Retired July 1, 1984.
Major General Leighton R. Palmerton is commander, North Atlantic Treaty Organization Airborne Early Warning Force, Supreme Headquarters Allied Powers Europe, Belgium.
General Palmerton was born in Rapid City, S.D., where he graduated from high school in 1945. He attended the Naval Academy Preparatory School in Bainbridge, Md., for one year prior to entering the U.S. Naval Academy at Annapolis, Md., in June 1946. He graduated in 1950 with a bachelor of science degree and a commission in the Air Force. General Palmerton earned a master of science degree in electrical engineering (guidance and control) from the Air Force Institute of Technology, Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, Ohio, in 1960. He is also a graduate of the Air Command and Staff College, Maxwell Air Force Base, Ala., and the Army War College, Carlisle Barracks, Pa.
After flying training at Randolph and Reese Air Force bases, Texas, General Palmerton received his pilot wings in August 1951. He then reported to Mather Air Force Base, Calif., for duty as a mission pilot with the 3535th Bombardier Training Wing. From November 1952 to April 1955, he was an instructor pilot with the 3545th Pilot Training Wing at Goodfellow Air Force Base, Texas.
Following F-84 combat crew training in November 1955, General Palmerton left for Kadena Air Base, Okinawa. He served as a pilot with the 80th Fighter-Bomber Squadron then as assistant operations officer with the 12th Fighter-Bomber Squadron flying F-84s and F-100s. In May 1957 General Palmerton moved with his squadron to Clark Air Base, Philippines.
General Palmerton entered the Air Force Institute of Technology in July 1958. After graduation in April 1960, he became project engineer for the Central Inertial Guidance Test Facility at Holloman Air Force Base, N.M. He was program manager for laboratory and high-speed track evaluation of developmental inertial guidance systems for strategic missile weapon systems. Following this assignment he entered the Air Command and Staff College. After graduation in June 1964, he was assigned as staff development engineer in the Office of the Deputy Commander for Space at Headquarters Air Force Systems Command, Andrews Air Force Base, Md.
From January to June 1966, General Palmerton underwent F-100 combat crew training at Luke Air Force Base, Ariz. In July 1966 he become vice commander of the 510th Tactical Fighter Squadron at Bien Hoa Air Base, Republic of Vietnam, and in October 1966 become commander of the 416th Tactical Fighter Squadron at Bien Hoa Air Base. During this tour he flew 200 combat missions in the F-100.
When he returned to the United States in July 1967, General Palmerton entered the Army War College, graduating in June 1968. His next assignment was Headquarters U.S. Air Force in Washington, D.C., as chief, Southeast Asia Special Shedlight Projects in the Office of the Deputy Chief of Staff for Research and Development.
In May 1972 General Palmerton transferred to the San Antonio Air Logistics Center at Kelly Air Force Base, Texas, where he served in the Directorate of Materiel Management as chief of the Engine Management Division and later as chief, Logistics Systems Management Division.
From May 1974 to June 1976, he was assigned as the director of materiel management for the Oklahoma City Air Logistics Center at Tinker Air Force Base, Okla. In June 1976 he become the center's vice commander, a position he held until his transfer to the Pentagon a year later.
In June 1977 he become deputy director for planning and resources, J-4, Organization of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Washington, D.C. He was assigned to Headquarters U.S. Air Force in September 1979 as deputy director for North Atlantic Treaty Organization Airborne Warning and Control Systems Matters, Office of the Deputy Chief of Staff, Operations Plans and Readiness. He assumed his present position in January 1980.
General Palmerton is a command pilot with more than 6,000 flying hours. His Military decorations and awards include the Defense Superior Service Medal, Legion of Merit, Distinguished Flying Cross, Bronze Star Medal, Meritorious, Service Medal with oak leaf cluster, Air Medal with 10 oak leaf clusters, Air Force Commendation Medal and the Presidential Unit Citation emblem.
He was promoted to major general July 1, 1979, with date of rank Sept. 1, 1975.