After less than two years of high school, Leonard’s mother told him to join the Army, and he did at the young age of 16. Once at Fort Dix he was told he was now in the Army Air Corps and began that job by washing pots and pans. He was sent to electronics school in Florida, and while he awaited orders a hurricane struck the area, destroying the air field completely. All military personnel were sent home for a short furlough before being given new orders. 

About Leonard

BRANCH OF SERVICE: Army Air Corps, Air Force

HOMETOWN: Hoboken, N.J.

YEARS SERVED: July 1946 to February 1953

 

JOINING SERVICE

After less than two years of high school, Leonard’s mother told him to join the Army, and he did at the young age of 16. Once at Fort Dix he was told he was now in the Army Air Corps and began that job by washing pots and pans. He was sent to electronics school in Florida, and while he awaited orders a hurricane struck the area, destroying the air field completely. All military personnel were sent home for a short furlough before being given new orders.  

Leonard went home to Hoboken, N.J., then took a train to San Francisco where he boarded a troop ship with several thousand others heading for the Occupation in Japan. Stopping in Manila Harbor, Philippines, to let soldiers off, the next stop was in Guam, where they picked up a few hundred Japanese prisoners to take back to Japan.

RADIO REPAIR

Leonard was assigned to a radio repair shop and worked on the radar equipment while also flying different aircraft operating radar altimeters. On one flight he landed in Korea to deliver supplies to the troops. There was more schooling for Leonard, and he was sent to a university south of Tokyo for more radar training directed at maintenance. Once graduating from the university, Leonard traveled  to different radar sites doing maintenance and returning to the U.S. in the fall of 1949. By now the Army Air Corps was the new Air Force. Leonard says his most special memory in Japan was visiting the town of Hiroshima and seeing the devastation left from the bombing. The city was completely destroyed, and that was a sight to forget. 

RE-ENLISTMENT

Leonard was soon discharged, but wanting more of the schooling and military life, he re-enlisted for another three years. Schooling was important to Leonard because he felt he needed to make up for the lost years of high school. He learned quickly and was good at his job. Once home again he was able to travel from New Jersey to California to visit his sister, who had also joined the Air Force. He was soon traveling around the states to repair radar equipment and install early warning radar sites. The atomic weapons were still being produced and tested, and his job was to work on the mechanics of the bomb.

CIVILIAN LIFE

The Air Force sent him to New Mexico for three years, where he met his future wife, who wanted him to leave the service, so in 1953 he took his discharge and was accepted at the University of New Mexico under the G.I. Bill. Leonard graduated in 1959 with a Bachelor of Science degree in education.

He spent 31 years working for Sandia National Laboratories traveling across the country, when one of those trips sent him to Bendix in Kansas City. Retiring in 1988 he came back to this area and joined the RLDS which would become the Community of Christ Church.  He now serves as chaplain at the Groves with his third wife, Inis, also a chaplain.