Died March 1, 1976.
William Lecel Lee was born in 1903 in Weatherford, Texas and received his formal education in the schools of Texas, graduating from Texas A&M in 1927 with a bachelor of science degree, and commissioned a second lieutenant in the Reserve on May 23, 1927.
Ordered to active duty at Brooks Field, San Antonio, Texas in March 1928, upon graduation from primary and basic flight training he received his commission in the Regular Army on June 1, 1929.
First assigned at Fort Crockett, Galveston, Texas with the Third Attack Group, when the Air Force's "West Point of the Air" was opened at Randolph Field, Texas in 1931, General Lee was one of the first officers to be stationed there.
Going to the Philippines in 1935 the general was charged with organizing and training the first Philippines Air Force. After leaving the Philippines in 1938, he was assigned as operations officer at Kelly Field, Texas. In October 1940 he transferred to the Second Bombardment Group at Langley Field, Va., where he served as squadron operations officer until reassigned to the 22nd Bombardment Group, also at Langley.
Soon after World War II began General Lee was named supervisor of training for B-26 groups at MacDill Field, Tampa, Fla. Then, in Early 1943 he was given the task of training B-25 groups at Greenville, S.C. In April of that year General Lee assumed command of the 49th Bomb Wing until the cessation of hostilities, when he was named deputy director of the Air Force Sub-Commission in Rome.
Returning from overseas General Lee became commander of the 97th Bomb Wing at Smoky Hill Air Force Base, Salina, Kan. He was transferred to Turner Air Force Base in Albany, Ga., in September 1947 where he activated the 31st Strategic Fighter Wing and became commander of the wing.
Attending the National War College in Washington, D.C., the general graduated in 1949 and then was named commander of the 22nd Bomb Wing and the First Fighter Wing. In January 1950 he was reassigned to Ellington Air Force Base, Houston, Texas where he commanded the 3605th Navigation Training Wing.
Going to the Philippines in August 1952 General Lee was selected to be vice commander of the 13th Air Force, assuming command a year later.
On Sept. 1, 1956 the general was appointed commander of the 3320th Technical Training Wing, Air Training Command, Amarillo Air Force Base, Texas.
His decorations include the Distinguished Service Medal, Distinguished Flying Cross, Air Medal with two oak leaf clusters, Philippine Distinguished Service Star, French Legion of Honor (rank of chevalier) and Croix de Guerre, the Italian Order of Saints Maurice and Lazarus, War Cross for Merit and the War Cross of Valor. He is rated a command pilot and aircraft observer.