Air Force Featured Stories

Retired ACC ops chief lauded by acting SecAF

  • Published
  • By Senior Airman Jamie Jaggers
  • Air Force Public Affairs Agency, Operating Location – Pentagon

A retired Air Force officer who brought the F-22 Raptor fleet back to full operational status following an indefinite grounding, received the 2012 Eugene M. Zuckert Management Award, at the Pentagon, Nov. 18.

Acting Secretary of the Air Force Eric Fanning presented the award to retired Maj. Gen. Charles W. Lyon, the former Air Combat Command director of operations, Joint Base Langley-Eustis, Va.

“There’s quite a list of accomplishments that made (him) a very compelling choice for this award,” Fanning said.

As Fanning addressed the audience during a small ceremony for Lyon, he spoke to the character and accomplishments of the retired general.

“The thing that stands out the most to me is his time in the F-22 life support system task force,” Fanning said.  “He was hand-selected by then Secretary of the Air Force Mike Donley to lead this organization. His leadership and tenacity helped return the F-22 to full operational status, and restored confidence in the safety of our fifth generation fighter fleet.”

Lyon found the root cause of the F-22 life support anomalies, bringing the Raptor back to full flying status.  According to the award citation, he also improved the combat Air Force’s posture by successfully advocating for an additional $107 million for the 2012 flying hour program.  

“More than anything, I feel like I’m here to represent the hundreds of people who supported me while I was working the F-22 life support system task force, as well as the many other hundreds on my ACC A3 Staff,” Lyon said.

While being recognized for his managerial ability during active duty, Lyon’s focus has shifted post-retirement.

“It was spectacular,” Lyon said. “I had a 32-year career, which had a lot of great opportunities, and I’ll bleed Air Force blue for as long as I live.  But retiring has now given me time to really be with my family, especially my wife, and our young daughter who is graduating high school this year.”

The annual award recognizes outstanding achievements by a top-level Air Force manager – brigadier through lieutenant general or civilian equivalent. The award is named after the seventh Secretary of the Air Force Eugene M. Zuckert, who attended the award ceremonies regularly until 1998.  He passed away in 2000 at the age of 88.