Class Of 1964 USAF Academy

Frank's History

Gone But Not Forgotten

PackerSmall.jpg First Lieutenant Frank C. Packer, United States Air Force Academy Class of 1964, died in an F-104 accident near Homestead AFB, FL on 17 November 1966. He was survived by his wife Toni and a baby daughter.

Frank arrived at the Academy from Alexandria, VA. While at the Academy, he was a member of the 10th Cadet Squadron. He participated in gymnastics, baseball, banjo pickin' and general aviation while maintaining his hold on the Superintendent's List.

Frank was a good baseball player with a canon for an arm. He played centerfield for the Falcons and was always in full hustle mode. One time, a runner was stealing second base when catcher Al McArtor winged the ball over the head of pitcher Fred Olmsted and over the head of shortstop Darryl Bloodworth. Frank took the errant throw on one hop and gunned the runner out at third base. In the dugout, McArtor, Packer, and the infield guys thought that worked pretty well, so they devised a play and a signal. Runner breaks for second...ball goes to Packer...rifle to third...tag at third. Worked like a champ!

Upon graduation, Frank was assigned to Craig AFB, AL for Undergraduate Pilot Training in the T-37 and T-33. From there, he proceeded to Perrin AFB, TX for Air Defense Interceptor Training in the F-102 and T-33. There, he flew and partied with a number of Academy classmates, including Al McArtor, Al Tuck, Guy Dennis, John Jacobs, Jack Wojnaroski and Doug Jenkins. Frank was the proud owner of a slightly used WWII Stearman. While at Perrin, Frank would spend his weekends checking out old barns and hangars in the Sherman, TX area looking for parts for his old warbird.

After leaving Perrin, Frank reported to the 319th Fighter Interceptor Squadron at Homestead AFB, FL, where he checked out in the Starfighter. On the day of the accident, he was flying a routine mission in the F-104 but returned with bingo fuel. He flew an overhead pattern and in the base turn, his engine flamed out. He ejected and had a good chute. Nearing the ground, his parachute riser released and he fell about 25 feet. His survival kit had not been released, so it caused him to land hard... tail first. The impact broke his back and neck. Rescue was on the scene immediately, but Frank had died. It was a devastating loss for the 319th FIS and all of us who loved the guy.

(Doug Jenkins and Al McArtor, '64)
[ Home ] [ Table Of Contents ]