Died November 25,1993
Leo Peter Dahl was born in Ely, Minn., in 1909. He graduated from the local high school June 8, 1927. He was awarded the American Legion Medal as the outstanding high school student athlete in 1927. After completing high school, he entered Ely Junior College. In 1928 he received a Congressional appointment to the U.S. Military Academy at West Point. N.Y. He graduated as a second lieutenant of the Regular Army in 1932.
Second Lieutenant Dahl's first assignment was that of student officer at the Air Corps Primary Flying School at Randolph Field, Texas, which he completed successfully in July 1933. He was then assigned to the Advanced Flying School in pursuit aviation at Kelly Field, Texas, from which he graduated and received his pilot's wings in October 1933. Today he is rated a command pilot.
First Lieutenant Dahl's assignment after Advanced Flying School was with the 18th Composite Group at Wheeler Field, Hawaii. Within the group his assignment was to the 19th Pursuit Squadron, where he served in operations, engineering, communications and miscellaneous other duties at squadron and group levels.
Upon his return to the United States in November 1935, he was assigned to the 20th Pursuit Group at Barksdale Field, La., where he initially served as the operations officer of the 79th Pursuit Squadron, and subsequently as operations officer, and later executive officer, of the 20th Pursuit Group.
In July 1938 Lieutenant Dahl was selected for assignment to the California Institute of Technology at Pasadena, Calif., for advanced study. Upon completion of the advanced study curriculum, he was assigned to Langley Field, Va., and participated with a small group of officers in the laying of the framework for the organization, operation and expansion of the meteorological service of the Air Corps.
He became director of the Second Weather Region with headquarters at Langley Field, Va., and commanded the Second Weather Squadron. This headquarters was subsequently transferred, under his direction, to Patterson Field, Ohio. Captain Dahl remained on this duty until the beginning of World War II, at which time he was summoned to Washington for duty.
After a 10-month wartime tour in Washington, at which time he was involved in the expansion programs of the Air Corps and plans for highly classified overseas operations, he was ordered to England with the 12th Air Force as the assistant deputy for operations. In this capacity, he participated in planning and preparing for the invasion of North Africa. In December 1942 he was assigned to the North African air theater headquarters as deputy chief of operations. He held the same position with the headquarters of the Northwest African Air Force, which directed the air efforts of all allied air forces in the theater.
In January 1944, upon the activation of the 15th Air Force, Colonel Dahl continued his basic assignment with the 12th Air Force, however, he was designated director of operations. He held this position throughout the successive movements of the 12th Air Force headquarters Foggia, Italy and Florence, Italy. He returned to the United States a year later, after having flown approximately 25 combat missions in fighters and medium bombers and having been awarded the Air Medal with cluster. Other decorations received were the Legion of Merit with cluster, Bronze Star, the French Croix de Guerre with Palm, and five service stars for participation in five major campaigns.
Upon return from the Mediterranean theater of operations, Colonel Dahl was assigned as director of combat operations. This assignment was short-lived, however, for he was summoned to Washington to assume duties as chief of the Programs Monitoring Office. He worked with Dr. Edmund P. Learned of the Harvard Graduate School of Business Administration, who was on consultant status with the Air Force headquarters. In the Air Staff, the Programs Monitoring Office, operating directly under the chief of staff, U.S. Air Force, was instrumental in the establishment of the Air Comptroller.
In September 1946 he left the Air Staff to attend the first class of the Air War College at Maxwell Field, Ala. After graduating a year later, he was assigned to Headquarters, Air Training Command, Barksdale Air Force Base, La., for duty as director of personnel with his old wartime commander, General Cannon.
General Dahl went to Air Materiel Command headquarters in December 1948, where he was assigned to the Directorate of Supply and Services as chief of the Materiel Division until 1949, when he became the deputy director. With the advent of the Mutual Defense Assistance Program, in which the Air Materiel Command carried a major responsibility, the Mutual Defense Materiel Division was established in 1950 and General Dahl was named as its head. In June 1952 he was redesignated assistant for foreign military assistance; and six months later, when a reorganization gave the activity major staff status, he was named chief of mutual security.
As the progress of the negotiations with the Spanish Government seemed to promise an early agreement, the logistical responsibilities of the Air Materiel Command became of immediate concern. General Dahl was designated the project officer and later as "commander-designate" of the Materiel Command for Spain. He left for Spain in October 1953, accompanied by a small nucleus of logistical specialists, for initial surveys and preparation.
On Jan. 7, 1954 the 3090th Depot Flight was activated under the command of General Dahl, with duty station in Madrid, Spain. Subsequently, this activity expanded into the Spain Air Materiel Area and General Dahl became its commander. He served in the additional capacity of deputy chief, JUSMG during the formative stages of build-up in Spain. However, as the tempo of operations increased, he reverted to his original assignment as Air Materiel Area commander.
General Dahl returned to the United States in August 1956 and was assigned to Headquarters Air Materiel Command as comptroller.
In June 1960, he was assigned as commandant, Command and Staff College, Maxwell Air Force Base, Ala., and after a year, was assigned as the Commandant, War College at Maxwell.
General Dahl wears the Legion of Merit with cluster, the Air Medal with oak leaf cluster, the European Theater with five battle stars, the Army Commendation Ribbon, the French Croix de Guerre with palm for his North African duties, plus the normal service citations.
1932 Bachelor of science degree, U.S. Military Academy, West Point, N.Y.
1939 Master's degree in meteorology, California Institute of Technology, Pasadena
1947 Air War College, Maxwell Field, Ala.
1958 Harvard Advanced Management Program, Cambridge, Mass.