Honoring & Remembering: Corporal Samuel Kenneth Lyman


Corporal Samuel Kenneth Lyman was born April 12, 1932 to Samuel Bradley and Myrtle Agnes (Togstad) Lyman. His birth took place in his home in Nimrod, MN. His mother was assisted by a midwife, Ernestina Rice, a Chippewa who was originally from Canada. Ken believes she helped to deliver most of the babies in that area.

At the ripe old age of 16, Ken left home. He went to Minneapolis where his sister and her family lived. It was very difficult to find work in 1948 and while looking for work he had many varied experiences, some of which were good and kind and some which were not.

He decided to join the Army Air Force. Because it was near Christmas they would allow me to go home before leaving for basic training. But because I had lied about my age and had run away from home, I declined and took the Rock Island Line out of Minneapolis to Texarkana, Arkansas and transferred to San Antonio, TX, he said.

Ken's basic training was at Lachlan Training Center which took 13 weeks. He did take his leave to go home before going to his next training. In Viloxi, MS, at Keesler Field, he started Radar Airborne Mechanic's school for about 10 weeks. He was washed out without prejudice and returned home for a short leave.

At the end of his leave while waiting to ship out overseas, he went to the state of Washington. He was at the Fairchild Air Force Base in Spokane. Col. Le May had troops doing push ups, field track, marching and other activities to keep us in shape, he said. The junior officers didn't like him for it, but he didn't just order them to do it, he joined them.

While there, I picked up a prisoner who had gone AWOL. He had four kids and a wife to support on low wages. After the trial he was given a dishonorable discharge and sent home to his family. I received a letter from him saying he was home and happy, said Ken.

Ken shipped to New Jersey, then on to the USS Hodges. He was the only one on the ship who did not get sick so he had the privilege of cleaning latrines for about three weeks! They left the New York Harbor, across the Atlantic Ocean, then through England and France on the North Sea, and landed in Hamburg, Germany and took a train to Weisbaden.

We stayed at Camp Lindsey, World USAFE Headquarters, in downtown Weisbaden. It was also the base for the Storm Troopers. The job I was given required top secret classification. So, my parents, the sheriff and others had to fill out papers and etc. to verify my eligibility. The day that the sheriff called on my parents, they thought he was going to tell them that I was dead! You can imagine how happy they were to hear that all he needed was information, said Ken.

One day while I was at Weisbaden, a man came to the door of the barracks. When I saw him, I was so surprised that he was a brother of my good high school friend. I found out later that while driving a gasoline tanker which supplied gas for airplanes, he was caught black marketing fuel, he said.

When I went to Casablanca, French Morocco, we slept in tents. Our job was to build the base, Citisilema. The base needed to have a runway built for the very heavy B36, six engine planes for landing and these planes had to use reversal props on landing .

I was in Morocco for over a year. While I was there I became a currier for the Air force. I went to various countries such as England, France, Greece and other parts of Germany, Ken said. My destination could be an embassy or Air Force, Army or Navy base. The information I carried was in a brief case with a security lock for which I did not have the key. I also, carried an automatic 45 pistol. During my time there, Col. Le May became a four star general under the Strategic Air Command.

When it became time for me to leave the service I was sent to Mitchell Field, Long Island, New York, the CDQ for commissioned and non commissioned officers. I was later moved to Motor Pool.

While there I did a little work on the side. In Long Island I worked for Macys. I sold Double Day Books, and worked for Fairmont Window Company assembling aluminum windows.

I was discharged in January of 1953.

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