Retired June 1, 1980.
Major General LeRoy W. Svendsen Jr., serves in a dual capacity as assistant deputy chief of staff, manpower and personnel for military personnel, Headquarters U.S. Air Force, and commander, Air Force Manpower and Personnel Center, Randolph Air Force Base, Texas. He is a key member of the Air Staff and is responsible for the overall force distribution and management of all Air Force military personnel except general officers. Included are such functions as assignments, promotions, recreation activities, retirements and separations for more than half a million Air Force men and women.
General Svendsen has seen combat action in two wars, flown as a test pilot, performed in a variety of command and operations staff positions, and served as defense attache in two critical posts. He received national recognition in 1957 when he piloted an F-102 in the Bendix Air Race and again in 1968 when he flew the historically famous Pima Paisano B-24 aircraft from India to the United States. The famed World War II aircraft is now on display at the Tucson Air Museum.
General Svendsen's combat record includes fighter missions and forward air controller duties in both Korea and Vietnam. He flew 114 F-80C fighter-bomber missions over North Korea in 1950-51 and served as a FAC with the Army's 35th Infantry Regiment, 25th Infantry Division. Deployed to Vietnam during the Southeast Asia conflict in 1963 and again in 1965-66 with the 1st Air Commando Wing, he flew 124 strike missions in AT-28 air commando aircraft and was later elected to the Air Commando Hall of Fame. He also served as a FAC with the Special Forces "A" Team in war zone "D." He had returned a third time to Vietnam and was serving as assistant defense attache in Saigon when the city come under siege. He was among the last to leave in the final evacuation, April 29, 1975.
General Svendsen is a command pilot with more than 6,000 flying hours, mostly in fighter aircraft, and an airborne parachutist.
Born in 1928, in Chicago, Ill., he entered the Air Force in 1948 via the aviation cadet program. He completed pilot training at Williams Air Force Base, Ariz., and was commissioned in February 1949. His initial assignment was with the 335th Fighter Squadron, Langley Air Force Base, Va., as a fighter pilot. After the North Korean invasion of South Korea, General Svendsen volunteered and was reassigned in 1950 to the 41st Fighter Squadron, Johnson Air Base, Japan, and, later, as a flight commander to the 8th Fighter-Bomber Squadron, Taegu Air Base, Korea.
Returning to the United States in 1951, General Svendsen served with the 166th Fighter-Interceptor Squadron, Lockbourne Air Force Base, Ohio, then the 62d Fighter-Interceptor Squadron, O'Hare Air Force Base, Ill., as fighter pilot, operations officer, flight commander air commander and executive officer. In 1956 he participated in the test program for the F-102 "Delta Dagger" at the U.S. Air Force Flight Test Center. From 1956 to 1959 he was flight commander and later air operations officer, 323d Fighter-Interceptor Squadron, Truax Field, Wis.
He was chief, Fighter-Interceptor Branch, Headquarters Fifth Air Force, Fuchu Air Station, Japan, 1959-62. Assigned to Eglin Air Force Base, Fla., 1962-66, he served as chief, standardization evaluation, 1st Air Commando Group, commander, 6th Fighter Squadron, and director of operations, 1st Air Commando Wing. He was elected to the Air Commandos Hall of Fame at Eglin in 1966 after his second combat tour in Southeast Asia.
General Svendsen served at the Pentagon, 1966-70, first as a plans officer in the Warfare Division, Directorate of Plans, Headquarters U.S. Air Force, and 1ater in the Office of the Secretary of the Air Force as liaison officer for the U.S. House of Representatives.
After attending the Army War College, 1970-71, he was assigned to Laredo Air Force Base, Texas, as deputy commander for operations and, later, commander, 38th Flying Training Wing. He was assistant deputy chief of staff for operations, Headquarters Air Training Command, Randolph Air Force Base, Texas, 1972-74, and commander, 29th Flying Training Wing, Craig Air Force Base, Ala., 1974-75.
General Svendsen was appointed defense attache to Egypt, with office at the U.S. Embassy in Cairo, in 1975 and served in that capacity until he assumed his current position in July 1977.
The Air Force Manpower and Personnel Center commander is a 1965 graduate of Florida State University with a bachelor of science degree in industrial management and a 1971 graduate of the Army War College.
His military decorations and awards include the Distinguished Service Medal, Legion of Merit, Distinguished Flying Cross, Bronze Star Medal, Meritorious Service Medal, Air Medal with nine oak leaf clusters, Air Force Commendation Medal with oak leaf cluster, and Air Force Outstanding Unit Award.
He was promoted to the grade of major general on Aug. 1, 1977, with date of rank July 1, 1974.