30 September 1966 – LtCol Walter “Mel” Fowler’s F-100 #553502 is hit in the engine by gunfire over SVN. He came close to capture or death by closely advancing Viet Cong before his wingman suppressed the advancing VC and he was picked up from the rice paddy by an Army Helo. Fowler was serving with
David Leahy Quinlan
Major General David L. Quinlan was Air National Guard Assistant to CINCUSAFE at the headquarters of the New Mexico Air National Guard, based at Kirkland AFB, NM. He served as the principal liaison between the Commander-in-Chief, Air National Guard, and the USAF Forces Europe.
He is credited with enhancing the understanding and cooperation with the Total Force and providing a means through which communications, ideas, and recommendations were transmitted. He reviewed policies and procedures and facilitated a resolution to problems between the USAFE and the Air National Guard.
Dave Quinlan is a command pilot with over 7900 flight hours, 7300 of which were in fighter aircraft. In the late 1990’s Retired Major General Quinlan flew the last A-7 aircraft from Kirtland AFB, NM to Davis-Monthan AFB, AZ for decommissioning.
Dave Quinlan “Headed West” in 2017.
- 6/1955 Commissioned 2nd Lt., ROTC, University of New Mexico
- 7/1956 Primary Flight Training, Moore AFB, TX
- 1/1957 Basic Flight Training, Webb AFB, TX
- 5/1957 Combat Crew Training, Luke AFB, AZ, F-84F
- 7/1957 Combat Crew Training, Nellis AFB, NM, F-100A
- 10/1958 188th Fighter-Interceptor Squadron, Flight Commander NMANG, NM
- 1/1968 188th FIS called to duty during Pueblo Crisis
- 6/1968-6/1969 Tuy Hoa AB, Vietnam, F-100C
- 6/1969-1/1970 Resumed duty as 188th FIS Flight Commander NMANG, NM
- 1/1970-2/1974 Appointed Commander Detachment 1, Headquarters NMANG, NM
- 2/1974 150th Tactical Fighter Group, appointed Standardization Board Flight Examiner, NMANG, NM
- 3/1978 150th Tactical Fighter Group, appointed Commander
- 9/1987 Headquarters NMANG, Chief of Staff/ANG Assistant CINCUSAFE
- 4/8/1992 Promoted to Major General
Awards & Decorations
Total Flight Hours: 7900 (7300 in Fighter Aircraft)
Military & Civilian Education
- Air Command and Staff College
- Industrial College of the Armed Forces
- 1951 Albuquerque High School
- 1955 BS/Electrical Engineering, University of New Mexico
- 1961 MS/Electrical Engineering, University of New Mexico
David L. Quinlan (MGen USAF, Ret) “Headed West” on January 10, 2017.
Maj. Gen. (Ret.) David Leahy Quinlan passed away peacefully and exactly on his terms, on Wednesday, January 10th, with family and importantly, his beloved dogs by his side (and on his lap). David, born on October 24, 1933, in Rio de Janeiro, to Lucile Leahy Quinlan and Harold S.
Quinlan grew up in Albuquerque from age five on and came to represent those finest of qualities that can be found among proud Bulldogs and Lobos. Trained as an electrical engineer (taking his masters in 1961 from UNM) he worked for GE and then later at Sandia Labs, but it was his passion for flying that truly shaped his life, becoming a pilot for the Air Force and then for the NM Air National Guard. His long list of awards and honors only tells a small slice of his achievements, including his family, his dogs, his softball team, and love for skiing.
General Quinlan was commissioned as a Second Lieutenant in June 1955 through the ROTC program at the University of New Mexico. He completed primary flight training at Moore AFB, TX in July 1956, Basic Flight Training at Webb AFB, TX, receiving the aeronautical rating of pilot in January 1957.
He completed combat crew training in the F-84F at Luke AFB, AZ, in May 1957 and F-100A at Nellis AFB, NV in July 1957. He was then appointed to the 188th Fighter Interceptor Squadron as a Flight Commander for the NMANG in October 1958. After completing his Master’s in electrical engineering in 1961, he worked for Sandia Corp and was a “Weekend Warrior” with the NMANG.
In 1968, The NM Air National Guard was called to active duty in response to the Pueblo Crisis and was deployed to Tuy Hoa AB, Republic of Vietnam. While in Vietnam, General Quinlan flew 255 combat missions, logging 442 combat flight hours in the F-100C Super Sabre. After returning from Active Duty service, he continued in his assignment as flight commander for the 188th TFS,
In 1970 he left Sandia Corp to pursue his passion for flying and accepted a full-time position with the 150th Tactical Fighter Group of the NMANG and remained with them until June of 1988. During that 18-year period, he occupied the following positions: Commander for Detachment 1, Deputy Commander for Operations, & Group Commander.
In June 1988, he was promoted to the rank of Brigadier General and appointed as Chief of Staff, NM Air National Guard. In Jan 1991 he became the Air National Guard assistant to the Commander in Chief of the US Air Forces in Europe and was promoted to the rank of Major General. During this assignment, he represented the Air National Guard and US Air Force on official visits to nine European and NATO countries. He retired from the NMANG and US Air Force in October 1993 as a Major General and flew a single-seat F-16C fighter the day prior to his retirement. He was a Command Pilot with over 7900 flying hours of which more than 7300 were in jet fighter aircraft.
He is survived by his wife Sandra Brown Quinlan, children, Robert Quinlan (Nikki), Teresa McDowell (Stephen Mullens), Brad McDowell (Jody) and grandchildren, Ryan Johnson,(Jamie), Riley Jordan (Ben), Rainey Jordan; Jordan Quinlan (Tessa) & Connor Quinlan; Taylor McDowell, (Logan), Morgan McDowell; Jordyn McDowell. And of course, his loving dogs Bella and Murphy.
The family would like to thank Legacy Hospice, Anna Neiderman, and Ray Ives for their wonderful care and compassion for David in his last few weeks, as well as, Rainey for the wonderful care she gave her Grandfather for the past six months.
Services for Major Quinlan were held on Feb 2nd and he is interred at Santa Fe National Cemetery.
In lieu of flowers, the family would prefer donations made in David’s name to the Albuquerque Animal Humane Center.
Wall of Honor Location