Pine Bluff native Nehamon Lyons IV was an Operations Specialist 2nd Class who faithfully served his country, working at the Pentagon until his death during the 9/11 terrorist attacks.
Image Credit: www.defense.gov
Nehamon Lyons IV was born on March 4, 1971 in Pine Bluff, Arkansas. Lyons attended Dollarway High School, where he was a member of the band known for his school spirit and big smile. In an interview with KARK, Lyons’ former teacher Linda London Simmons said, “He was in the band, and that’s one of my most fond memories of him. They would practice on campus, and I could see him now, marching across the campus with his big bass drum with that smile on his face.” Former classmate U.S. Army Sergeant First Class Tara Tyler-Woods also said, “He just had this remarkable smile. It was very contagious.”
In 1989, Lyons graduated from Dollarway High School. In 1990, he moved to Mobile, Alabama. He attended the University of South Alabama for three years as he pursued a degree in medicine and worked several jobs to pay for his degree.
In 1997, he enlisted in the United States Navy. His first assignment was the USS Gettysburg, a guided-missile cruiser. Senior Chief Operations Specialist Scott McClain, served on the cruiser with Lyons. In a 2017 article written for the Navy, McClain had this to say about Lyons. "He was a great guy. He was really friendly and funny, always willing to help out with anything that I needed. He taught me a lot about being an OS (operations specialist) and a lot about CIC (combat information center) on the cruiser."
Sheldwyn Willis, also served with Lyons on the USS Gettysburg. In a 2021 interview with Alabama’s CBS42, Willis said, “He just really taught me how to handle myself as a man: how to grow up, how to be mature, and how to take care of my business. He taught me the right way to do things. Instead of going off the beaten path, he put me on the right path.” Willis also said that those experiences with Lyons helped him grow into the man he is today.
In January 2001, Lyons became an Operations Specialist 2nd Class and was transferred to the Pentagon. On July 4th, he visited relatives in Alabama. He talked non stop about how much he loved working in the U.S. Navy and living in Washington, D.C. When asked about his new job at the Pentagon, his cousin Latrice Racy said, "He was very happy, very high-spirited, excited." She also said that Lyons "was kind of shy, a very giving person, very hard-working and dedicated."
On September 11, 2001, Lyons died during the terrorist attack on the Pentagon. He was 30 years old. He is survived by his mother, Jewel Lyons, sister, Sonya, and brothers, Rodney, Corey, Marquise and Christian.
In his Pentagon Memorial, Lyons is remembered as “a self-starter who would pursue a goal and work tirelessly to achieve it.” In his absence, many of the people he met and worked with still remember him as a nice young man, with a broad smile and easy going demeanor who would do anything you asked him to. Before his death, Lyons planned to continue his career in the service.
He was posthumously awarded the Purple Heart.
Written by: Ninfa O. Barnard