Chief Leo Silva was born in a small town of Ignacio in Southwest Colorado, the home of the Government School for the Southern Ute Indian Tribe. At an early age moved to a small ranch in Chimney Rock, Colorado, where at an early age developed self-taught survival lessons and a strong work ethics, having to work 16-18 hours a day and riding a school bus 25 miles to attend school at Pagosa Springs. Left home at an early age moving to Farmington, New Mexico for a short period of time and then to Prescott, Arizona; all the while working part time in custom home construction in order to complete high school. Following graduation worked the summer building custom homes for a period of time and then traveled to Albuquerque, New Mexico where he enlisted in the United States Air Force.
Upon graduation of Air Force Basic Training at Lackland AFB was assigned to Langley Air Force Base, Virginia, spending two years there before being assigned to Misawa Air Base, Japan. Upon Completion of a three-year tour was assigned to the 3rd Tactical Fighter wing at Bien Hoa, Republic of Vietnam for a one-year tour (1967-68) at the 3rd Tactical Fighter Wing Hospital as a Medical Administrative Specialist. After joining the service, had difficulty in adjusting to an 8-hour work day, so on during off duty time he spent most evenings teaching Vietnamese school kids English until the Tet Offensive started in January 1968 (a coordinated series of North Vietnamese attacks on more that 100 cities and outposts in South Vietnam; Bien Hoa being a primary target. Not deterred by the action volunteered to fly helicopter night missions with the US Army, 7th Calvary, the unit was assigned to protect the air base perimeter and often went out on night patrol with the base security police in their performance of perimeter security.
Also volunteered numerous hours on MEDCAP Missions designed to go out in the community and treat the local populace on their medical problems. Was a principal; member of a team volunteering to travel to a local leprosarium every Sunday to perform immunizations and treatment of those in the colony; which was overseen by an Australian Priest and international nuns. After Vietnam was assigned to the 1st Medical Detachment at the Yokota Air Base Japan as Medical First Sergeant and Administrative Technician. The unit was an air transportable detachment made up of three teams, each consisting of 1 Medical Officer, 1 Environmental Technician, 1 Emergency Medical Technician and 1 Medical Administrative Technician and was fully equipped to deploy and set up field operations to perform emergency treatment, laboratory testing, x-ray testing, immunizations, water and air sampling. Each member was cross-trained to complete every position. When the unit was later dissolved was assigned to the Yokota Air Base Medical Clinic as Non-Commissioned Officer in Charge, Patient Affairs. Assignment there was curtailed and was reassigned to Maxwell Air Force Base, Alabama at First Sergeant and Non-Commissioned Officer in Charge, Detachment 1, 375 Medical Airlift Wing with Headquarters at Scott AFB, Illinois. While on that assignment was involved in Operation Homecoming, the medical evacuation unit was responsible for welcoming home many of the Prisoners of War returning home as Maxell AFB became one of the primary staging bases where POW’s were greeted by their family members.
When the Medical Evacuation Detachment was moved to Keesler AFB, Mississippi was assigned to the USAF Regional Medical Center Maxwell as Internal Compliance Manager and later assigned as Medical First Sergeant. Next was assigned to RAF Upper Heyford Medical Hospital, in the United Kingdom as First Sergeant. Shortly after being promoted to Chief Master Sergeant was assigned to a special duty assignment at the office of the United States Air Force Inspector General’s Office at Norton AFB, California as a Medical Inspector, traveling worldwide to inspect medical facilities for internal compliance. Again, as boredom set in, volunteered down time to travel with the Air Force Reserve Team on reserve facility inspections. During that tour of duty inspected over 70 medical facilities and upon completion of that tour was assigned to the School of Aerospace Medicine, Brooks Air Force Base (later know as Brooks City Base) as Senior Enlisted advisor/First Sergeant responsible for over 550 enlisted personnel and 600 officer and civilian personnel and overseeing enlisted personnel assigned to the School at Chandler AFB AZ, USAF Clinic Okinawa and 140 enlisted personnel at Wright-Patterson AFB, Ohio. Ending career at Brooks Air Force with over 30 years of military service, retiring at the grade of Chief Master Sergeant.
An extensive career that resulted in a vast range of experiences from entry level to executive level of management/supervisory and leadership positions in technical and administrative assignments. Throughout this distinguished career was able to demonstrate a consistent tract record of successes in resource protection, training, counseling, support services, information handling, contract monitoring and supervision, medical administration and 17+ years in human resource management.
After retiring completed 180 hours of real estate training and passed the examination obtaining a Real Estate License. After a short period, was accepted for a position at the United States School of Aerospace Epidemiology Radiology Services and later and later as contracting support and management as site supervisor to the USAF Epidemiology Global Reference laboratory Until the BRAC base closure after serving 17+ tears starting with a one-year contract. Upon Base Closure was offered a position as Senior Program Manager and later Vice President of Government Affairs for Fidelity Partners. After a period of time persisting medical issues necessitated retirement.
While assigned at Brooks he held the position of President of the Air Force Sergeants Association for three years. Upon retirement, was instrumental in establishing a non-profit organization – Brooks Enlisted Retirement Association serving as president from 1994-2011. As an active member of the community, volunteered over 25 years with VFW Post 837 holding the position of Post Commander (CEO) for over 18 years during that period overseeing total business and financial operations to include human resource management. During that period was responsible for coordinating and planning all fundraising activities to support American, youth, safety and community services programs. The position required extensive speaking engagements and interactions with the community, county, state and nations government officials. Exceptional performance was recognized by selection to Co-Captain All-State Commander (Top 2 Post Commanders out of 434 post in the state of Texas), All State Commander 5 times for the Department of Texas and the prestigious award of All-American Post Commander 2008-2009 and 2012-2013.
Presently serving on the Bexar County Veteran’s Affairs Committee appointed by past 4th Precinct Commissioner Tommy Adkisson and present Commissioner Tammy Calvert. Member of the Mission Transition Board of Directors and Chairman of the Mission Transition Advisory Board.
Military Awards include Bronze Star Medal, Meritorious Service Medal with 4 /OLC, Air Force Commendation Medal with 2/OLC, Air Force Achievement Medal, Vietnam Cross for Gallantry w/device, Vietnam Service Medal and numerous other awards.