Colonel James B. Lyle

Died: August 6, 1992 Raleigh, NC
Army Serial Number: 452005
Ranger Battalion/Company: 1A,B,C,E
Rank: Captain

Colonel James B. Lyle is inducted into the Ranger Hall of Fame for bravery and decisive leadership as a Company Commander in the 1st Ranger Battalion of World War II, and for continually displaying extraordinary courage in four campaigns and in the three invasions of North Africa, Sicily, and Italy, twice earning the right to wear the Distinguished Unit Citation. Lyle was noted for quick and accurate assessments under fire and for aggressive leadership to achieve the mission, doing so with minimal casualties. During the crisis at Kasserine Pass, General Terry Allen made an urgent request to Lt. Col. Darby to send him a “reinforced Ranger Company with a hairy chested Company Commander with big _ _ _ _ .” Captain Lyle’s C Company was sent.

In March 1943, Captain Lyle displayed daring bravery in Tunisia at El Guettar when, during a massive German assault, a unit of the 18th Infantry Regiment was being overrun. Lyle’s Company rescued it by attacking the enemy flank with cannon, stalling the enemy attack. In the Sicily invasion in July 1943, Captain Lyle led two Ranger Companies ashore to destroy enemy coastal guns before the main Allied force landed, for which he was awarded the Silver Star.

Valor was not uncommon for Lyle. In postwar Germany, he risked his life to save two people from drowning, an act of heroism for which he was awarded the Soldier’s Medal. In the Korean conflict, in October 1950, as the Executive Officer of the 2/187th, Major Lyle was seriously injured, smashing both legs and hips in a combat parachute and was declared Missing in Action. After a long medical recovery, during which Lt. Col. Lyle demonstrated unimaginable courage, he commanded the 52nd Armored Infantry in Italy in 1957, and in 1961, he served as Senior Advisor to the 7th Republic of Korea Infantry Division. Lt Col. Lyle was the 35th officer inducted into the OCS Hall of Fame, the only officer from the original 1st Ranger Battalion to be so honored.

Photo and story courtesy Ranger Hall of Fame
posted at the request of his nephew, David Williams
September 2003