Spads Honor Fallen POW, F-16 Program Founder

  • Published
  • By Capt. Jessica Gross, 301st Fighter Wing public affairs director

Pilots assigned to the 457th Fighter Squadron, 301st Fighter Wing, performed a memorial flyover at Dallas Fort Worth National Cemetery to honor POW and F-16 program founder, Brigadier General Lyle Cameron on August 7.

General Cameron served 23 years of Active Duty in the U.S. Air Force as a fighter pilot and left a significant imprint on the U.S. Air Force as it stands today. Early in his career, Cameron’s F-84 aircraft was shot down over North Korea in 1952. Cameron was held captive thirty-two months at a prisoner of war camp in Mukden (Shenyang), China. Cameron’s experience motivated him to continue his service to his country and ultimately led to the development of Air Force Programs in existence today.

For example, Cameron led the effort in significant fighter aircraft flight simulator development in the 1960s. Cameron would then become a key member of the U.S. Air Force Prototype Study Team that resulted in the Air Force’s decision to pursue six prototype aircraft advanced technology demonstration programs. Following the program’s initiation, Cameron served Director of the Prototype Program Office to launch the six prototypes.

One of the six prototypes Cameron initiated was the lightweight General Dynamics fighter YF-16, which progressed into development as the F-16 Air Combat Fighter/Fighting Falcon Weapon System. Cameron efforts would result in him being named as a program founder of the F-16.

Due to his significant contribution concerning the deployment of the F-16, the 457th Fighter Squadron “Spads” answered the call to pay tribute to Brig. Gen. Cameron’s legacy during his memorial service.

“It is important for us to honor those who have paved the way for the rest of us,” said Colonel Allen Duckworth, 301st Fighter Wing commander. “His devotion to duty and his sacrifice for our nation is inspiring.”

In a symbol of honor and tribute for the passing of Cameron, the Spads flew a “Missing Man” formation flyover for his remaining family members, friends and those in attendance at the service.

“The F-16 formation is such a fitting tribute to an officer whose impact on the F-16 program is still felt today,” said Duckworth. “Our wing holds this flyover close to our hearts.”


Editor's Note: Requests for memorial or funeral flyovers are routed through the Air Force Mortuary Affairs Office.  Eligibility and information can be found at:

Public Affairs (817) 782-5000