Lee Hyatt was born in 1934 in New Hampshire. He entered the U.S. Naval Academy on June 29, 1953, and was commissioned an Ensign in the U.S. Navy on June 7, 1957. Ens Hyatt next completed flight training and was designated a Naval Aviator in November 1958, followed by F-8 Crusader Replacement Air Group training with VF-174 at NAS Cecil Field, Florida. His first assignment was as an F-8 pilot with VF-11 at NAS Cecil Field from 1959 to 1963, and then Naval Postgraduate School at Monterey, California, from 1963 to 1964. His next assignment was on the staff at the U.S. Naval Academy from 1964 to 1966, followed by RA-5C Vigilante Replacement Air Group training with RVAH-3 at NAS Sanford, Florida. LCDR Hyatt served as an RA-5C pilot with RVAH-12 from February 1967 until he was forced to eject over North Vietnam and was taken as a Prisoner of War on August 13, 1967. After spending 2,041 days in captivity, CDR Hyatt was released during Operation Homecoming on March 14, 1973. He was briefly hospitalized to recover from his injuries and then served as Commanding Officer of VA-45 at NAS Jacksonville, Florida, from May 1975 to May 1976. His next assignment was as an Air Operations Officer with Cruiser Destroyer Group 12 at Norfolk, Virginia, from May 1976 to June 1978, followed by Naval War College from June 1978 to June 1979. Capt Hyatt served as Commander of the Mine Warfare Inspection Group from July 1979 to August 1982, and then served with the Personnel Support Detachment at NTC Orlando, Florida, from August 1982 until his retirement from the Navy on October 1, 1985.
His Silver Star Citation reads:
For conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity while interned as a Prisoner of War in North Vietnam. On 13 August 1967, his captors, completely ignoring international agreements, subjected him to extreme mental and physical cruelties in an attempt to obtain military information and false confessions for propaganda purposes. Through his resistance to those brutalities, he contributed significantly toward the eventual abandonment of harsh treatment by the North Vietnamese, which was attracting international attention. By his determination, courage, resourcefulness, and devotion to duty, he reflected great credit upon himself and upheld the highest traditions of the Naval Service and the United States Armed Forces.