Jack L. Francisco
USAF Retired Fighter Pilot and Active Test Pilot. Passed away unexpectedly at home on Tuesday the 19th of March, 2013 He was born on the 30th of March, 1935 in Fayetteville, NC. He is survived by his loving wife of 56 years, Helen and his son, Brian and daughter, Linda Matthews; brother, Bob Francisco and his wife, Nancy of Wichita, KS; granddaughter, Terrah Stanley; grandsons, Mark Gallagher and Tyee Matthews; great-grandsons, Tyler Gallagher, Joseph Jr. and Jack Stanley; great-granddaughter, Savannah Gallagher; brother-in-law, George White; grandson-in-law, SSgt Joseph Stanley of the USAF. He was preceded in death by his daughter, Debbie. He entered the service as a USAF Aviation Cadet in 1955 and graduated in the top ten of his class as a 2nd Lt., in single engine, single seat jet fighter pilot in 1956. He attended advanced Aerial Combat training flying the F-84 at Luke AFB Arizona and then began a 22 year career flying many of the most advanced fighter aircraft of the era; the F-86, the F-100, the F-105, and the A-7. During this career he and his family traveled to, and lived at various bases in the United States, Europe and the Far East. Jack was a pilot assigned to the first squadron equipped with the F-105 Thunderchiefs at Eglin AFB. Eventually he would be assigned to Kadena AFB on the island of Okinawa and proceed from there on to Thailand and engage in the very first Air Force attacks into the hostile air space of North Vietnam. He would continue flying combat until completing 100 missions in South East Asia. During this time he was awarded numerous decorations including The Distinguished Flying Cross, The Air Force Commendation Medal for Meritorious Service, and multiple Air Metals. He would later return to the combat zone representing the Davis Monthan 355TFW at Korat Thailand flying the A-7 into the final months of the conflict. He retired from the Air Force in 1976 and began another completed career as a productions test pilot with the Learjet Company in Wichita, KS. He was in the initial team that began operations here in Tucson as an aircraft completion center, as well as a production facility building and testing new aircraft, in addition he became a Designated Engineering Test Pilot for the FAA- in which he was responsible for the introduction and safe operator of new components to existing aircraft. Jack continued in these activities as well as worldwide delivery and testing of Learjet's right up to the week before his passing. He was an active member of various groups and organizations. He was a senior member of the St. Mary's Men's Group, The Centurions, and The Red River Rat Fighter Pilots Association, Barstoolers, and the Super Saber Society. Jack was an avid golfer and a member of Saguaro Men's Golf Associations. He setup and worked many golf events. Jack was a very kind and compassionate person to everyone with very high integrity. He will be missed by all. Services will be held for Jack and his family and many friends at the St. Pius X Church, 1800 N. Camino Pio Decimo at 2:00 p.m. Thursday, March 28, 2013. In lieu of flowers, Donations in Jack L. Francisco's memory can be made to "The RRVA Association", or the "Wounded Warriors Project", P.O. Box 758517 Topeka, KS 66675-8541, or the "Catholic Community Services Foundation", c/o St. Pius X Church, 1800 N. Camino Pio Decimo, Tucson, AZ 85715. Arrangements are being made by the ADAIR FUNERAL HOMES, Dodge Chapel.