June 25th , 2013 10:09 am Leave a comment

Who’s on the Wall: Photographs tell the story of family’s service


The pictures were similar.

Elizabethton resident Bobby Lyons joined the Air Force after graduating from high school in 1964.

Elizabethton resident Bobby Lyons joined the Air Force after graduating from high school in 1964.

Certainly the setting was the same – the Alamo.

Yes, the uniforms were different, but there was a familiar look to the two servicemen.

While Bobby Lyons was in basic training at San Antonio, Texas, after joining the Air Force in 1964, he had his picture taken in front of the landmark.

Nothing unusual about that.

“I sent the picture home to Momma and she told me she had the same one of my daddy in pretty much the same place,” Lyons said during an interview with the STAR. “That was interesting to me. I had no idea that picture existed.”

Lyons’ father, Robert Lyons Sr., served in the Army Air Corps in World War II, and while in the service attended a training session in San Antonio.

He, too, visited the Alamo to have his picture made.

“There were probably 18 or 19 years between them,” the younger Lyons said. “I had no idea he had ever been there. To me, that was one of the neatest things.”

Bobby Lyons and three of his friends had joined the Air Force on Aug. 2, 1964, shortly after graduating from Elizabethton High School, and served four years working security at missile sites in Kansas.

Lyons and high school friends Donnie Hathaway, Joe Coleman and Cloe Nave attended basic training in San Antonio together but were separated and sent to different assignments after that.

“We just kind of agreed on the Air Force,” Lyons said. “We went to school together, graduated together and decided to go to the military together.”

Lyons was assigned to the Strategic Air Command and was stationed in Wichita, Kan. on a Tactical Air Command base. Lyons said the base oversaw the use of the Titan II missile that was stored in 18 different missile sites around the area.

Lyons worked security for the four years he was in the Air Force: the first two years on patrol and checking people into the missile sites; the last two years of his assignment he was team leader on the “roving patrol.”


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