Retired Army Lt. Col. Joseph R. Leers, 84, a veteran of both world wars who later worked for the Central Intelligence Agency, died Monday at Fairfax Hospital after a heart attack.
Col. Leers began his military service with the Army's Field Artillery in 1912. In 1916 he fought with Gen. John J. Pershing's expeditionary force against Pancho Villa in Mexico. He then served with the Coast Artillery during World War i. In 1921, while serving with the New York National Guard, he received his commission.
Between the wars, Col. Leers, who was considered an authority on printing and engraving crafts, worked for the American Bank Note Co. in New York City.
From 1940 to 1942, he served as a fighter pilot with the Army Air Forces. For the remainder of World War II, he served with the Office of Strategic Services, where he helped devdelope the microdot. In 1945, he was awarded the Legion of Merit.
After the war, he moved to the Washington area. He joined the CIA when it was established in 1947 and retired in 1963.
Col. Leers was born in New York City. He lived in Annandale.
His wife of 61 years, the former Agnes McDermott, died last year.
Survivors include two grandchildren.