Maj. Gen. Leon Babcock

Published 12:00 am Thursday, April 16, 2009

Funeral services for retired Maj. Gen. Leon W. Babcock Jr., 77, of Bainbridge, Ga., were held Wednesday, April 15, at sunset at Roselawn Memory Gardens with family members officiating.

Interment followed in Roselawn Memory Gardens.

Born on Jan. 2, 1932, in Highland, Ill., Maj. Gen. Babcock died on Tuesday, April 14, 2009, at Memorial Hospital in Bainbridge.

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Maj. Gen. Babcock entered the U.S. Air Force in July 1954 as an aviation cadet and was commissioned a second lieutenant and received his pilot wings at Bryan Air Force Base, Texas, in 1955. He served from 1956 to 1964 as an instructor pilot in F-86 D’s, F-89 D’s, F-86 L’s and J-38s. He subsequently served in the Alaskan Air Command at Elmendorf Air Force Base, Alaska, first as a squadron pilot in F-102s and then as chief of the weapons branch and fighter officer.

After F-4E qualification training at MacDill Air Force Base, Fla., in late 1969, he was assigned to the 433rd Tactical Fighter Squadron, Ubon Royal Thai Air Force Base, Thailand. During that assignment he flew 500 combat hours in F-4’s as a flight commander and as officer in charge of forward air controllers.

Upon returning to the United States in 1971, Gen. Babcock became chief of the 20th Air Division Weapons Branch at Fort Lee Air Force Station, Va. He was assigned to Washington, D.C., in 1972 and served in the organization of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, J5, as chief of the North American Branch, Western Hemisphere Division. Two years later he was selected as the Air Force representative to the State Department’s 10-Month Senior Seminar in Foreign Policy. From 1975 to 1977, he served as vice commander, 25th Air Division, McChord Air Force Base, Washington.

The General took command of Air Forces Iceland at Keflavik Naval Air Station, Iceland, in June 1977. He became executive to the chief of staff, Supreme Headquarters Allied Powers Europe in July 1978, and in April 1979 was assigned as commander of the 601st Tactical Control Wing, Sembach Air Base, Germany.

Gen. Babcock became assistant chief of staff, Operations Division, Headquarters Allied Forces Central Europe, Brunssum, Netherlands, in June 1981. In October 1982 he was named deputy commander of the 6th Allied Tactical Air Force, with headquarters at Izmir, Turkey. He was promoted to major general on Aug. 1, 1982.

He is survived by his wife, Valda Ann Newberry Babcock of Bainbridge, who he married on Feb. 18, 1956; two sons, Steven Lynn Babcock of Atlanta, Ga., and Christopher Lynn Babcock of Bainbridge, Ga.; one sister, Judith Roland of Indianapolis, Ind., and three grandchildren.

Cox-Ware Funeral Home was in charge of services.