Brig. Gen. Stephen Paul Luebbert was called home by his Lord on September 4, 2021, quietly in his sleep at the age of 74. Born in Levittown, N.Y., on Nov 24, 1946, to the late Col. Herman Ernest Luebbert and Katherine Fullmer Luebbert.
Stephen’s life was filled with many interests and adventures beginning with his interest in aviation which began with Alaska’s Department of Fish and Game, where he served as a game warden. He continued flying in the military for 35 years with service as an Army helicopter gunship pilot in Vietnam and instructor pilot to the South Vietnamese Air Force. Stephen transferred to the U.S. Air Force after the Vietnam conflict as a fighter and bomber pilot.
During his military career, Stephen served as commander of U.S. and allied forces in Europe and the Middle East. He was a veteran of the Cold War, Vietnam, the Persian Gulf War, Bosnia, and various expeditionary campaigns.
In addition to flying, Stephen played a role negotiating nuclear weapon reduction treaties with the former Soviet Union and led the Air Force response to the Department of Defense Reorganization Act and the newly defined role of the unified commanders in chief. Stephen also developed a missile defense shield for the State of Israel and provided White House military support to the then-President George H.W. Bush. The general also directed the Air Force’s conventional cruise missile strikes against key Iraqi targets during the Gulf War.
Upon retirement from the Air Force, Stephen began his third career as the Airport Director of Texarkana Regional Airport, where he worked tirelessly with the two cities to keep the airport open and thriving with many challenges being presented along the way.
Following West Anchorage, Alaska High School, Stephen graduated with a Bachelor of Science degree in Zoology from LSU, Baton Rouge and later earned a Master of Science degree in Public Administration from George Washington University and the National Defense University in Washington DC.
Stephen was a member of Williams Memorial UMC where he served as a Lay Reader and ministered to homebound members by delivering communion to those who wished to receive the elements.
Forever the consummate Boy/Eagle Scout, Stephen lived his life ‘always prepared’, and ‘he left his place better than he found it.’
His hobbies included traveling, photography, and restoring vintage automobiles and motorcycles.
Stephen leaves behind his wife, Marlaina (Mel), his son Lt Col. Stephen Justin Luebbert, and his wife Heather along with his granddaughter Allie Luebbert.
A private interment will be held at a later date.
A special thank you to the incredible staff at Dierksen Memorial Hospice.
In lieu of flowers please send donations to the Vietnam Veterans Association 8719 Colesville Road, Suite 100, Silver Springs, MD 20910.