Retired July 1, 1967.
A native of Pine Bluff, Ark., Major General Lewis E. Lyle, commander of the 818th Strategic Aerospace Division, Lincoln Air Force Base, Neb., began his military career in 1938, when after graduation from college he was commissioned a second lieutenant in the Infantry Reserve.
Full time active duty for the general began in December 1940. He served from then until May 1941 as an officer with an anti-tank company. His entry into flying came in May 1941 when he was selected for Aviation Cadets.
Graduating in December 1941, the general was recommissioned and awarded his pilot wings.
Assigned to the European Theater, he flew 69 combat missions as first pilot in a B-17.
Promoted to full colonel in January 1945, the general returned to the United States and served as base commander at McCook, Neb., until 1946 when he spent a year as a student of the Naval War College, Newport, R.I. in July 1947, he was assigned to the Evaluation Division of the Air University, Maxwell Air Force Base, Ala.
From that assignment, he moved to the 91st Strategic Reconnaissance Wing, Barksdale, La. While with the 91st he served, at various times, as maintenance control officer, operations officer, acting commander and deputy commander. When the wing moved to Lockbourne Air Force Base, Ohio in September 1951, the general made the move with the wing and retained his position as deputy commander until October 1952, when he was named Lockbourne base commander.
In August 1953, he began a year's tour as a student at the Air War College. Upon graduation, he became chief of staff of the 5th Air Division. This was followed by assignment to Headquarters Strategic Air Command and a position as chief of plans in the Directorate of Plans and deputy director of plans for two years. On July 1, 1958 he was named commander of the Barksdale-based 4th Air Division and. on Jan. 1, 1959 he became director of plans for Headquarters Second Air Force, a position he held until he was named Second Air Force chief of staff on Aug. 21, 1959. He became a brigadier general on July 21, 1961.
In his present position as commander of the 818th Strategic Aerospace Division, General Lyle's realm of responsibility runs the gamut from pre-World War II transport aircraft to one of the most recent additions to SAC's fighting force, the Atlas Intercontinental Ballistic Missile. Under the general's command are the KC-135 tanker equipped 385th Strategic Aerospace Wing, the 307th medium bomb wing and 98th Strategic Aerospace Wing equipped with B-47 Stratojet bombers. The 549th and 551st Strategic Missile Squadrons, both of which use the Atlas missile and the 818th Combat Support Group, the host agency at Lincoln Air Force Base.
A command pilot, the general has more than 6,500 hours flying time. Included in his decorations are the Distinguished Service Cross, Silver Star with two clusters, Legion of Merit, Distinguished Flying Cross with three clusters, Bronze Star, Air Medal with nine clusters, British Distinguished Flying Cross and the French Croix De Guerre, Air Force Longevity Service Award with four oak leaf clusters (Nov 23, 1956-Nov. 22, 1960, Air Force Regulation 900-10), European African Middle Eastern Campaign Medal (AFR 900-7). All these medals were presented except the last two.
He is authorized to wear the Distinguished Unit Badge (Auth: GO 50, 17 June 1944). Also the Guided Missile Insignia (Par P 1 SO M-41, Hq 2AF, 3.1 May 1961)
510 combat hours on 69 combat missions, (B-17) Europe, from October 1942 to June 1945.