Lt. Col. Leslie "Les" Skews, USAF Ret. passed away peacefully at his home with his family Thursday, Jan. 5, 2017 after battling a short illness. Les was 91 years old. He was born on May. 5, 1925 to
Francis and Alma Skews. Les grew up in Waukegan, Illinois with his older brother Roger and older sister Florence.
Following in his brother's footsteps to serve during World War II, Les received initial flight training in the US Army Air Corps at Corsicana. After WWII, he supported the Berlin Airlift operations flying the C-47 "Gooney Bird." Later he transitioned to the B-47 Stratojet strategic bomber - the country's first swept wing multi-engine jet bomber. With this aircraft he transitioned to aerial reconnaissance missions. He was reunited with his favorite "Gooney Bird" once again while serving in Vietnam flying RC/EC-47's.
With a passion for flight, Les devoted his first career to his country with over 35 years of military service through World War II, Korea and Vietnam. He flew over 10,000 combat flight hours and was awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross twice and the Air Medal 14 times.
Retiring from the US Air Force in 1978, Les continued to work in the electronic warfare field for another 30 years - providing continued international support for the Joint Tactical Information Distribution
System (JTIDS) community.
Les is survived by his wife Barbara; his children, Sharon, Scott and wife Janet, Geoff and wife Arnita, Kevin and Ruth, Krystle and husband Michael, Thomas and Aileen, Erik and Viki and Patrick; grandchildren, Lezley, Colleen, Alethea, Zoey, Nikalina; nieces, nephews and several special, extended families who became a part of his life.
He was preceded by his parents Francis Henry and Alma Florence Skews, his brother Roger Skews (WWII KIA-MIA), his sister Florence and husband John Hemphill, his granddaughter Rhonda Carter and his son Robert Skews.
In lieu of flowers, a donation you feel appropriate in Les' memory should be made to:"St.Scholastica Building Fund"
Attn: Sister Maria DeAngeli
P.O. Box 3489, Fort Smith, AR 72913
Published on January 19, 2017