Retired Col. David A. Leger, 63, Salina, died Sept. 8. He was born in 1957 to William and Laura (Wright) Leger and was the fifth of six children. David was born overseas and experienced many parts of the world as a military child during his first 14 years. After his father retired from the military, they continued to enjoy being together on the family walnut orchard in California. David graduated from Live Oak High School, and then started his long successful military aviation career.
David attended basic training at Fort Leonard Wood, Missouri, and immediately entered Warrant Officer Rotary Wing Flight Training at Fort Rucker, Alabama. After graduating from flight school he was assigned as an OH-58A and UH-1H pilot in Company B, 2nd Aviation Battalion in Camp Casey, South Korea. As a Chief Warrant Officer 2 his last assignment on active duty was the aviation maintenance officer for the 1st Squadron, 4th Cavalry at Fort Riley, Kansas. He left active duty in 1985 to pursue a bachelor’s degree in Mechanical Engineering at Kansas State University.
After graduating KSU with his degree, David was always tinkering with something. Oftentimes he would know how things worked better than the engineers who designed them and, like his father, could fix anything.
David went to work full-time in 1987 for the Kansas Army National Guard as the supervisory maintenance test pilot at Army Aviation Support Facility (AASF) #2 in Salina. Realizing he could do more as an officer he attended the Kansas Military Academy in 1988 and commissioned as a second lieutenant.
With this new leadership role he held numerous positions including Aviation Unit Maintenance Platoon Leader, Company Operations Officer, Commander of Company D, 135th Aviation, Commander of Company D, 1st Battalion, 108th Aviation, 1-108th Aviation logistics officer, 35th Division aviation officer, 1-108th Aviation battalion executive officer, 1-108th Aviation Battalion Commander and Facilities Commander of AASF#2. David culminated his career as the Kansas State Army Aviation Officer leading and representing Kansas Army Aviation nationally gaining vast respect from his peers and leaders.
He participated in several overseas deployments and training exercises including Operation New Horizons as the Aviation Officer in Charge to Belize in 2001 and to Panama in 2005. In 2003, he deployed to Bosnia-Herzegovina as the Executive Officer of the 1-108th Aviation. In 2012 he commanded the 1-108th Aviation Battalion on a deployment to Kuwait.
David attended numerous military schools including the Warrant Officer Rotary Wing Aviator Course, NBC Officer Defense Course, Aviation Maintenance Officer Course, Aviation Basic Course, Aviation Officer Advanced Course, Combined Arms and Services Staff School, UH-60 Aircraft Qualification Course, and the Command and General Staff Officer Course.
David’s selfless dedication earned him numerous military awards and decorations to include the Legion of Merit, Bronze Star Medal, Meritorious Service Medal with one oak leaf cluster, Army Commendation Medal with one oak leaf cluster, Army Achievement Medal, Army Good Conduct Medal, Army Reserve Components Achievement Medal with one oak leaf cluster, National Defense Service Medal, Armed Force Expeditionary Medal, Armed Force Reserve Medal, Overseas Service Ribbon, Reserve Components Overseas Training Ribbon, NATO Medal (Bosnia-Herzegovina) and the Master Army Aviator Badge. His state awards include the Kansas Emergency Duty Ribbon with six sunflower devices, Kansas Homeland Defense Service Ribbon and the Kansas National Guard Service Medal.
David also earned many lifelong comrades, brothers in arms that prevail to this day.
David met Jettie (Adams) of Kentucky while on military assignment in Belize and they married in 2003. Jettie loved David’s dedication to family, his personal honor and integrity, and his ability to just put his head down and accomplish any task at hand.
He won Jettie’s heart with his devoted old school charm always opening doors and helping with her coat which made him the most wonderful husband. He was the rock of the family, always putting their needs above his own and taking care of Jettie, the children, and their home.
After retirement, David continued working hard starting a contractor business remodeling homes in Salina. His new true passion was obtaining several scuba diving certifications and enjoying the water.
David is survived by his children, William Cuevas, (Whitney Paulk and grandson William Maxwell Cuevas), Zachary Leger, Ella Cuevas, (Cody Sanders and grandson Miles Ray Sanders), Christopher Leger, and daughter Laura Leger; sisters Elizabeth Sharp, Susan Curtis, Kathleen Chastain; and step-mother Sharon Leger.
He was preceded in death by his mother and father, and brothers, Mark and Robert Leger.
Jettie and the family remain thankful for his military comrades who continue to help the family.
Visitation will be 4-8 pm Tuesday September 14, 2021. Funeral service will be 1:00 pm Wednesday, September 15, all at Ryan Mortuary. Burial will follow at Gypsum Hill Cemetery.
The family requests that memorial contributions go to Laura Leger’s college education and be sent to C/O Laura Leger, Ryan Mortuary, 137 N. 8th Street, Salina, KS 67401.
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Laura Leger’s college education
C/O Laura Leger, Ryan Mortuary, 137 N. 8th Street, Salina KS 67401