Pearson, Lyle C.
Date of Interview
Lyle C. Pearson was born on 5 February 1921 in Montevideo, Chippewa County, Minnesota, the oldest of three boys. At age two the Pearson family moved to St. Peter, Minnesota, and it was here that Lyle grew up and attended school, graduating from high school in 1938. He spent time at a Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC) camp (1938-39), and worked at St. Peter Hospital (1939-42) and Consolidated Aircraft in San Diego, California, (1942-43) before volunteering in February 1943 for the US Army Air Corps. Lyle was stationed at a number of bases for Basic and flight training, finally earning his wings at Fort Sumner, New Mexico, in December 1943. Further training followed as Lyle was assigned to B-17 Flying Fortress heavy bombers. Along with the rest of the B-17's ten-man crew, Lyle arrived in Italy in July 1944 and joined the 419th Squadron, 301st Bomb Group, 15th Air Force. He flew his first mission on 31 July 1944, over Ploesti, Romania. On 29 December 1944 Lyle was flying his fiftieth and final combat mission when his plane was shot down over northern Italy; six crew members survived the crash. After a brief stay in Dulag-Luft, a German interrogation and processing facility, Lyle was sent to a German POW camp for air force personnel (Kriegsgefangener Lager der Luftwaffe 1) in Barth, northern Germany; he remained here until the camp was liberated in May 1945 by advancing Soviet troops. Lyle spent several months recovering from his ordeal in the camp, and was finally discharged in December 1945 with the rank of captain. Again a civilian, Lyle moved to Mankato and used the GI Bill for training as a journeyman electrician; he later changed professions and worked many years as a probation officer for several southern Minnesota counties, retiring in 1983. He and his wife Katherine Fuller (married 1942 in San Diego) raised a family of seven.
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Saylor, Thomas, "Oral History Project World War II Years, 1941-1946 - Lyle Pearson" (2002). Oral History Project: World War II Years, 1941-1946. 56.