Folded Wings






Folded Wings


Lewis  E  Lyle



Major General Lewis E. Lyle's Service at Arlington National Cemetery

On June 5, 2008, Major General Lewis Lyle was laid to rest with full military honors at Arlington National Cemetery.

The day turned out to be a beautiful day. The evening before had seen severe thunderstorms, to include several tornados, sweep through the Washington, D.C., area. Evidence of the storm's strength was seen at Arlington, where several large trees were toppled onto nearby white headstones. But this morning was bright and sunny, although growing warm as the day progressed.

We assembled at the main Administration Building in advance of the 0900 service. Officers Becky Watkins Custer, Larry Loveless and board member Jim Roberts represented the 379th BGA. They were joined by Bill Shlesinger, Ed Custer and George & Betsy Hoidra. There were 28 burials scheduled at the cemetery on this day, so events were choreographed with military precision.

From the Administration Building we were moved via motorcade to the first transfer point, where General Lyle's remains were transferred to the flagdraped caisson. The transfer point overlooked the Air Force Memorial, with its three gleaming steel beams reaching up towards the sky. The team of gray draft horses stood stock still, waiting for the command to move forward. From here, the caisson and Honor Guard led the way to the grave site. On the way we passed several large headstones, each bearing the names of ten Air Corps members; no doubt whole crews whose remains were interred together, before the miracle of DNA testing and identification.

At the grave site, the service proceeded with great dignity and respect. The Chaplain, an Air Force Colonel, spoke with pride and admiration of General Lyle's life. He spoke of General Lyle's record of service, the commendations won, and of the 303rd BG and the 379th. He also spoke of General Lyle's efforts in establishing the 8th Air Force Museum.

The military service, so familiar to many of us, was conducted flawlessly. An Air Force band played under the watchful eye of the Honor Guard. The folding of the flag, "Taps" and the firing of the 21-gun salute punctuated the graveside s.ervice. Mrs. Lyle was presented the flag from her husband's casket, "on behalf of a grateful nation", by an Air Force General, and was offered condolences by one of the "Arlington Ladies", a volunteer group that ensures that no service member's ceremony is ever unattended.

Following the service, we all adjourned to the Fort Myer's Officer's Club for a reception where friendships were renewed and stories exchanged about the General and his life well lived. "The purpose of life is a life of purpose." - Robert Byrne

General Lyle is interred in Section 60, Grave Numberl0S, which is located near the intersection of Eisenhower and New York. Fresh cut flowers may be placed on graves at any time. Artificial flowers may be placed on graves October 10th through April 15th.

Larry Loveless
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Last modified: 01/26/14