ALBUQUERQUE (KRQE) - Lt. Gen. Leo Marquez, a native of Peralta who rose to be a deputy chief of staff at Air Force headquarters, has died at the age of 79, the Albuquerque Journal reported Saturday.
Marquez was a graduate of Belen High School and the New Mexico State University ROTC program who completed Air Force pilot training in 1956, according to his Air Force biography.
He flew fighter jets in the late 1950s and early '60s before becoming a maintenance officer and expert logistics, the organization and movement of personnel and materiel.
He was promoted to lieutenant general in 1983 and at the time of his retirement in 1987 was deputy chief of staff for engineering and logistics at Air Force headquarters in Washington.
Marquez was the highest-ranking Hispanic in the Air Force, the Journal reported.
After his retirement, the Air Force established the Leo Marquez Award for Excellence given annually to recognize outstanding work in technological maintenance by a civilian or Air Force personnel.
In Albuquerque Marquez is remembered as one of the leaders of the 1995 effort to convince the Air Force that Kirtland Air Force Base with its 7,000 jobs should not be closed.
He is survived by his wife, five children and three grandchildren.
Funeral services are pending with burial planned for the Santa Fe National Cemetery.
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