Sumter, South Carolina , United States
|| November 03, 1945
|Last Modified||Joshua L.|
May 08, 2005 04:04pm
Caucasian - Government Reform - Health Care Reform - Jobs/Industrial Growth - Pro Environment - Married - U.S. Air Force - Straight -
|Info||Phil Leventis received a commission as an Air Force second lieutenant following graduation in 1969 from the University of Virginia. He reported for active duty in July of that year to begin his training as an Air Force pilot. His training started the same week the first U.S. astronauts first landed on the moon. |
"Every time you get in a jet, the outcome depends on your judgment," Leventis says. "Being a jet fighter pilot taught me about independence, responsibility, critical thinking and decision-making. I learned you can't put things off and duck responsibility. You've got to know the system."
A year later after completing Undergraduate Pilot Training, Leventis reported for duty as a flight instructor in the jet training program at Sheppard AFB in Wichita Falls, Texas. He instructed in the T-38 advanced jet trainer and trained U.S. and German Air Force students until January 1974.
A fighter pilot at home
Leventis reported to McEntire Air National Guard Base, near Columbia on Feb. 1, 1974 and became a fighter pilot in the South Carolina Air National Guard. During his tenure in the SCANG, he trained and flew the F-102 Interceptor, the A-7 fighter/bomber and the F-16 fighter.
He deployed with the SCANG to Norway, England, Panama and Saudi Arabia. His flying career spanned 28 years. He amassed more than 3,600 hours of flying time in jet aircraft. More than 2,000 hours were spent in single seat, single engine fighter jets.
Leventis was promoted to the rank of brigadier general in March 1998. A year later, he was retired after almost 30 years of service. His last assignment was as Assistant Adjutant General for Air for South Carolina and Commander of the South Carolina Air National Guard.
"The highlight of my military service was in 1991 when I volunteered for combat duty in Saudi Arabia during the Gulf War," Leventis says.
During the conflict, he served as a fighter pilot and an operational planner. Following 21 combat missions over Kuwait and Iraq, he received the Air Medal with one Oak Leaf Cluster.
Awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross
Leventis also received the Distinguished Flying Cross for a mission over enemy territory on Feb. 4, 1991. During that mission, he attacked an anti-aircraft battery firing on his flight of four F-16 jets. The battery posed a deadly threat to four other F-16s from his unit that were about to enter the same area. As enemy guns blazed, Leventis hit them with bombs to eliminate the danger to fellow American pilots.
"Each day I flew to bomb the enemy, I would pass over tens of thousands of young American and allied soldiers just south of Kuwait preparing for combat," Leventis remembers. "Seeing those people, some little older than my sons, I knew I was doing something very important for our country and for the families that sent those young men."
Phil Leventis is a life member of the South Carolina National Guard Association and the National Guard Association of the United States.
Leventis campaign website