Erich Schleier Jr. passed away in Dallas on August 5, at the age of 90.
Mr. Schleier joined the Army just prior to Pearl Harbor, and transferred into the Air Corps in February 1942. He trained as a B-24 pilot, and was assigned to the 436th Bomb Squadron, 7th Bomb Group in the China-Burma-India theater. He was recognized for developing bombing tactics for hard to hit Japanese targets such as railway lines and bridges.
After the war, he flew nuclear deterrent missions with SAC in B-47s and B-52s. He served as the Air Force's chief of flight testing at Boeing. He was assigned to the Presidential Flight Crew, flying Air Force One for both President Eisehhower and President Kennedy. He retired from the Air Force in 1966, and flew with United Airlines until retirement in 1985.
Col. Schleier was awarded the Silver Star, Distinguished Flying Cross with 2 Oak Leaf Clusters, Air Medal with numerous Oak Leaf Clusters, and the Purple Heart. He will be buried at Arlington National Cemetary with full military honors.
Godspeed, Colonel ...