June 21, 2024 3:19 am

Local News

World War II Veteran Laid to Rest in Arizona

Credit: iStock

Armand Jackson

Air Force Lieutenant Colonel Alma Skousen, who passed away September 8th, was laid to rest in Mesa, Arizona on Saturday, September 17th at the age of 96. According to a published article by the United States Air Force, Skousen served during three wars, encountered Soviet fighters in battle and survived a jet crash. He retired from his flying career in 1973 as the 311th Tactical Fighter Training Squadron (311th Fighter Squadron) commander at Luke Air Force Base, Arizona. When he was younger, Skousen always yearned to fly. 

He once said: “When I was a little boy I saw an airplane flying, it was 1934. I got my brother to go with me to the little dirt strip the pilot landed on. At that time, pilots wanted to help anybody who was interested in airplanes. They wanted to keep it going. Talking to that pilot was the beginning of my dream to fly.” Skousen enlisted with the Army Air Corps in 1943 during World War II when he was only 17 years old and fresh out of high school at the time. He wouldn’t get the chance to fly during World War II but his dream did come true later when he joined the relatively new Air Force in 1951 and served in both the Korean and Vietnam wars.

Skousen was known for his dedication not just to his country, but to his family. Skousen is survived by his second wife Phyllis, his nine children, 43 grandchildren, 69 great-grandchildren and three great-great-grandchildren. Lorna Suzanne Skousen, one of his daughters, said: “He was my personal hero.” His family, speaking with FOX10 Phoenix, described his history of service while also remembering his love for his family and faith. His daughter Christine Smith said: “He was such an honorable man and was just such a great example to me and all my five children.” 

One piece of advice that Skousen left was: “Work hard, People nowadays want to start at the top and not at the bottom. I had to do a lot of things I didn’t want to do, but I did them because you start at the bottom and work your way to the top. Always do your best.”