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Alexander Gordon Lyle
Alexander Lyle, Medal of Honor recipient
Born (1889-11-12)November 12, 1889
Died July 15, 1955(1955-07-15) (aged 65)
Place of birth Gloucester, Massachusetts
Place of death Portsmouth, Rhode Island
Place of burial Arlington National Cemetery Arlington, Virginia
Allegiance United States of America
Service/branch United States Navy
Years of service 1915 - 1948
Rank Vice Admiral
Unit Navy Dental Corps
5th Marine Regiment
Battles/wars World War I
Awards Medal of Honor
Legion of Merit
Silver Star (2)

Alexander Gordon Lyle (November 12, 1889 – July 15, 1955) was an officer in the United States Navy who received the Medal of Honor for his actions during World War I. He is one of only three dental officers to have received the medal, the others being Weedon Osborne and Ben L. Salomon.[1][2]

Biography[edit | edit source]

Lyle was born in Gloucester, Massachusetts on November 12, 1889.[3] After graduating High School he went to Baltimore College, graduating in 1912 with a degree in dentistry. He accepted a commission in the Navy as a Lieutenant (junior grade) in 1915 while living in Massachusetts and retired August 1, 1948 at the rank of Vice Admiral.[4]

Lyle was serving as a dental officer with the 5th Regiment of the United States Marine Corps on the French front during World War I. On April 23, 1918 he risked his life to rescue a corporal who had been seriously wounded during heavy shellfire. He saved the corporal's life by treating his wounds using surgical aid and became one of only two dental officers in history to receive the Medal of Honor. At the time of the award the Navy still had two different versions of the Medal of Honor, one for combat operations and one for noncombat operations. For his actions saving the corporal's life Lyle received the combat version of the Medal, known as the Tiffany Cross.[3]

He died July 15, 1955 in Portsmouth, Rhode Island and is buried in Arlington National Cemetery Arlington, Virginia.[5] His grave can be found in section 2, lot 1114–1.[5] His wife Ruth Haire Lyle was buried with him when she died in 1963.[4]

Vice Admiral Lyle's medal can be seen on display at the National Naval Medical Center, Bethesda, Maryland. In addition to the Medal of Honor Lyle also received the Legion of Merit, the Silver Star (with palms) and the Italian War Cross.[4]

Medal of Honor citation[edit | edit source]

Rank and organization: Lieutenant Commander (Dental Corps), U.S. Navy. Born: November 12, 1889, Gloucester, Mass. Appointed from: Massachusetts. Other Navy award: Legion of Merit.


For extraordinary heroism and devotion to duty while serving with the 5th Regiment, U.S. Marine Corps. Under heavy shellfire, on April 23, 1918, on the French Front, Lt. Comdr. Lyle rushed to the assistance of Cpl. Thomas Regan, who was seriously wounded, and administered such effective surgical aid while bombardment was still continuing, as to save the life of Cpl. Regan.[3]

See also[edit | edit source]

References[edit | edit source]

 This article incorporates public domain material from websites or documents of the United States Army Center of Military History.
  1. American Dental Association (1964). "JADA : the Journal of the American Dental Association". Journal of the American Dental Association. p. 168. ISSN 0002-8177. OCLC 1777821. "During the 100 years that officers have been eligible, two dental officers have been awarded the Medal: Alexander Gordan Lyle and ..." 
  2. Col. William T. Bowers, (U.S. Army, Retired). "Ben Salomon". Medal of Honor recipients: United States Army Medical Department. Office of Medical History, Office of the Surgeon General. http://history.amedd.army.mil/moh/Salomon.html. Retrieved 2008-07-22. 
  3. 3.0 3.1 3.2 "Lyle, Alexander G.". Army of Medal of Honor website. 2009-08-03. http://www.history.army.mil/html/moh/worldwari.html. Retrieved 2009-08-19. 
  4. 4.0 4.1 4.2 "Medal of Honor recipients Buried in Arlington National Cemetery". Alexander Gordon Lyle. Arlington National Cemetery Website. 2009-03-30. http://www.arlingtoncemetery.net/aglyle.htm. Retrieved 2009-08-20. 
  5. 5.0 5.1 "Alexander Gordon Lyle". Claim to Fame: Medal of Honor recipients. Find a Grave. http://www.findagrave.com/memorial/7863947. Retrieved 2009-08-19. 

External links[edit | edit source]

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