• "My husband, Lawrence Alan Kriigel served on the Enterprise..."
  • "The best Skipper I ever went to sea with I will miss him..."
    - Jimmie Green
  • "Admiral Lee will always be Captain Kent Lee of the..."
    - Lash Hansborough
  • "Mimi and family My sympathy goes out to you with passing of..."
    - CDR Thomas L Cochran
  • "Was my Skipper aboard the USS Alamo. Great Sailor"
    - Vernon Luce

LEE Kent Liston Lee Vice Admiral, USN (ret.) Died August 11, 2017. He was born July 28, 1923, one of six children, on a small farm in South Carolina. He enlisted in the Navy in 1940 and served as an aviation mechanic, beginning a 36-year naval career. Selected for the Aviation Cadet (V5) Program, he was commissioned an Ensign and became a naval aviator in 1943. Lee saw flight combat with both bomber and fighter squadrons during WWII and the Korean War. He then studied at Columbia University and the Naval Postgraduate School and was awarded a Master's of Science in physics. He commanded VA-46, an A4D squadron, and was later a part of the Joint Strategic Target Planning Staff in Omaha, Nebraska. Lee was appointed Commander of Carrier Air Group Six aboard the nuclear powered aircraft carrier USS Enterprise in 1962-63 during the Cuban missile crisis and was forced to eject from his airplane. In 1963, he was selected for the Navy's nuclear power program. He commanded the amphibious warfare ship USS Alamo at the onset of the Vietnam War. Lee assumed command of the USS Enterprise in 1967, which then served two combat tours in Vietnam between 1967 and 1969. In 1969, the ship suffered a catastrophic fire in which 28 men lost their lives. Lee's actions in maneuvering the ship and fighting the fire were credited with saving the ship. In 1973, he headed the Naval Air Systems Command, where he led the development and procurement of the joint services (Navy and Air Force) combined fighter/attack aircraft F/A-18, a mainstay of the fleet and the Air Force for the past 27 years. Upon retirement, Admiral Lee and his wife, Mary Edith (Mimi) moved to Logon Farm in eastern Albemarle County, Virginia where they lived for 27 years. In 2004, they moved to Westminster Canterbury of the Blue Ridge (WCBR), a senior living community in Charlottesville. Lee is survived by his wife of 69 years; his three daughters and their husbands, Nancy Lee (Randolph Perry), Barbara Eisenson (Michael) and Marion Leonard (John); nine grandchildren; two great-grandchildren; a sister, Ethelyn Spencer and numerous nieces and nephews. A Celebration of Life will be held in the Rotunda at WCBR, 250 Pantops Mountain Road, Charlottesville, on September 2, 2017 at 2 p.m. with a reception to follow. In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to the WCBR Foundation (Westminster Canterbury of the Blue Ridge Foundation, Charlottesville, Virginia) or the American Macular Degeneration Foundation.
Published in The Washington Post on Aug. 18, 2017
bullet Korean War bullet U.S. Navy bullet Vietnam War bullet World War II