Colonel John W. Lewis

10/5/1918 - 10/6/2015
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Colonel John W. Lewis United States Air Corps – United States AirForce Retired; John served in WWII, the Korean Conflict, Vietnam, and the Cuban Crisis. In 1978 John retired as a full Colonel in the United States AirForce. John flew a total of 170 combat missions during his entire military career. Colonel Lewis received the Distinguished Flying Cross during WWII, the Korean Conflict, and the Vietnam War. He also received 11 air medals during WWII, one in Korea, and one in Vietnam. John passed away on Tuesday, October 6, 2015, at his home with his family by his side. John W. Lewis was born in Moores Hill, IN on October 5, 1918 to William and Margaret (Webb) Lewis. He graduated from Moores Hill High School in the class of 1936, and was united in marriage to Alberta Ochs on October 2, 1944. John and Alberta raised 1 son, Tom Lewis and 1 daughter, Susan Greco. In addition to his very distinguished military career, John retired from Joseph E. Seagram following 47 years of employment. John’s accomplishments in Dillsboro were many – he was very active in the Dillsboro United Methodist Church, where he was a charter member of the Methodist Men; he was active in the Dillsboro Town Council for many years, past Commander and lifetime member of Dillsboro American Legion, a member of Hopewell Masonic Lodge # 80 for over 50 years; and a member of AC 119 gunship Association. Vietnam 1969-73. John loved farming and cattle, and was a big family man – he was a mentor and very involved with his grandchildren’s lives. He was preceded in death by his parents. Surviving is his loving wife, Alberta; his son, Thomas D. Lewis, and his wife, Pamela, of Dillsboro, and his daughter, Susan Greco, and her husband, Fortunato, of Dillsboro; 5 grandchildren; Joseph, Salvatore, Megan, Jeffrey (Sarah), and John. The funeral service for John will be Friday, October 9, 2015 at 11:00 a.m. at Dillsboro United Methodist Church with Pastor Mona Safley officiating. He will be laid to rest at Oakdale Cemetery with the Military Honor Guard from Wright-Patterson Air Force Base doing the military rites. The American Legion from Dillsboro will also participate in the services. Friends may meet his family on Thursday, October 8, 2015 from 4:00 p.m. until 8:00 p.m. at Dillsboro United Methodist Church. The arrangements have been entrusted to John’s close friends at DeVries Funeral Home in Dillsboro.
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Post Commander - 1951

Colonel John W. Lewis United States Air Corps – United States Air Force Retired. John Served In W.W, 2, Korea & Vietnam.

John was born Oct. 5, 1918 in Moores Hill, IN. He joined the Army Air Corps Reserves on June 5, 1942. After he was classified it was determined that he would be best suited as a fighter pilot. He started flying P-40’s but due to a shortage of B25 pilots he was assigned to Greenville, S.C. for Bomber Combat Training. Upon completion he was transferred to Casablanca, Morocco during Dec. 1943 for duty as a combat pilot. He was later assigned to Pompeii, Italy at the foot of Mt. Vesuvius in Feb. 1944. During this time Mt. Vesuvius erupted and buried all aircraft. Military personnel had to be evacuated by tanks and trucks. John’s aircraft was buried under four feet of slack surrounded by hot coals. John was then transferred to Corsica. During one of his combat missions his aircraft was hit by flak causing the plane to crash just south of Naples, Italy. John and his Flight Engineer were the only two members os a six man crew that did not suffer injuries. While in Corsica, John was teamed up with astronaut Deke Slayton and together they flew low level combat missions. By that time John had completed 59 combat missions.

Upon completion of 60 missions he was to rotate back to the States. Due to a shortage of pilots he was reassigned to flying courier planes while waiting for D-Day to arrive. The days before D-Day, he was reassigned to combat bombers and on D-Day he bombed the Normandy beaches with 100lb bombs. For three days he flew three combat missions a day. After flying 69 missions he was finally sent home in Sept. 1944.

He was assigned as an instructor in Douglas, Arizona. He was then discharged under the point system but remained in the reserves. In 1951, John, was recalled to fly bombers during the Korean War and was retrained to fly A-26 twin engine bomber with one pilot. He flew 50 combat missions in Korea during a seven month period and then rotated back to the States for release from active duty but remained in the reserves.

In May, 1968 John was recalled to active duty again to serve during the Vietnam War. John flew 51 combat missions during a six month period in Vietnam and all were at night. Upon returning to the States, John retrained to fly jet aircraft. In 1978 John retired as a Full Colonel in the United States Air Force. John flew a total of 170 combat missions during his entire military career.

Colonel Lewis received the Distinguished Flying Cross during WW2, the Korean War and the Vietnam War. He also received eleven Air Medals during WW2, one in Korea and one in Vietnam.

John married his sweetheart Alberta Ochs on Oct. 2, 1944. They raised one son, Tom and one daughter, Susan Greco. John retired from Joseph E. Seagram after 47 years.


Plaque on bottom left reads:

Recognition of Exemplary Service

Colonel John W. Lewis

Resolution No. 1:

WHEREAS, Colonel John W. Lewis, United States Air Corps – United States Air Force Retired served In W.W, II, Korea and Vietnam; and

WHEREAS, During numerous tours flew a total of 170 combat missions; and

WHEREAS, Was awarded three Distinguished Flying Crosses and thirteen Air Medals; now, therefore, be it

RESOLVED, By the membership of Northcutt-Laaker Post 292 of Dillsboro, Indiana at regular meeting on September 8th. 2015 that Colonel John W. Lewis be presented Recognition of Exemplary Service.


Commander: Lloyd Walston

Adjutant: Ron Amm