In Memory

Matthew John LaCourse

Matthew John LaCourse - 1974

US Air Force Academy 1978- Matty - CS-31 Engineering Sciences

October 2012 - Reached 2,000 flying hours in the F-4 Phantom II, a milestone many pilots rarely accomplish.

Retired Air Force Lt. Col. Matthew J. LaCourse was identified Saturday, Nov. 8, 2014, as the pilot killed when an F-16 crashed into the Gulf of Mexico on Thursday, Nov. 6, 2014.

TYNDALL AIR FORCE BASE, Florida — Air Force officials have identified the pilot who was killed in an F-16 fighter jet crash.

Officials said late Friday that Air Force civilian pilot Matthew J. LaCourse, 58, of Panama City Beach was piloting the jet when it crashed into the Gulf of Mexico on Thursday, killing LaCourse.

LaCourse was assigned to the 82nd Aerial Targets Squadron at Tyndall Air Force Base. He graduated from the U.S. Air Force Academy in 1978 and retired from the Air Force in 2000 as a lieutenant colonel.

LaCourse's body was recovered Thursday after officials lost contact with the jet while it was on a routine training mission over the Gulf of Mexico.



In Memory - Lt.Col. Matt “Curse” LaCourse, USAF Retired

published on Mon, 11/17/2014 - 12:18


Lt.Colonel Matt “Curse” LaCourse, USAF Retired, a 1978 graduate of the USAF Academy and former Commanding Officer of the 82nd Aerial Targets Squadron (ATRS) from 1997 through 1999, Tyndall AFB Florida, was lost in an aviation incident November 6, 2014 during a routine air-to-air mission over the Gulf of Mexico between his F-16 and a QF-4 Phantom II.

Both aircraft were assigned to the 82nd ATRS.  Upon his graduation from the USAF Academy, Lt.Col. LaCourse served twenty-two years with the U.S. Air Force.

Following his retirement in 2000, he remained with the 82nd ATRS as a civilian contract pilot.

This tragic incident came just two weeks after the 82nd ATRS hosted PhanCon 2014, the F-4 Phantom II Society 's annual PhanCon Reunion, at Panama City, Florida. The 82nd Squadron officer and civilian staff members played a significant role towards the success of PhanCon 2014, both on base and at our reunion site.

On November 12, 2014 the 82nd ATRS Squadron conducted an “all hands” base-wide “CELEBRATION HONORING THE LIFE OF MATTHEW J. “CURSE” LaCOURSE”. Scheduled for 1500 hours, friends, family, squadron mates and civilian and military personnel of every rank from across Tyndall AFB, began arriving at 1400, with the attendees numbering around one thousand or more.

The F-4 Phantom II Society was represented by Society member Col. Roger J. Mills, USAF Retired, a career 2,000+ hour Phantom WSO.

Before the event was officially underway Col. Mills met with 82nd Squadron Commander, Lt.Col. Ryan Inman along with Vinnie Farrell a former 82nd  ATRS member and Dave Burke 82nd Operations Officer.

The two former F-4/QF-4 pilots were the event Masters of Ceremony and expressed the F-4 Phantom II Society’s sense of grief over the loss of Lt. Col. LaCourse. 

Col.Mills met with Mrs. Tina LaCourse, expressing the Society’s support for her and the family and how much Lt. Col. LaCourse meant to the Society for his outstanding contributions to the F-4 Phantom II's legacy. A written note to that effect was placed in the “Diary” circulated among the guests who were asked to provide their thoughts to the family.

When the Ceremony began, Dave Burke introduced himself and Vinnie Farrell to the attendees.  Burke acknowledged the F-4 Phantom II Society as a friendly force that has been a strong advocate for the 82nd and its mission over many years. Following this statement Col. Roger Mills (USAF Ret) was introduiced as the Phantom Society member present to help honor their fallen comrade.

Following a short invocation, Dave Burke explained the rest of the evening was a celebration of Lt. Col. LaCourse’s life and accomplishments and provided his RULES OF ENGAGEMENT for the evening by beginning a series of stories and anecdotes by attending friends that lasted long into the evening.... with the required “toast” following each tale!

Godspeed Lt. Colonel LaCourse.




  Post Comment

11/10/14 09:27 AM #1    

Janet Lynn Ferrell (Graham)

  Post Comment