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Kermit Arthur Tyler
April 13, 1913(1913-04-13) – January 23, 2010 (aged 96)[1]
Place of birth Oelwein, Iowa
Place of death San Diego, California
Allegiance United States
Service/branch United States Air Force
Years of service 1936-1961
Rank Lieutenant Colonel
Unit 8th Pursuit Squadron
Battles/wars Pearl Harbor, WWII
Awards Legion of Merit
Other work Real Estate Broker

Kermit A. Tyler (April 13, 1913 – January 23, 2010[1]) was an American Air Force officer. Tyler was assigned as an Executive Officer in the 8th Pursuit Squadron at Pearl Harbor on 7 December 1941, the day Japan attacked Pearl Harbor.



Tyler was born on April 21, 1913, in Oelwein, Iowa.[1]

Tyler moved with his family to Long Beach, California.[1] He joined the Civilian Conservation Corps for two years[1] before becoming a Army Air Corps flying cadet in 1936.[2]

Pearl Harbor

On 7 December, 1941, Tyler was a first lieutenant in the Army Air Force assigned as the Executive Officer in the 8th Pursuit Squadron, based at Pearl Harbor. That morning he was assigned duty as the Officer In Charge of the partly activated Pearl Harbor Intercept Center. His duties were to assist the Controller in ordering planes to intercept enemy planes or supposed enemy planes, after the planes got in the air. New and untrained at the time, when warned of the approach of a large aircraft flight from the north, Tyler presumed it to be the scheduled arrival of six B-17 bombers from the mainland. The radar operators were tracking Japanese planes coming to attack the base. Radar operators, operating in training mode, failed to make clear the size of the formation even though it was larger than they'd ever seen, and he did not pass on an alarm of "attack imminent".

Following an investigation by a Navy Court of Inquiry in August of 1942,[3] it was determined that Tyler had been assigned to the Information Center with little or no training, no supervision, and no staff in which to work with. Tyler was subsequently cleared on any wrongdoing by the Board and no disciplinary actions were taken against him.

Tyler retired as a lieutenant colonel in the United States Air Force in 1961. After leaving military service, he obtained a business degree and worked as real estate broker.[4]

Tyler died of pneumonia on January 23, 2010[1] at his home in San Diego, California, at the age of 96.[1] He was predeceased by his wife, Marian, and son, Michael; and survived by three children, Julie, Carol Daniels and Terry Tyler.[1]


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