Retired Aug. 1, 1970. Died March 14, 1992.
Major General Lee Minis Lightner is assistant surgeon general for dental services, Headquarters U.S. Air Force, Washington, D.C. In this position he is the principal Air Staff officer on all matters pertaining to dental services worldwide. He is the key officer in the Air Staff decision-making process affecting the combat readiness, health and efficiency of every military person in the Air Force; is responsible for the establishment of all major policy in the dental field within the Air Force. Provides staff and professional guidance on all dental matters including plans, physical standards, facilities, equipment, research, prevention of disease; and guidance for the selection, training, career control and utilization of personnel.
General Lightner was born in Guymon, Okla., in 1915. He graduated from Guymon High School in 1932 and spent the two succeeding years receiving pre-dental training at Panhandle A&M, Goodwell, Okla., and the University of Oklahoma. In 1934 he entered Kansas City Western Dental College and graduated in 1938 with a doctor of dental surgery degree and a reserve commission as first lieutenant, Dental Corps, U.S. Army. After completing a one-year rotating internship at the U.S. Public Health Service Hospital in San Francisco, General Lightner joined the Pocatello Idaho District Civilian Conservation Corps in July 1939 as camp dentist.
General Lightner entered on active duty with the U.S. Army Air Corps at March Field, Calif., on Nov. 1, 1939, and was assigned to the station hospital. In May 1941 he was named dental surgeon, 14th Pursuit Group, and in February 1942 accompanied the group to Hamilton Field and on to England in August 1942. In November 1942 General Lightner was transferred to the surgeon's office, Headquarters Twelfth Air Force. He moved with the Headquarters to North Africa and was assigned the duty of command dental surgeon until January 1945.
Having pioneered work on mobile dental units in Italy and North Africa, General Lightner was ordered to Army Air Forces Experimental Laboratories to continue work on developing field dental equipment at Wright Field, Ohio, in February 1945. The following October, General Lightner reported to Headquarters Air Technical Service Command where he served as command dental surgeon until reassignment to Barksdale Field, La., in January 1948.
General Lightner received his commission in the Regular component of the Dental Corps, U.S. Army, on July 5, 1946. While at Barksdale, General Lightner transferred from the Department of the Army to the Department of the Air Force on July 21, 1949. He was then assigned to Office of the Surgeon, Headquarters Air Training Command, and moved with its Headquarters to Scott Air Force Base, Ill., in October 1951.
General Lightner served as command dental surgeon, Headquarters Air Training Command, until February 1953 when he was ordered to Headquarters Alaskan Air Command as command dental surgeon. Following this tour of duty he was assigned to Lowry Air Force Base, Colo., in September 1956.
On July 15, 1958, General Lightner reported to the U.S. Air Force Academy, Colo., as the first staff dental officer of the academy and served as dental surgeon until August 1961 when he reported to Headquarters Tactical Air Command, Langley Air Force Base, Va., as command dental surgeon. In June 1964 he was assigned to Headquarters U.S. Air Force, Office of the Surgeon General, to assume the position of deputy assistant surgeon general for dental services and was promoted to brigadier general on Aug. 20, 1965. He became the assistant surgeon general in February 1966.
General Lightner has had more than 16 years' experience in various major command headquarters as staff dental surgeon. Among his decorations are the U.S. Air Force Commendation Medal with oak leaf cluster and the U.S. Army Commendation Medal.