'My personal hero': Air Force Lieutenant Colonel laid to rest in Arizona

A veteran was laid to rest in Arizona on Saturday, Sept. 17 and the service came complete with a military flyover, a fitting farewell to the pilot who served in Korea and Vietnam.

"He was my personal hero," said Lorna Suzanne Skousen, the daughter of Air Force Lieutenant Colonel Alma Skousen.

He was a hero in many ways.

He joined the Army Air Corps during World War II when he was just 17 with dreams of becoming a fighter pilot.

"1951 was when he went through his cadet training and that was when he got to become an officer," his daughter said. "Being in the Air Force was a dream for him."

Skousen died on Sept. 8 at the age of 96 and was buried in Mesa.

Air Force Lieutenant Colonel Alma Skousen

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During his lifetime, Skousen served a total of 28 years in the military. He was a fighter pilot in the Korean and Vietnam wars.

"He flew in Korea, he did 26 missions, he did 133 missions in Vietnam, 100 in north and 33 in south," she said.

"I've had back seaters come to me and other fighter pilots saying he was not a slacker one iota. If he was fired upon, he was taking it to them. That was his ethos and that was how he operated," said Curtis Skousen, his son.

While he was devoted to his country, Skousen also committed much of his life to raising his 9 children with his first wife, Lorna.

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"We didn't have a real perception of it 'cause dad was dad. He was always real friendly," Curtis said.

"He was such an honorable man and was just such a great example to me and all my five children," his daughter Christine Smith said.

Most of all, he'll be remembered for his unconditional love and his faith.

The Lieutenant Colonel is survived by his second wife Phyllis, his children, 43 grandchildren, 69 great-grandchildren and three great-great-grandchildren.

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