John Thomas Lyles, Jr.


General Science

Sigma Epsilon

Columbia and Newberry, South Carolina

Wife, Former Kathryn Crawford

Army Air Force, Captain

463rd Fighter Squadron, 507th Fighter Group

Purple Heart

Sep 12, 1918

May 20, 1945

Piloting a P-47, reported missing by his wingman at 30,000 feet above Eniwetok Atoll of the Marshall Islands in the Pacific.

He is memorialized at the Courts of the Missing at the Honolulu Memorial in Hawaii.


Personal Remembrances

John was born in Newberry, SC on September 12, 1918.  His parents were john T. and Maggie A. Lyles.  He attended school in Newberry and entered Clemson College in 1935 and graduated with the Class of 1939.  After graduating with a BS degree in General Science, John volunteered for Army service on July 25, 1940.

He initially served as an instructor with the 29th Infantry Division at Fort Benning, GA.  In January, 1942, he entered the Army Air Corps and received his wings on August 5, 1942 at Fort Moultrie, GA.  As a P-47 fighter pilot, he was sent to the Pacific in March, 1945 with the 463rd Fighter Squadron of the 507th Fighter Group.  The following May 20th Captain Lyles was reported missing by his wingman when last seen on a scheduled altitude test 30,000 feet above Eniwetok Atoll in the Marshall Islands.  His body was not recovered, and he was declared dead by the War Department on May 21st, 1946.

In addition to his parents, he was survived by his wife, the former Miss Kathryn Crawford of Columbia; one brother, William G. Lyles; his maternal grandmother, Mrs. Mary Livingstone; and two nephews, Billy and Bobby Lyles; all of Columbia.  A memorial service for Captain Lyles was held at the Ebenezer Evangelical Lutheran church in Columbia on June 16, 1946.

Biography written by James O, Sweeny, Clemson College Class of 1939.

There is very little other information available from official records. One incomplete report has the following quotations: "30,000 feet of Eniwetok Atoll" and "Insufficient oxygen in compressibility dive."

Additional Information

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Extra Documents

Lost to the Pacific – Vignette written by Kelly Durham for The Echo