Military Wiki
Flight Officer
John Lyle
John Lyle 1944
Birth name John Lyle
Born (1920-11-18)November 18, 1920
Died January 5, 2019(2019-01-05) (aged 98)
Place of birth Chicago, Illinois
Place of death Chicago, Illinois
Service/branch United States Army Air Force
Years of service 1944-1945
Rank Flight Officer
Unit 100th Fighter Squadron 332d Fighter Group
  • Congressional Gold Medal 2007
Spouse(s) Eunice (4th wife)
Relations 3 step children

Flight Officer John Lyle (1920-2019) from Bronx, New York, was World War II pilot and a member of the famed group of World War II-era African-Americans known as the Tuskegee Airmen. Dickson flew 26 combat missions during WWII.[1] He had a lifelong love of sailing and in his life he owned seven boats. He was nicknamed Captain Jack for his love of sailing.[2]

Military service[]

Lyle graduated from Englewood High School on chicago's Southside and in 1943 joined the military. He did not want to be a foot soldier so he pursued flying. After graduating from the Tuskegee Institute as a Flight Officer he was assigned to the European theatre. He flew 26 combat missions over Italy, Austria and Germany.[2] Lyle, named his plane “Natalie” after his first wife. During the war he shot down a German Messerschmitt.[3]

I was shot at several times as part of a formation. I watched bombers being torn apart, but they were performing the mission they signed up to do,” Mr. Lyle told Jet. “And when I had to shoot the guy who was shooting at the planes I was protecting, I did not feel bad because that was my assignment.[4]

–John Lyle


The Tuskegee Airmen's aircraft had distinctive markings that led to the name, "Red Tails."[N 1]

  • Congressional Gold Medal 2007[1]


Tuskegee Institute 1944[6]

Personal life[]

Lyle was born and raised on the Southside of Chicago. He graduated from Englewood High School and in 1943 joined the military. He did not want to be a foot soldier so he pursued flying.[2] Lyle married Eunice and was a stepfather to her 3 children. After the war, he became a police officer with the Chicago Park District and started a tree-trimming company. He had prostate cancer at the end of his life.[1] His wife Eunice said that his dying wish was to sit and watch the waves of Lake Michigan at Jackson Park Harbor Yacht Club.[2] Lyle was married four times and Eunice was his fourth wife.[4]

See also[]



  1. The red markings that distinguished the Tuskegee Airmen included red bands on the noses of P-51s as well as a red rudder; their P-51B and D Mustangs flew with similar color schemes, with red propeller spinners, yellow wing bands and all-red tail surfaces.[5]

External links[]

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