Lt. Col. Art Van Tyne
Award: Honoring Our Veterans
Lt. Col. Art Van Tyne, a World War II Veteran who served in the Pacific theater, was born in Syracuse and currently resides in Wellsville, NY.
He lived in Syracuse until his father, a chemist in Solvay, took a job running a steel mill in Northern New Jersey that was ramping up production to support the war effort. After graduating high school early, Art worked at his father’s steel mill for a year before signing up to join the U.S. Army Air Forces’ Aviation Cadet program (later the Air Force), in September of 1943.
After passing physical and academic exams, he was admitted to the program. He completed basic training in Florida. Afterward, he participated in an intensive training focused on learning about aircraft and the complexities in flying them at Michigan State University and at military bases in Kansas and Texas.
Based on his high marks and his own preference, Lt. Col. Van Tyne became a navigator aboard Curtiss C-46 Commando cargo aircraft. He then was assigned to 5th Air Force Headquarters in the Pacific theater.
He spent time overseas in Japan and South Korea, and flew missions over Okinawa, Eastern China, Japan and South Korea, oftentimes transporting high-ranking military officials.
He earned the Navigator Badge, the Army of Occupation Medal with Japan bar, seven other achievement and commendation medals, and logged 1,200 flying hours.
After being discharged in 1947, he joined the Air Force Reserve as a Military Operational Specialist because he possessed knowledge in radar navigation from his time flying over Japan. Lt. Col. Van Tyne retired from the Reserves in 1974.
He went on to have a distinguished career as a geologist and settled in Wellsville in 1981 when he started his own business.
He served as Deputy Mayor for 12 years, and has served as the President of the local Rotary, a board member and board chair for the Jones Memorial Hospital, and president of the local United Way.
Lt. Col. Van Tyne has been married to his wife Pat for 66 years. Together they have been blessed with two sons, two daughters, six grandchildren and two great-grandchildren.