Thursday, November 12, 2009

Louis G. Leiser Air Force Major General

Louis G. Leiser, 81, a retired Air Force major general who flew more than 100 combat missions during the Korean War and later became chief of staff for the NATO Allied Air Forces of Southern Europe, died of cardiopulmonary arrest Oct. 17 at his home in Fairfax City.

Gen. Leiser served more than 30 years in the Air Force before retiring in 1980. His final active-duty assignment was in Naples, Italy, at the former NATO Allied Forces Southern Europe Command, since reorganized as the Allied Joint Force Command Naples.

Earlier, he held an air defense command responsible for most of the Middle Western states and parts of Canada. He also held a variety of commands abroad, including posts in Greenland, Taiwan, the Philippines, Vietnam and Korea.

In 1961, Gen. Leiser was assigned to the Air Force Academy faculty as an instructor with the department of mechanics and as an associate professor with the department of astronautics. He used his background in astronautics to serve as the lead staff analyst on several defense systems.

His decorations included two awards of the Legion of Merit, the Distinguished Flying Cross, the Bronze Star Medal and four awards of the Air Medal.

Louis Gene Leiser, a native of Portland, Ore., grew up in Twin Falls, Idaho, and enlisted in the Army in 1945. He graduated in 1950 from the U.S. Military Academy at West Point, N.Y. In 1959, he received a master's degree in astronautical engineering from the Air Force Institute of Technology.

He settled in the Washington area in the mid-1980s.

His first marriage, to Barbara Nichols Leiser, ended in divorce.

Survivors include his second wife of 26 years, Lisa Nuener Leiser of Fairfax City; three children from his first marriage, Michael Leiser of Houston, Terri Gross of Fort Collins, Colo., and Larry Leiser of Tampa; and four grandchildren.

-- T. Rees Shapiro

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