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Leo C. Lewis
1921 - 2012
General Lewis was born on April 24, 1921, in Pensacola, FL. He entered the Army Air Forces as an aviation cadet in February 1942 and was commissioned a second lieutenant upon graduation from flying school in February 1943. He then attended advanced flying training in the B-17 Flying Fortress at Blythe Army Air Base, Calif.
During World War II in September 1943 General Lewis went to the European Theater of Operations where he served with the 94th Bombardment Group, Eighth Air Force, and flew 25 combat missions in the B-17. He returned to the United States in March 1944 and went to Smoky Hill Army Air Field, Kansas, for B-29 pilot training and in November was transferred to Guam with the 39th Bombardment Group which became a part of the Twentieth Air Force. He flew 27 combat missions in the air offensive against Japan.
In September 1945 General Lewis was assigned to the 307th Bombardment Group at MacDill Field, Fla., as squadron operations officer and later was commander of the 371st Bombardment Squadron. While at MacDill he attended the Air Tactical School. In August 1948 he was assigned to Headquarters Strategic Air Command at Andrews Air Force Base, Md., in the Directorate of Operations and was transferred with the headquarters to Offutt Air Force Base, Neb. From August to October 1950 he served as assistant operations officer for the 2d Bombardment Group at Chatham Air Force Base, Ga. He next was assigned as a student officer in the U.S. Air Force navigator and bombardier schools at Ellington Air Force Base, Texas, and Mather Air Force Base, Calif.
In July 1951 General Lewis was assigned to the 305th Bombardment Wing, MacDill Air Force Base, where he served on the operations staff until November when he assumed command of the 366th Bombardment Squadron. In September 1952 he was assigned to Headquarters U.S. Air Force, Washington, D.C., where he served in the Directorate of Requirements, Office of the Deputy Chief of Staff for Development.
From August 1955 to January 1956 General Lewis had a tour of duty at Thule Air Base, Greenland, and then was transferred to Portsmouth Air Force Base (now Pease Air Force Base), N.H., as director of operations and later was deputy commander of the 100th Bombardment Wing. In July 1958 he entered the Air War College at Maxwell Air Force Base, Ala.
In July 1959 he again was assigned to Headquarters SAC for duty in the Directorate of Operations as deputy chief of the Control Division and became chief of the Operations Division. He went to Ellsworth Air Force Base, S.D., in July 1962, where he commanded the 28th Bombardment Wing for three years. His next assignment was to Headquarters Fifteenth Air Force at March Air Force Base, Calif., where he was director of operations. He returned to Headquarters SAC in June 1967 as director of command control in the Office of the Deputy Chief of Staff for Operations and in April 1968 assumed duties as the inspector general for SAC.
General Lewis was assigned as vice commander, Eighth Air Force, SAC, with headquarters at Andersen Air Force Base, Guam, in March 1970. During this assignment he flew numerous B-52 and KC-135 missions in Southeast Asia. He became vice commander of the Fifteenth Air Force, SAC, with headquarters at March Air Force Base, Calif., in February 1972.
He was promoted to the grade of Major General effective February 26, 1971, with date of rank October 16, 1966.
His military decorations and awards included the Distinguished Service Medal with one Oak Leaf Cluster, Legion of Merit with two oak leaf clusters, Distinguished Flying Cross with two oak leaf clusters, Air Medal with twenty-one Oak Leaf Clusters, European Theatre of Operations Campaign Medal with one Bronze Service Star, Distinguished Unit Citation with two Oak Leaf Clusters, American Campaign Medal, Asiatic-Pacific Campaign Medal with three Bronze Service Stars, WWII Victory Medal, EAME Campaign Medal with one Bronze Service Star, National Defense Service Medal, Air Force Longevity Service Award Ribbon with seven Oak Leaf clusters, Republic of Vietnam Service Medal, Republic of Vietnam Gallantry Cross, Republic of Vietnam Campaign Medal, and United States Air Force Missileman Badge. He is a rated Command Pilot and Navigator with over 9000 hours of flying time including over 6000 hours in Jet Aircraft.
After retirement in 1974, General Lewis was employed by the Bechtel Corp. with headquarters in San Francisco, CA. During his tenure with Bechtel he was involved with various engineering and construction projects throughout the U.S. , Europe, North Africa, the Middle east, and Australia.
He is survived by two sons, Lewis Lee Lewis and Scott Lewis, two daughters, Linda Ellison and Zell Lewis, two grandchildren, Randy and Linlee.
A time of Visitation will be held on Friday, July 27, 2012 from 11:00 AM to 12:00 PM at Rose Lawn Funeral Home with the Funeral Service following there at 12:00 PM. General Lewis will be laid to rest in Arlington National Cemetery at a later date.
In lieu of flowers the family requests that donations be made to the; Disabled American Veterans (D.A.V.), 1401 W Intendencia St., Pensacola, FL 32501.
Arrangements entrusted to Rose Lawn Funeral Home of Gulf Breeze. You may offer condolences, share memories and sign the guestbook at: www.roselawn-fh.com
Express your condolences in our guestbook at pnj.com/obits
Rose Lawn Funeral Home
2942 Gulf Breeze Parkway
Gulf Breeze, FL 32563
Published in Pensacola News Journal on July 25, 2012