GENERAL LEO C. LEWIS
Retired Feb. 1, 1974
General Leo C. Lewis is vice commander of Fifteenth Air Force,
Strategic Air Command, with headquarters at March Air Force
Base, Calif. Fifteenth Air Force is responsible for Strategic
Air Command operations in the western United States and Alaska.
Its mixed force of reconnaissance and bomber aircraft and
missiles support the national strategic deterrence mission.
Lewis was born in 1921, in Pensacola, Fla. He graduated from
Pensacola High School in 1939, and attended Sacramento Junior
College, Calif. 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.
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, Kan., 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.
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,
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.
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.
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.
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.
military decorations and awards include the Legion
of Merit with two oak leaf clusters, Distinguished
Flying Cross with two oak leaf clusters, Air
Medal with eight oak leaf clusters, Presidential
Unit Citation Emblem with two oak leaf clusters, and the
Air Force Outstanding Unit Award Ribbon with two oak leaf
is a rated navigator and command pilot with more than 8,500
hours flying time, including more than 4,000 hours in jet
Lewis' hometown is Pensacola, Fla.
was promoted to the temporary grade of major general effective
Feb. 26, 1971, with date of rank Oct. 16, 1966.
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 has two sons, Lewis Lee Lewis and Scott Lewis, two daughters, Linda Ellison and Zell Lewis, two grandchildren, Randy and Linlee.
General Lewis took his Final Flight on July 21, 2012. He will be laid to rest at Arlington National Cemetery