COL(R) Kermit Dyke (103 years old) grew up in California, during the Great Depression, he joined the National Guard as a means of securing a steady pay-check after observing long unemployment lines. He applied for admission to West Point, and arrived at the academy in the summer of 1936. His recollections of Cadet life include being called “Dumjohn,” being forced to eat “square meals,” taking riding lessons, learning to waltz, and being on the pistol team. When he graduated, he branched into the Army Air Corps, and was stationed in California when Japan attacked Pearl Harbor. He deployed to the European Theater, and was responsible for learning how the British Air Defense System functioned. During the war, he gained experience flying a wide variety of aircraft while serving in North Africa, Corsica, Sardinia, Southern France, and Italy. After the war, he served as the Director of the Tactical Control Division for the Air University. Later he was assigned to the Headquarters, U.S. Air Force, and at NORAD. After retiring in 1962, he went to work for North American Aviation, which later became Rockwell International.
In this interview, Kermit Dyke talks about his childhood and his experiences during the Great Depression. He describes his time as a Cadet, and his experiences in the European Theater during World War II. He discusses some of his assignments over the following decades, and ends by reflecting on his service and West Point, offering advice for Cadets today.