Cpl Joseph Lyons
Died: June 5, 1968
Joseph Walter "Joe" Lyons was born on October 2, 1945, in Louisville, Kentucky to Ollie Bryant and Helen Margaret (Browning) Lyons.
Corporal Joseph W. Lyons served in the United States Marines and was killed in action on June 5, 1968 in Vietnam.
A.L. Moore-Grimshaw Mortuaries Bethany Chapel of Phoenix, Arizona was in charge of local services. On June 24, 1968, Rev. LeRoy
Thomas officiated and burial was at the Greenwood Memorial Park, Veterans Section in Phoenix, Arizona with Military Rites. Joe's legacy lives on through his daughter Kimberlee Lyons Pian, and his two grandchildren, Natasha Nicole Pian and Joshua Joseph Pian.
Silver Star Recipient
The President of the United States of America takes pride in presenting the Silver Star (Posthumously) to Corporal Joseph Walter Lyons (MCSN: 2315470), United States Marine Corps, for conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity in action while serving as a Scout with the First Force Reconnaissance Company, 1st Reconnaissance Battalion, FIRST Marine Division (Rein.), FMF, in connection with operations against the enemy in the Republic of Vietnam. On 5 June 1968, Corporal Lyons was Rear Security for a ten-man long-range reconnaissance patrol in Thua Thien Province. As the Marines prepared to continue their movement after a temporary halt, they suddenly came under intense automatic weapons fire from a numerically superior North Vietnamese Army force, seriously wounding Corporal Lyons. Ignoring his painful injury, he unhesitatingly directed a heavy volume of suppressive fire upon the enemy soldiers, which pinpointed their positions. Despite being wounded twice more, Corporal Lyons fearlessly continued to deliver accurate fire upon the hostile soldiers until he succumbed to his wounds. His heroic and timely actions were an inspiration to all who served with him and enabled his comrades to inflict numerous casualties on the enemy force. By his courage, bold initiative and selfless devotion to duty, Corporal Lyons contributed significantly to the accomplishment of his unit's mission and upheld the highest traditions of the Marine Corps and of the United States Naval Service. He gallantly gave his life for his country.
From a letter from Hal West, the point man:
"He (Cpl Lyons) was a very likeable and able teammate who seemed very well organized ("squared away") - a great asset to our team. He was always laughing and smiling (as seen by most of the photos of him), and I believe that you should hold that memory of him."
1st Force brother, Sgt Bob Buda:
"I have never let your father (Cpl Lyons) slip from my memory. I think of him every day. I remember the excitement of our training together before Vietnam in 5th Force Recon Company and our crazy weekend trips home to Phoenix so Joe could see your mom and we could visit my dad. Just before his death, I remember sitting outside our hooch in Vietnam in the evenings and talking about home and about you and your mom. I remember how much he loved you and how proud he was of his beautiful baby daughter. He was a lucky dad and he knew it. All he wanted to do was make it back home but we all understood that making it home was going to be tough. Our missions were stacked against us and we knew it. Joe understood this fact and never once let his desire to get home to you and your mom get in the way of doing his job. The missions, like the one in which Joe was killed, were very far into enemy territory. If the enemy discovered us the chances of survival were slim. For me, when Joe died, part of me died too. I missed him dearly."
Major Jay Sullivan :
"I remember writing to you from Phu Bai in Vietnam shortly after your father was killed in action. I wrote to you because I had children of my own at home and felt that I had to offer you my condolences both because of and in spite of your young age. It was then, and it is now, still difficult trying to choose words to express to you the feelings that I have about your Dad, his courage, his commitment to his fellow Marines, and his unselfish service. He was one of the very best Marines I have ever served within my 30 years in the Corps. I think of him often. Your Dad was well-liked in the Company. I think everyone knew about you. He was so proud of his little girl."
Lou Kern, bunkmate from 5th Force:
"I was one of your dad's closest friends in 5th Force. Joe Lyons was a fine man with a great sense of fun and duty. He was proud to be a Marine and especially to be a Force Recon Marine. Like all of us in Force Recon, he went through one of the most rigorous screenings and training in the world. He gave his life for his family and his country, and there is no greater act of love than giving up your life for others. I'm proud I knew Joe, with his wry smile and twinkling eyes."
Al Sniadecki from 5th Force:
"While I did not serve with Joe in Vietnam, he was one of my best friends at 5th Force Recon Company where he and I and Buda and a bunch of Marines trained together. He was a handsome guy with a great smile and personality who certainly loved you very much. As I said, Joe and I were close friends and often went on liberty together. As a matter of fact, he and I and Buda used to head for Phoenix on weekends and I would stay at Buda's dad's place. One time we all went out to where your grandmother worked and got to take a ride in one of the small planes. We actually did aerobatics for the first time in our lives."