Robert E. Lees

  • Colonel
  • Vietnam


Robert E. Lees was born in Alton, Rhode Island to Sydney and Jeannie Lees. He was a 1949 graduate of Westerly High School where he was an outstanding student and a member of the football team. Robert entered the University of Rhode Island in September 1949. He was a member of Phi Sigma Kappa Fraternity and participated in the Army ROTC Program for four years. During his senior year, he served as a Cadet Company Commander and was designated a Distinguished Military Graduate upon graduation in May 1953. He was awarded a Bachelor of Science Degree in Accounting, Cum Laude, and was commissioned as a Regular Army Second Lieutenant, Quartermaster Corps.

Throughout his 30-year career, Colonel Lees thrived in the most challenging and demanding command, combat, and combat service support assignments. As a Field Artillery officer, Lieutenant Lees’ initial company grade assignments were at the Field Artillery Basic Course, Fort Sill, OK, and 3rd Armored Division as a Platoon Leader, Battery Ex-ecutive Officer, Battery Commander and Assistant Operations Officer (S-3).

Captain Lees completed the Quartermaster Advanced course at Fort Lee, Virginia, in 1959. Thereafter, he commanded Combat Service Support Companies both in the United States and South Korea. To capitalize on his leadership and service support expertise, Major Lees was selected to serve in a variety of progressively responsible assignments in the Army Air Force Exchange services. For his leadership and dedication in support of the combat troop units in the Republic of Vietnam, Major Lees was awarded the Bronze Star Medal.

Upon completion of the Command and General Staff College, Major Lees was again tar-geted for another leader development assignment as the Deputy Chief of Staff, Depend-ent and Community Affairs, Fort Devens, Massachusetts. During this period, the dependent children living at Fort Devens were refused access to the city of Ayers school system. Lieutenant Colonel Lees negotiated an agreement that allowed the children of the Fort Devens, MA community a speedy return to classes.

LTC Lees was selected to command the 100th Supply and Service Battalion consisting of twelve companies/detachments and 1,700 soldiers. Shortly after assuming command, the battalion received orders to move to Fort Sill, OK. Upon arriving at Fort Sill, LTC Lees was given the responsibility as the Garrison Commander in addition to being the Battal-ion Commander. After an outstanding battalion command tour, LTC Lees was assigned as the Deputy Commander, U.S. Army Troop Support Agency, Fort Lee, Virginia. TSA was responsible for the worldwide operation of all U.S. Army Commissaries. Colonel Lees was selected as the Commander, Pusan Area Command, Pusan, South Korea.

Returning to the United States, Colonel Lees was assigned as the Director of Quality As-surance, Defense Contracting Agency, Boston, Massachusetts. Colonel Lees provided outstanding leadership and management skills in providing contract management support and services to Department of Defense Major Programs and contract management over-sight for the defense contractors in the Eastern United States.

Colonel Robert E. Lees retired from the United States Army in June 1983, after 30 years of service. He was awarded the Legion of Merit for his service to our country. His other awards include the Defense Superior Service Medal, Bronze Star, Meritorious Service Medal, Joint Service Commendation Medal and Army Commendation Medal, as well as theater medals and ribbons for his Vietnam service.

Colonel Robert E. Lees died on 28 January 1998. Colonel Lees spent his entire life serving his community and nation during peace and war. His exemplary devotion to duty, personal bravery and outstanding leadership are in the highest traditions of the military service and reflect great credit upon himself, the United States Army, and the University of Rhode Island.