leeker-8-200.jpg (25132 bytes)Col Robert Leeker, USAF ret.
Honorary Member Of The Dawn Patrol

As Colonel Leeker said to me, “I LIVED MY DREAM.”

He enlisted in the Air Force right out of high school. His first specialty was as  an Electronic Navigation Systems Specialist. He was attached to the 131 Tactical Fighter Wing, Lambert Airport, St. Louis.  At the 131 TFW he worked on F100s, T-33s, and a C-47 (DC-3).
While in basic training at Lackland AFB and Keesler AFB, he was around aircraft routinely, which made him think, “I would rather be flying those aircraft then working on them.” He researched what it would take for him to be a pilot. He did not have any college under his belt, nor did he have any flying under his belt.  He did both and was eventually selected to become an officer and go to Undergraduate Pilot at Reese AFB, Lubbock, Texas…..in West “by-God” Texas. His graduating class from UPT was 78-05, which means he graduated in May 1978.  He then went to a series of survival schools; water survival at Homestead AFB, Florida, and ground survival training at Fairchild AFB, Washington.

Then he was off to F-4 training (Replacement Training Unit) at MacDill AFB, Florida.  He returned to fly F-4Cs with his unit at Lambert in April of 1979.  Logging approximately 2200 hours in the F-4C, F-4D, and F4-E.  During those 12 years of flying the F-4C He went to USAF Fighter Weapons Instructor Course, had multiple ocean crossings and deployments to Europe.
In April of 1991 he converted to the F-15C at Tyndall AFB, Florida.  He flew the F-15C until Feb 2009 and logged approximately 1500 hours in the F-15C.  During the F-15C portion of his career, he became a Flight Commander, then the 110th Fighter Squadron Commander, then the 131st Operations Group Commander, the 131st Fighter Wing Vice Wing Commander and eventually the 131st Fighter Wing Commander.  

In April of 2005 the 131st FW learned that it would lose its F-15Cs through the Base Realignment and Closure Process of the Pentagon. Bob became the 131st FW commander in August of 2005, so he inherited a BRAC’d unit.  Later on, the 131st FW gained the B-2 mission.  It became an Associated Unit with the 509th Bomb Wing at Whiteman AFB.  Then it would become the 131st Bomb Wing. In March of 2009 Bob converted to the B-2, as a Basic Mission Capable pilot. He says it was a great aircraft to fly. He’s very proud that he was able to fly the F-4 Phantom, the F-15C Eagle, and the B-2 Stealth Bomber.  

In 2007 Bob volunteered to go to Iraq and was sent to Kirkuk Regional Air Base, Iraq as the Base Commander.  The base had about 5000 personnel on it, to include the 3rd Infantry Combat Brigade from Schofield Barracks in Hawaii, the 2nd/6 Cavalry flying Kiowa Warriors, Shadow UAVs, multiple support entities and numerous “clandestine organizations,” During this deployment he earned the Bronze Star for ground combat operations with encroaching enemy forces. He became an honorary cavalryman and was given gold combat spurs at Kirkuk.  He wears them at times in honor of our fallen heroes.

Bob’s most proud of the fact that he went from being an enlisted person within the 131stTactical Fighter Wing, to becoming the 131st Fighter Wing Commander and the 131st Bomb Wing Commander.  Bob served in the U.S. Air Force for a total time of approximately 38.5 years and flew approximately 4500 hours. During his career he flew the following aircraft: Military Aircraft: T-37, T-38, F-4C, F-4D, F-4E, C-131D, C-12 (King Air), F-15C, B-2. Civilian Aircraft: Cessna 150, Cessna 172, Bonanza N35.

All the photos below are thumbnails. Click on the image for a much larger image.

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Col. Leeker's last flight on his retirement was as pilot on a B-2 Stealth Bomber.

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Airman Basic picture taken in 1971 while at Keesler AFB Mississippi attending Electronics Training Course.
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Chris Boehlein and Bob before a B-2 flight from Whiteman.  Chris was Bob's crew chief in the F-15.
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131 BW maintenance personnel and Bob before a B-2 flight from Whiteman.
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Bill Rupp, WWII Veteran and close friend, in front of the St. Peter's, Mo, Veterans Memorial where Bill had dedicated a bench to me for my many speaking engagements at the Memorial recognizing Veterans on National Holidays.
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Capt Josh Tyler (USAF) and Bob, at Kirkuk Regional Air Base, Iraq 2007, presenting me his squadron's EOD flag for my support to his EOD troops.
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Member of 2/6 CAV and Bob in front of a Kiowa Warrior, Kirkuk RAB 2007, after an orientation flight of the base and local flight.
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Baghdad on Saddam's Parade Ground during a trip to the Green Zone.  The swords were on both ends of the parade route in front of Saddam's reviewing stand. 
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Memorial across from Kirkuk RAB headquarters honoring those Iraqi military who died in a bunker below the Memorial from US bombing during 2nd Gulf War.
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Passing the champagne bottle after Bob's F-15 fini-flight, Feb 2009.
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Hero Pics after Bob's check ride in the B-2, 2009.
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Hero Pics after Bob's check ride in the B-2, 2009.
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F-4 formation takeoff at Lambert Field, Missouri.
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4-ship flyover of the Arch with Bob in the 3rd aircraft from the top, a/c 143
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Fini-flight pulling into chocks Feb 2009.
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On Blackhawk, with full "battle rattle", before takeoff for Baghdad, 2007.
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Chris Boehlein and Bob in front of F-15A, a/c 113, before Bob flew it to the boneyard.
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Lt Col Gordy Kimpel and Bob in front of a MIG-29 Fulcrum, Germany, after an air-air combat sortie with 2 MIG-29s.
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Lt Robert Leeker T-38 pilot training hero shot at Reese AFB, Texas, 1978.