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.