Wilson and Darlene Flagg, both 63, were high school sweethearts in Long Beach. They got married after Wilson graduated from the U.S. Naval Academy, the start of a long and mostly distinguished career in which he rose to the rank of rear admiral.
Bud and Dee, as their many friends called them, were attending the 40th reunion of his academy class in Annapolis before getting on Flight 77. They split their time between a Las Vegas residence and a cattle ranch in Virginia.
Wilson Flagg retired from the Navy in 1995.
He flew an F-8 Crusader supersonic jets in Vietnam, logging more hours on the aircraft than any other pilot, and flew photo reconnaissance missions after the war.
He became a rear admiral in 1987, posted at the Pentagon as one of the top officers for the Naval Reserve. It was in that capacity that he was tarnished by the sex harassment scandal at the 1991 Tailhook conference, named after the device the catches planes landing on an aircraft carrier. He organized the conference.
Leo Willetts, a close friend and Navy colleague, said the scandal didn't diminish the rear admiral's love of the service.
"If you met them, you were friends with them for life," Willetts said. "They had a gift for friendship."