Retired Aug. 1, 1969.
Brigadier General Leo Austin Kiley is the commander of the Office of Aerospace Research, a separate operating agency of the U.S. Air Force. OAR is responsible for planning, programming and managing the basic research program and a portion of the exploratory development program of the Air Force. OAR's objective is to increase the fund of scientific knowledge and to analyze advanced concepts which may increase the Air Force's ability to develop superior aerospace weapons systems. Liaison is maintained with members of the scientific community of the United States and other nations throughout the world.
He was born in Boston, Mass., in 1918. He earned his bachelor of science degree in chemical engineering at Massachusetts Institute of Technology in 1939 and his doctoral degree in nuclear chemistry at Ohio State University in 1952. He also accomplished graduate studies in meteorology at MIT during 1940-41 and attended the Air Force Command and Staff School in 1949.
He completed the Reserve Officers Training Corps Program at MIT and was commissioned a second lieutenant, Ordnance Department, U.S. Army, in May 1939. In July 1941, after nine months training in the Aviation Cadet (Meteorology) Program, he was transferred to the Army Air Corps and served as weather officer at Mitchel Field, N.Y., and later at Bradley Field, Conn. He next served as base weather officer at Presque Isle Army Air Field, Maine, and later as assistant regional control officer of the 8th Weather Region. In 1945 he became commander of the 28th Mobile Weather Squadron, Seymour Johnson Field, N.C. Later that year he served as commander of the 8th Weather Squadron, with headquarters at Grenier Field, N.Y., and then at Westover Field, Mass.
His next assignment was an oversea tour in Okinawa and the Philippine Islands, from February to December 1947, as commander of the 15th Weather Squadron. In 1948 he organized Hickam Air Force Base Weather Central on Hawaii and served as its commander until June 1949. He next attended the Air Force Command and Staff School, Maxwell Air Force Base, Ala., after which he became chief of plans and operations, Continental Weather Wing, at Tinker Air Force Base, Okla. From June 1950 to 1952 he attended Ohio State University as an Air Force Institute of Technology student and earned a doctorate in nuclear chemistry.
From January 1953 through July 1954 General Kiley was assigned to the Atomic Warfare Directorate of the Air Force Cambridge Research Center at L.G. Hanscom Field, Mass., where he served as chief of the Programs Branch and subsequently as the deputy director. He next was transferred to the Air Force Special Weapons Center at Kirtland Air Force Base, N.M., where he helped organize the Research Directorate's Biophysics Division as its deputy chief, becoming chief of the division in 1957. He was awarded the Legion of Merit for his work with the division, which involved defining personnel hazards associated with radiation from nuclear weapons.
In 1959 General Kiley was transferred to Field Command, Defense Atomic Support Agency, Sandia Base, N.M., as assistant deputy chief of staff, Weapons Effects and Tests Group, and later served as deputy chief of staff. In that position, he managed the nuclear weapons effects tests programs in Nevada and Pacific areas. During 1963-1964 General Kiley managed all Department of Defense weapons effects tests at the Nevada and Pacific test sites, the last series of U.S. nuclear tests in the atmosphere before the current nuclear test ban treaty. He also played a major role in formulating plans for the nation's present underground nuclear test program. He was awarded a second Legion of Merit for his work with the Defense Atomic Support Agency.
In July 1963, General Kiley was assigned to the Air Force Cambridge Research Laboratories, Office of Aerospace Research, as vice commander and subsequently as commander. General Kiley served from November 1965 until July 1967 as commander of the Air Force Missile Development Center at Holloman Air Force Base, N.M., and during that time was responsible for the management and support of all Air Force testing conducted at Holloman and the White Sands Missile Range.
In July 1967 General Kiley assumed duties as deputy director of development, Deputy Chief of Staff, Research and Development, at Headquarters U.S. Air Force; and in January 1968 he became commander of the Office of Aerospace Research.
The New Mexico State University conferred the honorary degree of doctor of laws upon General Kiley in May 1967. He is listed in Leaders of American Science, Who's Who in Space, and American Men of Science. He is also a member of Sigma Xi, Health Physics Society and the Research Society of America.