Military Wiki
Kent L. Lee
Capt. Kent Lee (left standing) taking command of the USS Enterprise
Born July 28, 1923(1923-07-28) (age 98)
Place of birth Florence County, South Carolina
Allegiance United States of America
Service/branch United States Navy
Rank Vice Admiral
Commands held Attack Squadron 46
Carrier Air Wing Six
USS Alamo (LSD-33)
USS Enterprise (CVN-65)
Naval Air Systems Command
Battles/wars World War II
Vietnam War

Kent Liston Lee (born July 28, 1923) is a retired Vice Admiral of the United States Navy. The 36-year veteran of the Navy saw combat in World War II and commanded the aircraft carrier Enterprise (CVN-65) during the Vietnam War. He is best known for his work in driving the development and procurement of the F/A-18 Hornet. Lee was born to R. Irby and Hettie (Floyd) Lee in Florence County, South Carolina. He enlisted in the United States Navy on August 15, 1940. In 1942, he entered the flight training program, and was designated naval aviator and commissioned ensign on August 7, 1943. He served with Bomber Squadron 15 and Fighter Squadron 15 on the carrier Essex (CV-9). With Fighter Squadron 15, he shot down one Japanese aircraft.[1]

After the war, the Navy sent him to Columbia University, where he studied mathematics and physics. In 1954, he received a master's degree in physics from the post-graduate Naval Academy. His command assignments included Attack Squadron 46, Carrier Air Wing Six, Alamo (LSD-33), and Enterprise (CVN-65); the latter during the Vietnam War.[2]

His staff command posts included director of the Office of Program Appraisal, deputy director of the Joint Strategic Target Planning Staff, and commander, Naval Air Systems Command. There he was instrumental in the development and acquisition of the F/A-18 Hornet fighter aircraft. Lee retired from that billet on October 31, 1976.[1]

He currently resides in Charlottesville, Virginia and is a grandfather of nine grandchildren. He has three daughters and now three sons-in-law. He has been married to his wife, Mimi Lee, for 59 years.

See also[]

He has been married to his wife, Mimi, for 63 years.


  1. 1.0 1.1 Kelly, Orr (1990). Hornet: the inside story of the F/A-18. Novato: Presido Press. ISBN 0-89141-344-8. 
  2. Lee, Kent; Capt. E.T. Wooldridge, United States Navy, editor (1995). Into the Jet Age: Conflict and change in Naval Aviation, 1945-1970. Naval Institute Press. 

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