Retired Sep. 1, 1982.
Brigadier General Leland K. Lukens is director of aerospace safety, Air Force Inspection and Safety Center, Norton Air Force Base, Calif. He has worldwide responsibility for development and implementation of policies, standards and procedures for all Air Force safety except nuclear. The Aerospace Safety Directorate's mission is to conserve aerospace resources by preventing mishaps. The center is a separate operating agency and a function of the U.S. Air Force inspector general.
General Lukens was born in 1932, in Carthage, Ind., and graduated from Poughkeepsie (N.Y.) High School. In 1953 he earned an associate degree in engineering construction from Delhi University in New York. He received a bachelor's degree in general education from the University of Omaha, Neb., in 1966 and a master's degree in political science from Auburn (Ala.) University in 1969. He is a graduate of Squadron Officer School and Air Command and Staff College, both located at Maxwell Air Force Base, Ala.
The general enlisted in the Air Force as an airman basic in October 1953 and was awarded the American Spirit of Honor Medal. He was appointed an aviation cadet in December 1953 and completed primary pilot training at Morana, Ariz., in September 1954. He completed basic pilot training at Laredo Air Force Base, Texas, and was commissioned a second lieutenant in March 1955.
From March 1955 to December 1955, General Lukens attended specialized fighter pilot training at Laughlin Air Force Base, Texas, and Nellis Air Force Base, Nev. From January 1956 to November 1956, he was a member of the 53rd Fighter Day Squadron, Bitburg Air Base, Germany, where he flew F-86Fs and F-100s. He transferred with the 53rd Tactical Fighter Squadron to Ramstein Air Base, Germany, in December 1956 where he flew F-100C's for three more years. He was assigned to Luke Air Force Base, Ariz., in January 1960 as a tactical fighter instructor pilot until August 1964.
In September 1964 he volunteered for a tour of duty in Southeast Asia and received training in A-1E Skyraiders at Hurlburt Field, Fla. He was then assigned to the 1st Air Commando Squadron, Bien Hoa Air Base, Republic of Vietnam, where he flew 272 combat missions.
General Lukens returned to the United States in January 1966, entered the Air Force Bootstrap Program at the University of Omaha and completed his bachelor's degree in July 1966. From August 1966 to August 1968, he was assigned to the 353rd Tactical Fighter Squadron, Torrejon Air Base, Spain, flying F-100D's.
In August 1968 General Lukens was selected to attend Air Command and Staff College. While there he completed his master of political science degree. From August 1969 to August 1972, he was a member of the 9th Air Force Inspector General Team at Shaw Air Force Base, S.C., where he inspected Air National Guard and Air Force Reserve units in the eastern United States.
In September 1972 he again volunteered for a tour of duty in Southeast Asia. He was assigned as the operations officer, then squadron commander of the 13th Tactical Fighter Squadron, Udorn Royal Thai Air Force Base, Thailand. General Lukens flew another 88 combat missions in F-4D and E Phantom IIs, completing the last two months of his assignment as assistant deputy commander for operations of the 432nd Tactical Fighter Wing.
From January 1974 to March 1975, he was assigned to Headquarters U.S. Air Forces in Europe, Tactical Plans Division, Ramstein Air Base. In March 1975 he became deputy commander for resource management for the 81st Tactical Fighter Wing at Royal Air Force Station Bentwaters, England, and in February 1976 become deputy commander for operations.
In December 1976 General Lukens joined the command's inspector general team. He was operations and safety inspection division chief until May 1977. He then became director of inspection and operational readiness inspection team chief.
General Lukens moved to Spangdahlem Air Base, Germany, in June 1978 where he commanded the 52nd Tactical Fighter Wing. He assumed his present duties in February 1980.
The general is a command pilot with more than 5,400 flying hours. His military decorations and awards include the Legion of Merit, Distinguished Flying Cross, Air Medal with six oak leaf clusters and Air Force Commendation Medal with three oak leaf clusters.
He was promoted to brigadier general Sept. 8, 1980, with date of rank Aug. 31, 1980.