Published November 02, 2017
Gerry Leo enlisted in the Air Force March 18, 1963, as an aircraft mechanic. During his active-duty time, Leo deployed twice from 1964 to 1965 to Clark Air Force Base in the Philippines to serve in Vietnam. Honorably separating from active duty in 1967, Leo joined the Air Force Reserve in 1971, working for the 914th Airlift Wing at Niagara Falls Air Reserve Station, New York. He worked as a C-130 aircraft mechanic for the wing until his transfer to the 328th Airlift Squadron in 1974, beginning his flying career. During the next 30 years, Leo flew more than 10,000 hours in the C-130 Hercules as the Chief Flight Engineer. Leo has served in five conflicts spanning from the Vietnam War to Operation Iraqi Freedom, even deploying with his son in support of Operation Desert Storm. Additionally, he has flown in support of several disaster relief operations to countries such as Venezuela, Honduras, Peru and Somalia. Leo also represented the reserve enlisted aircrew as a committee chairman to help recommend changes for the career fields to the AFRC commander. Although Leo separated in 2004 as a chief master sergeant, he still considers the Niagara Falls Air Reserve community his family.