Capt. David E. Leue, USN (Ret.)

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David Leue’ entered the Navy in 1946 when he was accepted into the Aviation Midshipman program. After two years at the University of Buffalo and a year and a half of flight training at Pensacola and Corpus Christi, where he flew the SNJ-4, F4U-4 Corsair, he received his designation as a Naval Aviator in November 1949. He would look out as he was flying and think to himself," I can't believe I'm doing this. It's the greatest thing that has happened to me." He reported to Fighter Squadron 24 and participated in three Korean combat cruises 1950 through 1952, flying one hundred combat missions in the F4U-4 Corsair, and F9F-2 Panther, from the carriers USS BOXER, USS VALLEY FORGE, and USS PHILIPPINE SEA.
At his first shore duty tour at Pt. Mugu, California, he was involved in the development of the Navy's first cruise missile, the Regulus. There he flew the F2H-2, TV-2, F9F-2, and F9F-6 Cougar. He then reported to Chincoteague, Virginia, where he became the Officer in Charge of the first Atlantic Fleet Regulus Assault Missile Detachment. He subsequently deployed to the Mediterranean aboard USS RANDOLPH flying the FJ-3 Fury. After this tour, he was ordered to the University of California at Berkeley where he received his bachelor degree in Physics in 1959.
He began flying the A4 Skyhawk in 1962. He served as Operations Officer with Attack Squadron 81 aboard USS FORESTAL during two Mediterranean cruises and then received orders to the Armed Forces Staff College. Then Leue' served as Executive Officer and Commanding Officer of Attack Squadron 153 aboard USS CORAL SEA and USS CONSTELLATION during combat operations against North Vietnam. During this time he developed tactics for effective night attacks on North Vietnamese supply trucks, which involved flying low under flares in unfamiliar terrain. Leue's reasoning was, "It was absolutely safer to go low at night than in the daytime, if you could overcome your fear of the hills and the dark. We burned many trucks. They would spray tracers from automatic weapons, which looked spectacular. We would jink, that is rapidly change direction, which gave us some protection." His philosophy was, "If I've got to go I'm ready to go today. I put everything else out of my mind and tried to concentrate on what I was doing and exclude everything else." He fought for the millions who didn't want to be communist. This attitude and the Good Lord helped him safely complete a total of 335 combat missions in Korea and Vietnam.
After his combat cruises, he served as Commander Attack Carrier Air Wing 7 aboard USS INDEPENDENCE and flew the F4J during this time. His last
carrier landing as CAG was July 22,1970 with VF-33 off of Naples, Italy in the F4J. From 1970-1972 he served as the Assistant for Tactical Air Plans on the Staff of Chief of Naval Operations at the Pentagon in Washington, D.C. From October 1972 to March 1974 he served as Captain of the USS CANISTEO, a replenishment ship, whose main mission was to supply fuel, stores and ammunition to the fleet. It also handled all kinds of cargo from small stores to heavy machinery. During his tour as Captain, USS CANISTEO received two Engineering Excellence Awards and two Battle Efficiency Awards.
After a tour on USS Midway in Yokosuka Japan as Chief of Staff to Admirals Coogan and Small, Captain Leue's final tour of duty was serving as Chief of Staff to Admiral McKenzie Light Attack wing, Pacific from 1975 to 1977. His final flight on his last day of active duty was in an A7, Corsair II out of Lemoore Naval Air Station. He retired with 815 carrier landings and 335 Combat Missions.
After the Navy, he became a professor at Fresno State University from 1980 to 1992, where he taught Construction Management. He thought the transition rather amusing, "I went from Destruction Management to Construction Management". Currently in the year 2001, he is a Project Manager specializing in refrigerated warehouses for Pacific Gas and Electric Company. Dave Leue' is still flying today. He has a Beechcraft B33 Debonair that he flies for business and pleasure and has logged over 7,500 total flight hours in 53 years of flying.
Dave Leue' feels it was his honor to serve 32 years in the US Navy. His heroes are the 30 plus Naval Aviator buddies who were lost along the way and his late wife, Jane, who bore and raised their seven fine children with unwavering love, faith and good humor.


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