End of Watch: January 31, 2011
On January 31, 2011, the Pima County Sheriff’s Department helicopter crashed near Waterman Road and Silverbell Road while scouting for possible radio towers as part of the Pima County PCWIN project for common radio communications within public service agencies. Tragically, veteran Pilot Loren Leonberger was killed.
Mr. Leonberger spent his life serving his country flying helicopters for over forty years. In February 1969 he entered the U.S. Army and served in Vietnam as a helicopter pilot from June 1970 thru June 1971 where he achieved the rank of Warrant Officer. Mr. Leonberger served as a pilot in the U.S. Army National Guard from January 1972 thru November 1991. In July 1978, he became an officer and a pilot with the AZ Department of Public Safety where he served for twenty years. In December 1998 he retired from the DPS Air Rescue Unit. Mr. Leonberger became a pilot with the Maricopa County Sheriff’s Office in 1998 where he was employed until he joined the Pima County Sheriff’s Department in November 2008.
Mr. Leonberger left behind his wife, Kirby Peterson, and eleven siblings.
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