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Air Force Col. Kermit Dyke Dies at 104; Had Been Oldest Living West Point Graduate

Air Force Col. Kermit Dyke Dies at 104; Had Been Oldest Living West Point Graduate
Air Force Col. Kermit Dyke died at age 104 on May 29. Here, Dyke holds a memento from his time at the U.S. Military Academy in his Solomons, Md., home in 2017. (Photo by Mary F. Calvert For The Washington Post via Getty Images)

Air Force Col. Kermit Robert Dyke – a World War II pilot, MOAA Life member, and the oldest living graduate of the U.S. Military Academy – died late last month in his hometown of Solomons, Md. He was 104.

Dyke began his military career after he graduated high school in Los Angeles in 1932, during the Great Depression. He didn’t want to end up like the scores of men he saw lined up looking for work every day, according to a 2017 profile in the Washington Post.

He joined the National Guard, which helped him enter the U.S. Military Academy in 1936.

He enjoyed his time at West Point, where he learned to foxtrot and spent time firing guns, eventually earning a spot on West Point’s pistol team. But he didn’t like waking up at 6 a.m. or being told not to look at his food when he ate so he wouldn’t feel pampered, according to the Post feature.

Dyke served as a pilot with Army Air Corps and later the Air Force. He was trained to fly more than 40 different aircraft and flew missions over Africa, Sardinia, France, and Italy during World War II, according to an obituary in The Calvert (Md.) Recorder.

Over his 22-year-career, Dyke served at installations in Virginia, Canada, Missouri, and Colorado.

Dyke was active in local associations and in West Point alumni affairs, serving as the Class of ’40 president. In May 2018, Dyke led the West Point alumni parade as its oldest living graduate. In February of that year, his wife, Barbara Williams “Bobbe” Dyke, died at age 91; they were married in 1951.

Amanda Dolasinski is MOAA’s staff writer. She can be reached at amandad@moaa.org. Follow her on Twitter @AmandaMOAA.

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Amanda Dolasinski

Amanda Dolasinski is MOAA’s staff writer and covers issues important to veterans and their families, including healthcare, pay and benefits. She can be reached at amandad@moaa.org. Follow her on Twitter @AmandaMOAA.