At an early age. LeRoy W. Homer Jr knew that he wanted to be a pilot. As a child, LeRoy assembled model airplanes, collected aviation memorabilia and read books on aviation. LeRoy was 15 years old when he started flight instruction in the Cessna 152. Working part-time jobs after school to pay for flying lessons, he completed his first solo at 16 years old, and obtained his private pilot’s certificate in 1983.
In the fall of 1983, LeRoy entered the Air Force Academy, and graduated with the Class of 1987, 31st Squadron. After completing pilot training in 1988, he was assigned to McGuire AFB in New Jersey, flying the C-141B Starlifter. While on active duty, LeRoy served in Desert Shield and Desert Storm, and later supported operations in Somalia. He received many commendations, awards and medals during his military career. In 1993, he was named the 21st Air Force Aircrew Instructor of the Year. LeRoy achieved the rank of Captain before his honorable discharge from active duty in 1995.
LeRoy continued his military career as a reservist, initially as an instructor pilot with the 356th Airlift Squadron at Wright Patterson AFB, Ohio, then subsequently as an Academy Liaison Officer, recruiting potential candidates for both the Air Force Academy and the Air Force Reserve Officer Training Corps. During his time with the Reserves, he achieved the rank of Major.
LeRoy continued his flying career by joining United Airlines in May 1995. His first assignment was Second Officer on the B727. He then upgraded to First Officer on the B757/767 in 1996, where he remained until September 11, 2001.
On September 11, 2001, LeRoy was flying with Captain Jason Dahl on United Flight 93. Based on information from several sources, LeRoy and Jason were the first to fight against the terrorist threat to the airplane. LeRoy has received many awards and citations posthumously, for his actions on Flight 93: the Congress Of Racial Equality – Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Award, the Southern Christian Leadership Conference – Drum Major for Justice Award and the Westchester County Trailblazer Award.
LeRoy was able to accomplish much in his short life. He was able to do so because of the support of his family and friends, and the encouragement of his teachers and mentors. We hope that LeRoy’s life will continue to be an inspiration to those who also share the dream of flying.
The LeRoy W. Homer Jr. Foundation was established to provide financial support and encouragement to young people, with an interest in aviation, to pursue professional flight instruction leading to certification as a private pilot.