Thomas P. Lufkin
Thomas Patrick Lufkin grew up in Gloucester MA and graduated from Gloucester High School in 1961. Tom was an outstanding high school hockey player and was inducted into the Gloucester High School Athletic Hall of Fame in 1996.
After graduating, Tom spent one year at New Preparatory School and in 1962 was accepted to Boston College with the Class of 1966. While at B.C., Tom was a member of the hockey team and played with his older brother Paul who graduated in 1964. Tom graduated from B.C. in 1966 with a B.S. degree in marketing.
In his senior year Tom was accepted for U.S. Navy Flight School. He entered active duty on September 21, 1966 at NAS Pensacola FL as a member of Aviation Officer Candidate School (AOCS) Class 37-66. On December 9, 1966 Tom was commissioned an Ensign, USNR and immediately began flight school.
Tom’s goal in flight school was to be selected to fly a tactical jet from the deck of an aircraft carrier. In March 1967, Tom’s flight and ground school grades earned him selection to the jet training pipeline. Jet training involved syllabi in 3 different jet aircraft that were progressively more advanced and challenging. Tom finished jet training and earned his Navy pilot wings in April 1968. His wings were pinned on by his wife Linda in a ceremony at NAS Kingsville TX.
Tom then received orders to Attack Squadron 42 (VA-42) at NAS Oceana, Virginia Beach VA for training in the A-6 Intruder, the Navy’s carrier based all weather attack bomber. Tom and Linda had been in Virginia Beach for about 2 months when Linda gave birth to their daughter Samantha on July 7, 1968.
Upon completion of training in VA-42 in the fall of 1968, Tom was assigned to his fleet squadron, Attack Squadron 35. VA-35 had recently returned to NAS Oceana from a Vietnam combat deployment aboard USS Enterprise and had begun training and workups for their next deployment, a return to Vietnam scheduled for September 1969 aboard USS Coral Sea.
On March 7, 1969 Tom launched in a VA-35 A-6 Intruder from Oceana on a training mission. An accident that day near Boydton, VA cost Tom Lufkin his life and forever changed the lives of all who knew and loved him, especially his wife Linda and 8 month old daughter Samantha.
I had the privilege of knowing Tom Lufkin for the last 5 years of his life as B.C. classmate, USN AOCS and flight school classmate and, most importantly, good friend. Tom was taken from us way too soon … his death still saddens me. He was a special human being. May he rest in peace.