Robert L. (Leo) Vining

Mr. Robert L. (Leo) Vining

A Memorial Service for Mr. Robert L. (Leo) Vining, 73, of Monroe will be held at 2:00 PM Friday, March 22, 2013, in the Sanctuary of St. Paul's United Methodist Church, 1901 Lexington Ave, Monroe with Dr. Tim Neustifter officiating. Visitation will begin at 1:00 PM in the church parlor prior to the memorial service. A private family interment will be held later in St. Paul's Columbarium.

Mr. Vining was born October 20, 1939 in Pioneer, LA and passed away Wednesday, March 20, 2013, at home. He was preceded in death by his parents, Robert Loyd and Laura Amanda Finley Vining and three sisters, Mrs. Sadie Boughton, Mrs. Dora Dean Davis, and Mrs. Jeanette Arnold.

Mr. Vining was a member of St. Paul's United Methodist Church; a graduate of Louisiana Polytechnic Institute (1961) with a BS in science education, master's in business management and was commissioned from ROTC as a 2nd LT in the Air Force; a retired Air Force Lt. Colonel with 21 years of distinguished service as a tactical fighter pilot and a pilot instructor/trainer; a former realtor in Alamogordo, N.M.; an instructor in the Department of Management and Marketing from 1983 to 1993 with the University of Louisiana at Monroe; a local farmer since 1983; a science teacher at West Monroe High School retiring in 2009. As a veteran Air Force pilot, he was trained, qualified and proficient with over 2300 flight hours in a number of A.F. aircraft including the F-111, F-100, T-38, KC-135 Stratotanker, several other airframes, and flew one of the first three F-5 (Modified T38) combat missions out of Bien Hoa, Vietnam during his 115 combat mission flights while in this combat zone. Throughout his aviation career, he received numerous recognitions, awards and medals for his superior and meritorious achievements including such exceptional awards as The Distinguished Flying Cross with the 531st Tactical Fighter Squadron (The Ram Rods) at Bien Hoa Air Base in Vietnam(1967), The Air Medal with four oak leaf clusters for meritorious achievements in sustained aerial flight over Southeast Asia, The Bronze Star Medal for meritorious service in an armed conflict against opposing armed forces in North Vietnam, the Meritorious Service Medal for outstanding service as Program Manager for F-16 Foreign Military Sales, and a Certificate of Heroism for his actions of risking his life in the face of formidable enemy forces. Lt. Col. Vining's training and instruction contributions and achievements were as impressive with nearly twenty plus certificates of training achievements including Top Academic Award for Outstanding Academic Achievement with the 442nd Tactical Fighter Training Squadron, Radar Bombing and Electronic Warfare Competition, National Security Management, and the appointment to Chief of Academics at Webb A.F. Base. During his career, Lt. Col. Vining was stationed at over twelve A.F. Bases in west and southwest USA to several Mideast bases.

He is survived by one sister, Mrs. Berdiana Smelley, of Ruston, LA; his wife of 53 years, Shirley Annette Rushing Vining, of Monroe, LA, and his two sons, Robert Leo Jr. of Branson, MO and Douglas Alan Vining of McKinney, TX. He loved spending time with his grandchildren, Joshua, Brandon, Dylan, and Zachary Vining, and two great granddaughters, Lirael and Sora Vining.

In lieu of flowers, memorials may be made to St. Paul's United Methodist Church.

Online Registry/Condolences:

Mulhearn Funeral Home

Sterlington Road

Monroe, LA

Published in The News Star on Mar. 22, 2013