Meet the Commander: Lt. Col. Lionel Lyde|
Posted 8/3/2012 Updated 8/6/2012
by Staff Sgt. Rachelle Elsea
325th Fighter Wing Public Affairs
8/3/2012 - TYNDALL AIR FORCE BASE, Fla. -- With a father who was a Vietnam veteran, serving selflessly for 22 years and retiring as a sergeant major, he had some big shoes to fill.
"I was born a military brat," said Lt. Col. Lionel Lyde, 325th Medical Operations Squadron commander. "My father was in the Army infantry. My mother was born and raised in Panama, where my father met her during jungle training. I and my siblings were all born in the Panama Canal Zone."
They later moved back to the States, where they grew up in Columbus, Ga.
"I have two siblings, who both live in the Atlanta area," said Colonel Lyde. "I have a sister a year younger than me, who I am very close with, that works for a large health insurer and is married to a former Olympian. My youngest sister is an educator by trade and recently earned her Ph.D."
Growing up, Colonel Lyde was not only hard working in school, but he also found time to participate in extra-curricular activities.
"In middle school, I began playing soccer," he said. "Then, when I started high school, music became a huge thing. I played about six different instruments and I was in the marching band all four years. I also found time to run track."
After graduating high school, Colonel Lyde decided to take the next logical step.
"When I entered college, I was a biology major and my first few years of college were at Columbus State University,"said Colonel Lyde. "My intentions were to transfer to the University of Georgia."
But, money ran out and it was time to make a decision fast.
"When I decided to join the military, it was to get more money for school," Colonel Lyde said. "I also wanted to gain the discipline they were offering. I elected to enlist in the Army. It was originally a three-year enlistment, but I found the military had a lot more to offer then just an education."
Colonel Lyde worked as a laboratory technician.
"I worked in Walter Reed Army Institute of Research," said Colonel Lyde. "We conducted studies on vaccines and even helped develop an inactivated Hepatitis A vaccine. So, the vaccine you get now is a direct precursor of that research we conducted in 1991."
It was not long after that Colonel Lyde received word of a program being offered to send eligible Soldiers to nursing school.
"It was right down my alley as a biology major," Colonel Lyde said. "The deal was, after you finish the program, you would be commissioned. After graduating, I continued to serve in the Army and was signed up for a four-year commitment. At the end of the four years, the Army was downsizing its nurse corps and Air Force sent notice that they would take us."
Colonel Lyde served in the Army for 10 years, before transitioning to the Air Force.
"I was joining for the experience, a chance to do something different and the opportunity to apply my nursing skill to another branch of service," said Colonel Lyde. "So, I signed on for another four years and that was 16 years ago."
During his first Air Force assignment at Eglin Air Force Base, Fla., he met his wife Georgia, who he has been married to for 12 years.
"She was a nurse working in the ward and I was a nurse working in the intensive care unit," Colonel Lyde said. "She came to borrow some supplies one night and I asked her out. We still celebrate that first date every year."
His wife separated from the active duty Air Force in 2001, served in the Air Force Reserve until 2005, and still is an actively practicing nurse. Colonel Lyde also has three children.
"I have a 24-year-old son, who lives in Washington State and is a sergeant in the Army, but aspires to be a warrant officer," said Colonel Lyde. "He is married and has a son. I also have a daughter who is 16 and wants to be a journalist, and another son who is 15 and he wants to be an orthopedic surgeon."
Outside of work and family, Colonel Lyde enjoys running, bowling and improving his golf game.
"I work out almost every morning; at least five or six days a week," he said. "It is a time for me to get my head together; there is something about a good run that clears my mind. I have also been an avid league bowler since I was in the Army. I left Langley as a league champion."
He is also working toward his private pilot's license, which he said is a personal challenge.
Colonel Lyde feels his life so far, has been very blessed.
"My career as a nurse has been everything and even more than I expected," he said. "I would do it for free, that is how much I love what I do."
His passion for the career carries over into his new position as a squadron commander.
"My first goal is to take care of my people," said Colonel Lyde. "I want to make sure that they have everything they need to accomplish their mission. I also want to make sure that those under my command do everything in their ability to maintain the health of the wing and tenant agencies. What we do is vital to keep the planes in the air."
He also wants his people to know that there is no such thing as the word impossible.
"To whom much is given, much is expected," Colonel Lyde said. "We are entrusted with an enormous responsibility and we have to own up to it."
Colonel Lyde has high hopes for Tyndall.
"I want my Airmen to know that I am genuinely a people person," he said. "I want them to also know that I am very competitive. You should strive to be number one. I would like our medical group to be the number one patient center medical home in the Air Force."
He admits to being very driven and wanting to ensure his Airmen are successful. But, he said he is not worried, with a team like the one at Tyndall.
"This is my first time to Tyndall," said Colonel Lyde. "It is a very close knit wing and the people are very friendly. They seem to be very mission focused and all on the same sheet of music. But, most importantly, everyone is willing to be a part of the team and I want to be on a team like that."