Wellsville World War II Veteran Honored for Induction into Veterans' Hall of Fame

Catharine Young

August 01, 2013

Art Van Tyne Joins New York State Senate Veterans’ Hall of Fame

WELLSVILLE – Recognizing his outstanding record of military service, a distinguished civilian career, and decades of community involvement, Lt. Col. Art Van Tyne of Wellsville was inducted into the New York State Senate Veterans' Hall of Fame as Senator Catharine Young’s 2013 nominee.

Because Lt. Col. Van Tyne was unable to attend the induction ceremony held in Albany in May, he was honored with a reception held this afternoon at the Morrison Hayes American Legion Post No. 702 in Wellsville.

At the induction ceremony in Albany on May 21, 2013, Lt. Col. Van Tyne and other veterans from around New York State were honored for their contributions to their communities, our state, and the entire country. The New York State Senate Veterans’ Hall of Fame was created in 2005 to honor those veterans who have distinguished themselves in their valiant military service, and have continued to devote themselves to serving their neighbors and communities as civilians.

“Art Van Tyne’s story of sacrifice, patriotism, and service is a reminder of how much his generation gave. As a World War II veteran who served in the Pacific theater, Art’s aircraft navigational skills were vital to the movement of troops, material, and military leaders throughout several different countries. Swift and efficient flight transportation was paramount to our success in the war,” said Senator Young.

“After his discharge, Art continued his commitment to the armed forces by joining the Air Force Reserve and sharing his specialized knowledge in radar navigation. His amazing record of service speaks for itself and I am proud have him join the New York State Senate Veterans' Hall of Fame,” Senator Young continued.

Art Van Tyne was born on August 12, 1925, in Syracuse, New York, where he spent his youth and graduated from North High School at the age of 16 in 1942.

After graduating, Van Tyne moved to northern New Jersey where his parents had relocated due to his father’s new job as the chief chemist at Crucible Steel Company, a huge armaments plant that was booming with activity and ramping up production in support of the ongoing war effort. Van Tyne joined his father at Crucible Steel, working in a metallurgy lab for a year.

On September 21, 1943, Van Tyne joined the U.S. Army Air Forces’ Aviation Cadet program. After completing basic training in Miami Beach, Florida, he enrolled in further intensive training at Michigan State University and airfields in Kansas and Texas, where he excelled in the study of navigation and aircraft. In January 1945, he received his navigator’s wings and was promoted to second lieutenant.

Van Tyne was assigned to work with B-17 bombers, which were being heavily utilized in the war’s European theater. With the war in Europe drawing to a close, however, and focus shifting to the war in the Pacific, Van Tyne reported to Fort Bragg, North Carolina, for secret training in radar navigation in preparation for a potential invasion of Japan.

Van Tyne was soon deployed to the Pacific and assigned to the 5th Air Force Headquarters, where his high level of performance and training resulted in his designation as a navigator for twin engine bombers and various transport aircraft. Van Tyne flew missions over Okinawa, Eastern China, Japan, and Korea, logging 1,200 flying hours transporting freight, personnel, and high-ranking military officials. With the war’s end, Van Tyne continued to serve with occupation forces in Japan and Korea.

When being discharged from active duty in 1947, he was asked by the discharging officer if he would join the Air Force Reserve due to his expertise and experience in radar navigation. The discharging officer told Van Tyne that there was a need for people with his specialized training. Always willing to give of himself, Van Tyne joined the Air Force Reserve, where he served for another 27 years, until retiring in 1974.

After Van Tyne’s discharge from active duty, he continued to distinguish himself in civilian life, becoming a successful and respected geologist.

After earning his Bachelor’s degree in geology from Syracuse University in 1951, and his Masters Degree in 1958, Van Tyne moved to Wellsville to work as a petroleum geologist for the New York State Geological Survey Oil and Gas Research Office.

“I fell in love with the place,” said Van Tyne, who worked for the Wellsville office for the next 22 years, a number of which were spent as an adjunct professor at Alfred State University teaching geology.

In 1981, Van Tyne started his own business as a geological consultant with an office on Main Street in Wellsville, an office which he continues to run to this day. Over the years, he has given numerous presentations and written hundreds of papers on the historical and technical aspects of oil and gas drilling, particularly related to the oil sands in the region. His work has earned Van Tyne a reputation as an esteemed expert in the field and numerous awards from his professional peers.

Among his many other roles serving the community, Van Tyne spent 12 years as the Deputy Mayor for the Village of Wellsville, has been President of the local Rotary, was a longtime member and chair of the Jones Memorial Hospital Board of Directors, and served as president of the local United Way.

With his wife of 67 years, Pat, Art has been blessed with sons Mark and Pete and daughters Cynthia and Judy. In addition to their four children, Art and Judy have six grandchildren and two great grandchildren.

“As an official inductee in the New York State Senate Veterans' Hall of Fame, Lt. Col. Van Tyne’s meritorious service to our nation and community will receive the special recognition that only a Hall of Fame can provide, as a fitting expression of our gratitude and admiration,” said Senator Young.