Retired Oct. 1, 1984.
Lieutenant General Howard W. Leaf is assistant vice chief of staff, Headquarters U.S. Air Force, Washington, D.C. He also serves as senior Air Force representative, U.S. Delegation to the Military Staff Committee, United Nations.
General Leaf earned a bachelor of science degree in geophysical engineering from the Colorado School of Mines in 1950, and a master's degree in geophysics from St. Louis University in 1955. He graduated from the Air Command and Staff College at Maxwell Air Force Base, Ala., in 1961, and the Industrial College of the Armed Forces, Fort Lesley J. McNair, Washington, D.C., in 1969.
In August 1950 General Leaf entered pilot training as an aviation cadet and graduated in September 1951. He then attended F-80 combat crew training at Nellis Air Force Base, Nev. Following training he was assigned as a pilot with the 44th Fighter-Bomber Squadron, 18th Fighter-Bomber Group at Clark Field, Republic of the Philippines, from January to March 1952, when he transferred to South Korea. While in South Korea he flew 102 missions in F-80s with the 8th Tactical Fighter Wing, and 100 missions in F-86 Sabrejets with the 25th Squadron of the 51st Tactical Fighter Wing.
General Leaf returned to the United States in July 1953 and completed his graduate studies at St. Louis University. In March 1955 he was assigned as a test pilot with the Air Proving Ground Command at Eglin Air Force Base, Fla. He remained there until September 1960 when he entered the Air Command and Staff College.
Following graduation in September 1961, General Leaf joined the Air Force Office of Scientific Research in Washington, D.C., as a geophysicist. He then moved to Spangdahlern Air Base, Germany, in January 1965 to become operations officer for the 8th Tactical Fighter Squadron, 49th Tactical Fighter Wing.
He went to Thailand in March 1966 and served as operations officer and later commander of the 333rd Tactical Fighter Squadron, 355th Tactical Fighter Wing at Takhli Royal Thai Air Force Base.
The general transferred to Air Force headquarters in October 1966 where he served in various capacities in the Office of the Deputy Chief of Staff for Research and Development. He entered the Industrial College of the Armed Forces in August 1968 and, following graduation in June 1969, returned to the Office of the Deputy Chief of Staff for Research and Development as chief of the Southeast Asia Projects Division.
In March 1971 General Leaf was appointed vice commander and later commander of the 1st Tactical Fighter Wing, MacDill Air Force Base, Fla. From November 1971 to May 1973, he was the assistant deputy chief of staff for requirements for Tactical Air Command at Langley Air Force Base, Va. He was then assigned as commander of the 366th Tactical Fighter Wing, Mountain Home Air Force Base, Idaho, and in July 1974 he returned to Headquarters Tactical Air Command at Langley as the deputy chief of staff for requirements. General Leaf commanded the Air Force Test and Evaluation Center at Kirtland Air Force Base, N.M., from October 1976 to May 1980. The general then returned to Washington, D.C., as inspector general of the Air Force. He assumed his present duties in July 1983.
General Leaf is a command pilot with 5,600 flying hours, including 321 combat missions and nearly 600 combat hours. His military decorations and awards include the Distinguished Service Medal, Silver Star with oak leaf cluster, Legion of Merit with oak leaf cluster, Distinguished Flying Cross with oak leaf cluster, Meritorious Service Medal, Air Medal with 15 oak leaf clusters, Air Force Commendation Medal with oak leaf cluster, Presidential Unit Citation Emblem and Air Force Outstanding Unit Award Ribbon with two oak leaf clusters. General Leaf was the 1978 recipient of the Zuckert Management Award.
He was promoted to lieutenant general June 1, 1980, with same date of rank.