T-38 Pilot Killed in Texas Crash Identified

SAN ANGELO, Texas — Air Force Capt. Paul J. “Stuck” Barbour was known for his adventurous spirit.

Photos of Barbour shared on social media show the pilot smiling from the cockpits of several aircraft. Others have him jumping from waterfalled cliffs or diving into the waters of Guam.

In 2013, Barbour used Facebook to document a 5,000-mile trip to visit friends and family that began at Barksdale Air Force Base, Louisiana, trekked through Texas to the West Coast and returned on an eastbound route through Kansas before dipping down to Barksdale via Texas. He dubbed it Stuck’s All American Road Trip.

Air Force Capt. Paul J. "Stuck" Barbour

As news spread that Barbour, 32, was killed when a T-38C Talon crashed about 4 p.m. CT Monday near Lake Amistad, photos from the road trip resurfaced on social media as people posted their love and admiration for the pilot.

“You were more than a friend,” wrote Ricardo Lubinski VIII. “You were a mentor, a Devil, and a brother! I can’t express how much it hurts losing you. You will be missed and you will be remembered, always!”

The T-38C Talon crashed between subdivisions near Lake Amistad, which is roughly 14 miles northwest of Laughlin Air Force Base on the Texas-Mexico border.

The two-seat jet typically flies with an instructor and a student, but officials said the plane had two instructors. The other pilot, Capt. Joshua Hammervold, an instructor pilot for the 87th Flying Training Squadron, safely ejected and was treated and released from Val Verde Regional Medical Center.

Details about what led to the crash or why Barbour did not eject from the supersonic trainer jet have not been released pending investigation.

Barbour became an instructor pilot at the base about a year ago and was an Air Force pilot since 2009, according to his LinkedIn profile.

Barbour was the aircrew flight equipment commander with the 47th Operations Support Squadron and an instructor pilot with the 87th Flying Training Squadron. He was from Van Nuys, Calif., and is survived by his wife, mother, father and sister, a news release from Laughlin Air Force Base states.

On Tuesday, Laughlin Air Force Base said it was suspending flying operations to give base personnel time to grieve.

 “The Air Force is a close-knit family, and the loss of one of our own affects all of us. Please take a moment to look to your left and right, and if your teammates are struggling, assist in any way you can,” Col. Charlie Velino, 47th Flying Training Wing, commander, said in a statement posted Tuesday on Laughlin’s verified Facebook page. “I express my deepest condolences to the family of our fallen pilot … we share in the sorrow felt by loved ones, but we must not forget the valuable contribution to our country and the impact on our organization.”

The Air Force is “committed to conducting a thorough investigation of the events” leading to the crash, Velino said, adding “I guarantee you we are doing everything we can to investigate what happened and ways to prevent future incidents.”

In December 2005 a T-38 crashed outside Brackettville. Both pilots were able to eject and survived the crash, the result of the jet striking a vulture, which smashed through the plane’s canopy.

Source: USA Today article from November 22, 2017