Lt. Col. John C. Lyon
Submitted by Edgar on Wed, 07/02/2014 - 12:33am
Lt. Col. John C. “Pappy” Lyon made his final flight on Tuesday, June 17, 2014, at 0800 hours. His farewell salute was Sunday, June 22, 2014 at Norse Cemetery. He was escorted to the cemetery by the Patriot Guard Riders of North Texas and received by the United States Air Force Honor Guard. Reveille was played by Bethany Terrall, CHS Band student at 0800 with the raising of the flag by niece, T. Sgt. Mindy Dahl, USAF and grandson Pat Tyler Chiles, USMC assisted by grandson, James Liardon. High Flight was read by Sgt. Rick Odom, Hood County Sheriff’s Department. The message was delivered by Senator Brian Birdwell of Granbury, followed by the Air Force Hymn sung by T. Sgt. Mindy Dahl. She then led the family and friends in the singing of the Air Force Song. The ceremony continued with the presentation of the flag, Taps, and 21 gun salute, all by the USAF Honor Guard. “Fly with the Angels, Pappy… over and out.” John Calvin Lyon was born on Sept. 29, 1920 in Bosque County, Texas to Martha Pauline Alfei Lyon and John Mallard Lyon. He moved to Clifton in 1923 from Pendell Station, Bosque County, following the death of his father. He graduated from Clifton High School in 1937 and went on to pursue his flying career. He moved to Baytown where he started college and studied navigation, meteorology, and radio communication. He received his first pilot’s license at the age of 17. The J2 Cub is the first aircraft he flew. At age 21 he started his career with Humble Oil, now known as Exxon. At age 23, he enlisted in the U.S. Army Air Corps. He completed basic training at Sheppard Field in Wichita Falls, TX. He then was sent to Texas A&M where he graduated with honors for the Army Air Corps Cadet program. Lt. Col. Lyon received his first wings on Aug. 4, 1944. He was the only cadet that was not allowed a 30-day leave. He was immediately transferred to Aloe Field in Victoria as a flight instructor. He instructed in the P40 and taught aerobatic formation, instrumentation, transitions, and advanced flying. Lt. Col. Lyon handed many pilots their first wings. Some of the pilots he instructed were shot down in the Philippines and he was called to re-certify them. He also instructed gunnery school in Matagorda. In June 1945, his daughter Linda Kay Lyon was born. In November 1946, he enlisted in the reserves. He instructed at Ellington Field, Houston, where he was the only flight instructor to check off pilots flying the P-51. In 1950, during the Korean War, the Pentagon recalled Lt. Col. Lyon to active duty. He was then stationed at Tyndall Air Force Base in Panama City, FL. He instructed ground crew, all-weather fighter interceptor school, and trained for all radar interceptor operations. In 1952, he enlisted in the reserves and was discharged from Tyndall Air Force Base. He then enlisted in the National Guard. He transferred to Ellington Air Force Base where he was stationed 12 years. From 1952 to 1964, Lt. Col. Lyon flew every other weekend. There were many nights of alert duty flying from 6 p.m to 6 a.m. He was Deputy Commander and Operations Staff Officer in charge of fighters and on alert 24/7 during the Cuban Crisis. He chose himself to scramble and to intercept incoming aircraft in order to keep the young pilots out of harms way. The latest aircraft he flew was the F-102 Delta Wing Super-sonic Fighter Jet, which was armed with 24 rockets and six guided missiles. Lt. Col. Lyon retired from active duty in 1964. He returned to Clifton where he worked on the third-generation family farm and continued contract work for Exxon Engineering Department. Lt. Col. Lyon received his Senior Pilot Wings in 1951 and Command Pilot Wings in 1956. He retired from the U.S. Air Force in 1980 holding over 3,900 hours of first-pilot flight time, over 1,200 flight instructor time and countless hours of co-pilot time. His nickname was Pappy. He was a life member of the American Legion, life member of the VFW, serving three years as District Commander, a member of the Masonic Lodge, member of Scottish Rites, member of York Lodge, member of Commandry and member of Karem Shrine. Lt. Col. Lyon was preceded in death by his father, John Mallard and his mother, Martha Pauline Alfei Lyon. Lt. Col. Lyon’s family includes his best friend and soul mate, Joyce Wright of Madisonville; daughter, Linda Liardon of Clifton; grandsons, Ronny Liardon and wife, Becky, and children, Tyler and James of Clifton; Gary Liardon and wife, Amy, and children, Avery and Will of Austin; Tommy Liardon and wife, Lacy and children, Cain, Hanah and Grey of Buena Vista, CO, and numerous nieces and nephews. Lt. Col. Lyon was a part of the “greatest generation,” true patriot, an inspiration and role model for many and hero to all. He will be sorely missed and always loved.
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