Dr. Waldo K. Lyon
Award: Gold Medal Award
Dr. Waldo K. Lyon
For his significant contribution to naval engineering as set forth in the following CITATION:
For exceptionally meritorious achievement in the performance of outstanding services while serving at the U.S. Naval Electronics Laboratory, San Diego, California and on board the nuclear submarine USS SKATE (SS(N) 578) during the Arctic Cruise of 1959. In 1946 Dr. Lyon developed the first crude sonar equipment for under ice operations, which furnished vital support to the Navy's first Arctic exploratory cruise by submarine in the Bering Sea and Chuckchi Sea. His personal participation in this cruise provided the essential technical knowledge and Arctic experience necessary to accomplish the cruise.
Since this first cruise Dr. Lyon has dedicated his life's work to giving our Navy control of the Arctic Ocean. In the period 1946-1953 he participated in several diesel submarine operations in the Bering Sea and Chuckchi Sea during which he continually improved the electronic equipment and submarine operational capabilities for under-ice operations. He did much to keep alive the idea of submarine Arctic operations by his own enthusiasm, confidence, and dedication to duty. The advent of the nuclear powered submarine, with its unlimited submerged endurance, overcame the major remaining obstacles to under ice operations.
Dr. Lyon was instrumental in the planning of nuclear submarine Arctic cruises and in 1957 he participated in the Arctic voyage of USS NAUTILUS (SS(N) 571), operating and evaluating greatly improved electronic ice detection equipment which was designed, developed and constructed under his direct supervision. With the knowledge gained during that cruise, he developed additional equipment to enhance the Arctic capabilities of nuclear submarines. This permitted NAUTILUS in 1958 to complete the first transpolar crossing from the Pacific to the Atlantic Ocean under the Arctic ice pack. Dr. LYON participated in that voyage. In March 1959 Dr. LYON was on board USS SKATE (SS(N) 578) when she surfaced at the North Pole, demonstrating the nuclear submarine's tremendous potential for arctic service. Late in 1959 he assisted in outfitting USS SARGO (SS(N)583) for her historic 31 day winter Arctic cruise north of Alaska, personally participating in that trip in early 1960. The SKATE cruise of 1959 and this most recent cruise of SARGO of over 6000 miles under the ice, marked the culmination of Dr. Lyon's long sought goal-submarine Arctic operations on a year-round basis.
Throughout his years of work on the development of Arctic equipment and in personal participation in submarine Arctic operation, Dr. Lyon gave unsparingly of his enthusiasm, technical knowledge, and time. He not only provided the technical knowledge for developing the necessary equipment, but he provided the professional knowledge and experience of Arctic operations to keep alive the idea and support submarine operations under the ice. He is an outstanding engineer and citizen. His devotion to duty• is an example to all, and his enthusiasm, leadership, and extraordinary professional abilities have been and are continuing to be of tremendous value in the service of our Navy and our Country.