John Robert Leverette, Lt. Col. USAF (Ret),age 98, passed away January, 11, 2019.
A self-described Georgia farm boy born in McDonough, GA on March 29, 1920, John grew up to see a large part of the world from the cockpit of an airplane. His first flight was in 1943, in a Piper Cub. He served in the Army Air Corps in World War II, flying “the HUMP” in a C-46 from India and Burma, over the Himalayas into China, supporting the Chinese Army and Merrill’s Marauders in their war with the invading Japanese. It became known as the China–Burma–India (CBI) Campaign. After the war, John met Mildred Chiasson and they married on July 16, 1946. He was called back into the Air Force to fly the C-54 in support of the Berlin Airlift, where he flew missions into Berlin in defiance of the Soviet blockade of that city. He remained in the USAF flying C-97 and C-124 aircraft, among others, and retired as a Lt. Colonel in 1966. During his career, John was awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross, the Air Medal with three oak leaf clusters, and wore Command Pilot Wings. After retirement, he flew for the famous Flying Tigers Airline and made the wise decision to not fly a B-26 in the Bay of Pigs invasion. He was a Scottish Rite Freemason for 50 years, enjoyed restoring cars, and serving as a mechanic on dirt track race cars. John attended the USAF Safety Course at UCLA and the Nuclear Safety Course at the Former Sandia Base in Albuquerque, NM. He was a civilian flight instructor; and his total flying time exceeded 12,000 hours. John was checked out and flew twenty different aircraft during his flying career.
He is survived by his wife of 72 years, Mildred Chiasson Leverette of Albuquerque; and three children, Nita Smentek of Sacramento, CA, Pamela Rowe of Albuquerque, and Bobby Leverette of Albuquerque. A fourth child, Robert Wayne Leverette, is deceased. John and Millie have five grandchildren and 10 great grandchildren. Lt. Col. Leverrette will be interred with military honors at the National Cemetery in Santa Fe, New Mexico. The Family would like to extend particular thanks to the caring staffs of Elmcroft Senior Living, the Hospice of New Mexico, and the Veterans Administration Home Care Services; all of whom demonstrated professionalism and great empathy.
A Memorial Service will be held Thursday, June 20, 2019, 10:00 a.m. at FRENCH - Lomas. Interment will follow 1:30 p.m. at Santa Fe National Cemetery.
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