Leanne Wheeler, Vets4Energy

Director of Outreach

Leanne Wheeler, Director of Outreach

Former United States Air Force Sergeant Leanne D. Wheeler served honorably on active duty from 18 Nov 1986 until 1 Sep 1992, as Secure Communications Systems Maintenance Specialist.

After completion of Air Force Basic Military Training (San Antonio, TX), in January 1987, Ms. Wheeler went on to complete technical training in her chosen career field.  She executed in this highly competitive and complicated training, and as the only female in her cohort, finished second in her class.

Ms. Wheeler went on to her first assignment at Offutt Air Force Base (Bellevue, NE), in June 1987, and was assigned to the Strategic Air Command, 1853rd Communications Squadron.  Her key duties were to maintain, inspect, test, and repair electronic communications equipment using a large assortment of test equipment and tools.  Additionally, Ms. Wheeler was tasked to apply communications security programs and document all actions, with applicable directives.

As an Airman, Ms. Wheeler arrived with a cohort of several other Non-Commissioned Officers and Airmen, and quickly outperformed her peers, and a number of members who outranked her.  As noted by her immediate supervisor:  Airman Wheeler performs all of her assigned duties in an outstanding manner, and displays superior troubleshooting techniques for a trainee fresh out of technical school.  Promote ahead of her peers.

Ms. Wheeler went on to begin her post-secondary education, completing 12-hours of coursework toward an Electronic Communications Systems Engineering Technology, Associate in Applied Science degree.  Additionally, she went on to win Airman of the Month (1987) and Airman of the Quarter (1988).

At the conclusion of her time in Nebraska, Ms. Wheeler went on to Shemya Air Force Base (Shemya Island, AK) and was assigned to the Strategic Air Command, 2064th Communications Squadron, from November 1989 until November 1990, in support of the COBRA DANE and the Strategic Air Command mission.  She was the 63rd woman on island when she arrived, with over 1500 active military assigned to this remote location.  Ms. Wheeler’s additional duties included Supply Point Monitor, Tool Monitor, Workload Data Collection Monitor, and Safety Representative. 

Ms. Wheeler’s final assignment was with the Air Force Space Command, 47th Communications Group, at Cheyenne Mountain Air Force Base (NORAD), where she served from November 1990 until September 1992.  Her work was in direct support of the Commander in Chief of NORAD/United States Space Command, Air Force Space Command, the Air Defense Operations Center, the Space Surveillance Center, the Missile Warning Center and the Intelligence Center.

Ms. Wheeler provided direct support for Operation Desert Storm, at an undisclosed location.  Her astute troubleshooting capability was critical in restoring cryptographic equipment that failed to operate, during live airstrikes.  Ms. Wheeler’s quick actions restored communications to a remote site, saving lives.

While assigned to NORAD, Ms. Wheeler was Non-Commissioned Officer of the Month (1991) and Non-Commissioned Officer of the Quarter (1991).

Ms. Wheeler was honorable discharged on 1 Sep 1992, having served in support of Operation Desert Shield and Operation Desert Storm.  Her decorations and medals include:  Air Force Achievement Medal (w/ 1 Oak Leaf Cluster); Air Force Outstanding Unit Award (w/ 2 Oak Leaf Clusters); Air Force Good Conduct Medal, National Defense Service Medal; Air Force Overseas Short Tour Ribbon, Air Force Longevity Service Award Ribbon; Non-Commissioned Officer Professional Graduation Ribbon; and Air Force Training Ribbon.

Additionally, Ms. Wheeler separated from the military with her Electronic Communications Systems Engineering Technology (A.A.S.) degree.