RIP  12/27/1974

Name: Darrell Edwin Pyle
Rank/Branch: O2/United States Air Force, pilot
Unit: 480th TFS
Date of Birth:
Home City of Record: Compton CA
Date of Loss: 13 June 1966
Country of Loss: North Vietnam
Loss Coordinates: 173800 North  1062200 East
Status (in 1973): Returnee
Aircraft/Vehicle/Ground: F4C
Other Personnel in Incident: Alan Lurie, returnee

Source: Compiled by P.O.W. NETWORK from one or more of the following: raw
data from U.S. Government agency sources, correspondence with POW/MIA
families, published sources, interviews, information provided by William
Miller, 1998.


On 1 February 1966 the squadron departed the USA for assignment at Danang
AB. Lurie was then the aircraft commander of an F4C Phantom fighter bomber.
On June 13, 1966, while on an armed reconnaissance mission in the southern
part of North Vietnam, the aircraft was hit by anti-aircraft fire and became
uncontrollable. Both ejected, but Lurie ejected from low altitude (about 350
feet at 450 knots), and sustained a compression fracture of the spine.

The DRV used Plye, the Systems Operator and Lurie as a traveling show until
29 June when they arrived in Hanoi and were thrown into Hoa Lo prison, more
commonly known as the Hanoi Hilton.

SOURCE: WE CAME HOME  copyright 1977
Captain and Mrs. Frederic A Wyatt (USNR Ret), Barbara Powers Wyatt, Editor
P.O.W. Publications, 10250 Moorpark St., Toluca Lake, CA 91602
Text is reproduced as found in the original publication (including date and
spelling errors).

Captain - United States Air Force
Shot Down: June 13, 1966
Released: February 12, 1972

The day was February 12, 1973. The location was Gia Lam Airport, North
Vietnam.  The sky was broken to overcast and the air was chilled by the winds
which swept down from China. I sat in a bus beside a bombed-out hangar and
watched a plane taxiing toward the runway. The plane was a 141 and had big
letters which said, "UNITED STATES AIR FORCE." I was crying. Before the plane
could take off another 141 broke through the overcast and roared over my head.
My plane - my chariot had come to take me home.

Home. What is home? Home is America. What is America? Is America 200 million
people who will look at me in disgust and throw things at me because I've
given seven years of my life to a cause I so fervently believe in? Is America
thousands of people carrying Viet Cong flags down the main streets of America?
Is America Jane Fonda and Ramsey Clark who tell me I've been well treated when
I can too vividly recall the horrors of the past years? What is America?

America - America is thousands of people holding signs which say, "We Love
You." America is people holding Old Glory and shouting, "WELCOME HOME!"
America is a bumper sticker, a bracelet, a hand shake, a hug, a letter.
America is 2 tear drop in the eye of a stranger. America is a huge sign: YOU

As you read this hold your head high and puff out your chest. What is America?
You are America - be proud.

Darell Pyle was killed in a plane crash in Alaska in 1974.

July 30, 1998

	William D Miller
	Littleton, Colorado 80122

Thanks you for timely response to my note on Captain Pyle.

First I want to give you the background history that lead to our meeting.
I joined the US Navy in September, 1964 was abroad the USS Bennington CVS20
for about a year, duty in Gulf of Tonkin 1965, transferred to the Navy
Seabees and went to Da Nang East, Monkey Mountain built a road to a Sam
site, Marble Mountain  became the Chaplains Yeoman and body guard 1966,
returned to the States and re-deployed 1967 to Dong Ha, Chaplains Yeoman
and body guard, six miles south of the DMZ, was transferred to the USS
Sioux AFT65, Ships Yeoman, because of having five combat missions and was
not to return to Vietnam, but instead boarded the Sioux in Da Nang Harbor
and completed a tour in the Gulf of Tonkin and South China Sea chasing and
intercepting the Russian Trawler "Barograph".  Discharged from the Navy in
August 1968, San Diego, California to attend College.

I became very frustrated and wanted to identify with each branch of the
services that had Prisoners of War and Missing In Action POW MIA.  The VIVA
organization was promoting bracelets to give recognition to the POW MIA's.
I presented to VIVA the idea of a Freedom Tree, representing each branch of
the services Air Force, Army, Marines, and Navy.  I arranged a meeting with
VIVA in Century City and gave them my concept for the tree.  VIVA in turn
provided me with 1,060 POW MIA bracelets and a bronze dedication plaque
inscribed with Captain Pyle name.  I then started a 6 month plus
construction of building the tree.  I was active in the City of Lakewood,
California with the Jaycees at the time.  Lakewood had just adopted a POW
MIA named Captain Darrel E. Pyle and I suggested to the City Manager that I
would like to dedicate the Freedom Tree to him.  The ball then started
rolling with  the Mayor and City Council, Congressman Mark Hannford
(deceased),  the Armed Forces, Lakewood Jaycees and the Lakewood Chamber of
Commerce provided a spectacular Welcome Home Ceremony at the Lakewood
Country Club.  Captain Pyle's wife Elaine and son Phillip were at his side.

Before the ceremony, I invited Captain Pyle on stage, behind the closed
curtains.  I then uncovered the tree to make sure he was in agreement with
the display of bracelets.  His emotions displayed were tears and stated
that he recognized so many names.  He had a written prepared speech, but as
he viewed the tree he tore the speech into many pieces.  He looked right
into my eyes and said that those POW MIA names could not be represented
with his written speech.  I asked  him if we should not display the tree to
the public that day, and he said it was the most honorable portal of his
fellow POW's.  His acceptance to the city of Lakewood's adopted son was
gracious.  The presentation of the Freedom Tree by each of the Armed
Services, Air Force, Army, Marines and the Navy by placing their service
flag on each tree branch and saluting him was very arousing, meaningful and
extremely patriotic.  Captain Pyle placed the American Flag on the tree top
and presented it with full military dignity and salute.  He than gave his
short but from the heart message to several hundred people attending the
luncheon.  He spoke of the meaning of the Freedom Tree in words that were
sole searching for compassion for his fellow captive POW's,  the meaning of
patriotism and his warm and sincere welcome home.  There was not a dry eye
from anyone in attendance.  

News agencies and TV Stations also covered the event.


The news paper article described this death in Alaska:
Lakewood's adopted POW dies in mishap

Bemedalled Air force Major Darrel Pyle, a Vietnam prisoner of was adopted
by the city of Lakewood, has died in a freak airplane accident in Alaska
less than two years after his release from a prison camp, relatives said