Born in Cambridge Massachusetts. Served two periods of active duty with the United States Marine Corps. During the Korean war period as a helicopter crew chief and pilot, and in the Vietnam war primarily as a combat artist.
After Parris Island and NATTC Memphis, Leahy served as a crew chief with Marine Experimental Helicopter Squadron One, Quantico VA from 1950. As a helicopter pilot, he served with HMR-363 in MAG-36, Santa Ana CA; HMR-162 in MAG-16, Oppama Japan; HMR-161, DMZ and Munsan-ni, Korea; VMO-1, HMR-261, HMR(M)-461 (Plank Owner), and H&MS-26, MAG-26, MCAS New River NC; also Executive Flight Detachment, HMX- I, Quantico VA and with HMR-772, NAS Willow Grove PA.
As executive officer for the Marine Corps Combat Art Program (1967-1969), Leahy completed two extended assignments to Vietnam to administer the program and produce combat art. Incidentally flew 73 missions as a helicopter machine gunner and was awarded the Combat Action Ribbon and the Bronze Star with Combat ‘V.’ Retired in 1980 as LtCol USMCR and served as a Department of Defense Navy civilian manager. Dispatched to Grenada by the Navy shortly after Operation Urgent Fury to visually reconstruct combat action of U.S. Armed Forces through sketches and paintings.
Graduated: Philadelphia University of Art with a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree in graphics. Instructed with the Famous Artists Schools of Westport CT. Provided documentary art for ABC-TV Network News, ABC-TV’s Nightline and the WASHINGTON POST. Work shown in Smithsonian Traveling Exhibit; selected as Combat Artist of the Year 1969 by the Marine Corps Combat Correspondents Association; one man art show at Air Expo, Dulles Airport. Selected as an artist member of the American Society of Aviation Artists. Art displayed in Washington DC, the Pentagon, Veterans of Foreign Wars Magazine, Vietnam, Leatherneck, US NEWS AND WORLD REPORT and the Naval Institute. Won DOD Thomas Jefferson award 1986 for art covering the 75th Anniversary of Naval Aviation. Won award in first National Naval Aviation Museum contest in Pensacola, FL during 1993.