REDSTONE ARSENAL, Ala. (March 26, 2019) -- After more than four decades, Army aviation is bidding adieu to one of its foremost experts on aviation technology.Dr. Bill Lewis, head of the U.S. Army Combat Capabilities Development Command Aviation & Missile Center's Aviation Development Directorate, retired March 29."Dr. Lewis has been an advocate for aviation from his early years as an aviator to his more recent years as a civilian senior leader," said Dr. Juanita M. Christensen, CCDC AvMC executive director. She added that Lewis represents the past, present and future of aviation.This remarkable career started with a farm boy's aspiration to fly."I was a kid on a farm," Lewis reflected. "I didn't realize I was poor, but we were poor." He said he thought about flying fairly early in life but never anticipated the heights to which he'd eventually soar.Lewis retired from the U.S. Army as a lieutenant colonel with 21 years of service in the early '90s. He's been an aerospace engineer, experimental test pilot and simulation engineer. After serving as a professor for several years at University of Tennessee, he came back to the government to work as a Comanche engineer.Although the Comanche program didn't ultimately succeed, Lewis said he is very proud of his efforts there and referred to it as "a big deal."As director of CCDC AvMC's ADD since 2012, Lewis has overseen the Army's aviation-related science and technology activities, including basic research, applied research, and advanced technology development. ADD's mission is to lead the discovery, development, and integration of aviation technologies that transform Warfighter needs into capabilities.Prior to moving to ADD, he led CCDC AvMC's Aviation Engineering Directorate.Inducted into Senior Executive Service in July 2006, the master aviator said "being selected for SES to run some of the aviation programs was a huge thing" and one of the highlights of his decades-long career.Lewis holds a doctorate in aerospace engineering, Master of Science degrees in aviation management and aeronautical engineering, and a Bachelor of Science in applied science and engineering.Christensen said Lewis has served as a cornerstone for new programs targeted to expand the aviation base, such as the Comanche program and joint multi-role technology demonstration program. "Dr. Lewis has been instrumental in forging the future vision and course of Aviation through the Future Vertical Lift science and technology implementations. It has truly been an honor to have served for and with a leader of his caliber."Among his accolades, Lewis earned a U.S. Army Master Aviator Badge with 4,400 flight hours in 53 types of aircraft, he received the 2017 Army Aviation Association of America Joseph P. Cribbins Department of the Army Civilian of the Year Award, and was bestowed the AAAA Honorable Order of St. Michael Gold Award.The lifelong aviator said none of his successes could happen without teamwork, which Lewis said has been essential. "I'm really proud of the teams that I've led … both aviation engineering and aviation development," Lewis said. "(I've led) some of the most talented, intelligent, hardworking folks that you'll meet in the industry."----The CCDC Aviation & Missile Center, formerly known as the Aviation & Missile Research, Development and Engineering Center (AMRDEC), is part of the U.S. Army Combat Capabilities Development Command, which conducts responsive research, development and life cycle engineering to deliver the aviation and missile capabilities the Army depends on to ensure victory on the battlefield today and tomorrow. Through collaboration across the command's core technical competencies, CCDC leads in the discovery, development and delivery of the technology-based capabilities required to make Soldiers more lethal to win our Nation's wars and come home safely. CCDC is a major subordinate command of the U.S. Army Futures Command.