Brigadier General Duane H. Erickson
Brigadier General Duane Harold "Leif" Erickson, USAF-Ret., 84, of Prescott, Arizona, surrounded by the love of his family and friends, was welcomed home by his Lord and Savior Jesus Christ on Monday, February 22, 2016.
Leif was born in Farragut, Iowa to Carl and Neoma Erickson.
Leif was a decorated career Air Force officer, graduating from the United States Military Academy West Point in 1954, the Armed Forces Staff College in 1967, and the Air War College in 1970. He served in various leadership positions throughout his career, including wing command in Vietnam, and as the commander of U.S. Forces Azores. He also served at the Pentagon and NATO headquarters in Brussels, Belgium. As a command pilot he flew 85 missions for more than 242 combat hours and 8,000 flying hours.
Leif was a wonderful husband, father and grandfather who had an unwavering commitment to his faith, his family, and to the military code of conduct: duty, honor, and country. Leif and his wife, Maureen, enjoyed traveling the world. Leif was a farm boy at heart and loved working in the garden and greatly enjoyed the company of his dogs.
Leif is survived by his wife, Maureen; children Colonel Stephen (Kelly) Erickson, USAF of Washington, DC and Craig (Terri) Erickson of Tipton, Oklahoma; grandchildren Sophie, Jack, Alex, and Allen; great-grandson Case; sister Theran Ensign; and numerous nieces and nephews.
Leif was preceded in death by his parents, his sister Lois, and granddaughter Leah.
Donations in lieu of flowers can be made to Junior ROTC, Alzheimer's Association, or your charity of choice.
Official USAF Biography:
Retired July 01,1984, Died February 22,2016
Brigadier General Duane H. Erickson is director of the international staff, Inter-American Defense Board, Washington, D.C.
General Erickson was born in 1932, in Farragut, Iowa, where he graduated from high school in 1949. He was commissioned a second lieutenant upon graduation from the U.S. Military Academy, West Point, N.Y., in 1954. General Erickson completed Squadron Officer School, Maxwell Air Force Base, Ala., in 1958; Armed Forces Staff College, Norfolk, Va., in 1967; Air War College at Maxwell in 1970; and the program for executives at Carnegie-Mellon University, Pittsburgh, in 1975.
Immediately after graduation from the academy, General Erickson began student pilot training at Bainbridge Air Force Base, Ga. He completed basic flying training at Reese Air Force Base, Texas, in August 1955 and remained there as an instructor pilot.
From October 1958 to January 1961, the general was a protocol officer with the Air Force Ballistic Missile Division in Los Angeles. He then transferred to Hanscom Field, Mass., as aide-de-camp to the commander of the Electronic Systems Division until February 1965.
He served as flight commander with the 21st Troop Carrier Squadron at Naha Air Base, Okinawa, until August 1966 when he entered the Armed Forces Staff College. Following graduation General Erickson was assigned to Headquarters U.S. Air Force, Washington, D.C., from January 1967 to August 1969, as an action officer. In the latter part of this tour of duty, he become chief of the Airlift Forces Branch, Deputy Directorate of Forces Development, Directorate of Plans, Office of the Deputy Chief of Staff for Plans and Operations. After completing the Air War College, he returned to Naha Air Base as deputy commander for operations for the 374th Tactical Airlift Wing until September 1971 when he become vice commander and later commander of the 483rd Tactical Airlift Wing, Cam Ranh Bay Air Base, Republic of Vietnam.
From June 1972 to June 1974, General Erickson commanded the 1100th Air Base Wing at Bolling Air Force Base, Washington, D.C. He then returned to Air Force headquarters as deputy director of doctrine, concepts and objectives in the Office of the Deputy Chief of Staff for Plans and Operations. During this tour of duty, General Erickson spent six months temporary duty at North Atlantic Treaty Organization headquarters, Brussels, Belgium, where he served as chairman of the Tradeoff Study on Air Defense Mix.
In September 1976 the general was named vice commander of the 375th Aeromedical Airlift Wing, Scott Air Force Base, Ill. He become commander of the 438th Military Airlift Wing at McGuire Air Force Base, N.J., in February 1978 and in February 1979, took command of the U.S. Air Force Airlift Center and the 317th Tactical Airlift Wing at Pope Air Force Base, N.C. In March 1980 General Erickson transferred to the Azores as commander of U.S. Forces, Azores, and the 1605th Military Airlift Support Wing at Lajes Field. He assumed his present duties in June 1982.
The general was a command pilot with more than 8,000 flying hours. He had flown more than 242 combat hours on 85 missions. His military decorations and awards include the Defense Superior Service Medal, Legion of Merit with three oak leaf clusters, Meritorious Service Medal with oak leaf cluster and Air Medal with four oak leaf clusters. He also wears the Republic of Vietnam Staff Service Honor Medal 1st Class, Republic of Vietnam Social Welfare Medal 1st Class and the Portuguese Military Merit Medal 1st Class. Upon his retirement, he received the Air Force Distinguished Service Medal.
He was promoted to Brigadier General Feb. 4, 1980, with date of rank Jan. 30, 1980.