgraduate School in Monterey, CA. With great stealth technique, I escaped MPC assignments and returned to Australia as the Asst Air Attach for the remainder of my 20-year military career flying the C-12 around the South Pacific.
I retired from the USAF in 1988.
After serving with the USAF, Bill Baker worked as a Project Engineer at General Dynamics in Ft. Worth, TX from 1988-1989. He then became a pilot for Northwest Airlines where he flew the B-727, DC-9, DC-10 and B-747 until his retirement in 2004.