Darrel Pyle was born on April 25, 1940, in Compton, California. He was commissioned a 2d Lt in the U.S. Air Force through Officer Training School at Lackland AFB, Texas, on November 5, 1963, and he completed Undergraduate Pilot Training and was awarded his pilot wings at Webb AFB, Texas, in 1964. Lt Pyle was next assigned to the 390th Tactical Fighter Squadron at Holloman AFB, New Mexico, before flying combat missions in Southeast Asia with the 480th Tactical Fighter Squadron at DaNang AB in the Republic of Vietnam beginning in August 1965. Lt Pyle was forced to eject over North Vietnam on June 13, 1966, and was taken as a Prisoner of War. After spending 2,437 days in captivity, he was released during Operation Homecoming on February 12, 1973. He was briefly hospitalized to recover from his injuries at March AFB, California, before being assigned to the 43rd Tactical Fighter Squadron at Elmendorf AFB, Alaska. Maj Pyle was killed in the crash of his Piper Super Cub on December 27, 1974. He left behind his wife Elaine and 9 year old son, Philip.
His 1st (of 2) Silver Star Citation reads:
For the period September 1966 to January 1967: This officer distinguished himself by gallantry and intrepidity in connection with military operations against an opposing armed force while a Prisoner of War in North Vietnam. During this period, Captain Pyle resisted more than forty days of extreme physical and mental torture administered by his North Vietnamese captors. His resistance and resolve was stronger after this ordeal and when given the opportunity to write letters home, he took advantage and used his letter to his family as a vehicle to transmit other prisoner of war names by cleverly thought-out word associations and innuendoes, which proved successful. By his gallantry and devotion to duty, Captain Pyle reflected great credit upon himself and the United States Air Force.