A Tribute to Admiral Ace Lyons: A 21st Century Swamp Fox
By Joseph Schmitz
February 16, 2019
“We the People” need now more than ever a few more “Swamp Foxes” like the late great Admiral James Aloysius “Ace” Lyons: a 21st Century Francis Marion.
Francis Marion served during the American Revolutionary War. According to The Society of the Cincinnati, “the nation’s oldest patriotic organization, founded in 1783 by officers of the Continental Army,” past presidents general of which include George Washington and Alexander Hamilton, Marion fought “during the defense of Charleston in 1776 and rose to the rank of colonel in the Second South Carolina Regiment. After the fall of Charleston in 1780, Marion was appointed brigadier general of State Troops and launched an effective campaign of harassment against British detachments around the state. His cunning and success in eluding capture in the coastal lowlands earned him the grudging admiration of his opponents and an enduring place in South Carolina lore as the ‘Swamp Fox’.”
As a modern-day Swamp Fox, Admiral Ace Lyons continued to serve after his retirement from naval service in 1987 by taking on the same swamp that President Donald Trump was elected in 2016 to drain — the administrative state run amuck.
Another retired flag officer, U.S. Military Academy graduate and retired Air Force Lieutenant General Thomas McInerney, described Ace Lyons at the latter’s January 11, 2019, Naval Academy funeral reception as “the Navy’s version of George Patton.”
Products of competing service academies, George Patton of West Point and Ace Lyons of Annapolis, neither George Patton nor Ace Lyons cowered in the face of political correctness. Both exuded extraordinary leadership, courage, and patriotism.
The biography in Admiral Lyons’ funeral program describes him as having “retired as a four-star admiral and commander in chief, U.S. Pacific Fleet on October 1, 1987. . . . A graduate of both the Naval War College and the National War College, he was a principal advisor on significant Joint Chiefs of Staff matters and is considered the ‘father’ of the Navy Red Cell, an anti-terrorism group comprised of Navy SEALs.
“After 36 years of naval service, Admiral Lyons embarked on an equally impressive career as President/CEO of LION Associates, LLC, a premier global consulting company. His many positions included Chairman of the Center for Security Policy’s Military Committee and the senior member of the Citizens Commission on Benghazi.”
In and out of uniform, Ace Lyons personified Article One of the 1775 Naval Regulations, in which the Continental Congress mandated that, “The Commanders of all ships and vessels belonging to the thirteen united colonies, are strictly required to shew in themselves a good example of honor and virtue . . . and to discountenance and suppress all dissolute, immoral and disorderly practices.”
Speaking of “dissolute, immoral and disorderly practices,” Admiral Lyons after retirement took on the various strains of “social engineering” being promoted by politicians and academicians at the time to the grave detriment of military readiness. One web-posted video tribute to Admiral Lyons begins by Admiral Lyons asking his audience:
“Where is our military leadership on all these social engineering issues? They’re violating their oath of office. There’s no question about it. However, they’ve been silenced by the political correctness gestapo watchdogs, and it really distresses me to see that, because I believe no President could withstand the entire Joint Chiefs of Staff standing up and saying, ‘We’re not doing that and if you go ahead here’s our papers. It wouldn’t happen.”
The ongoing abuses of power by inhabitants of the current “swamp” in Washington, D.C. wouldn’t happen any more if more American patriots would follow the lead of the late great Admiral Ace Lyons, an extraordinarily courageous modern-day Swamp Fox.
May God rest the soul of Admiral James Aloysius “Ace” Lyons, a role model for any patriotic American willing to take on the administrative state run amuck, in or out of uniform.
Joseph E. Schmitz served as a foreign policy and national security advisor to Donald Trump during the 2016 presidential campaign. The opinions expressed in this article are his personal opinions. Schmitz served as Inspector General of the Department of Defense from 2002-2005 and is now Chief Legal Officer of Pacem Solutions International. He graduated with distinction from the U.S. Naval Academy, earned his J.D. degree from Stanford Law School, and is author of “The Inspector General Handbook: Fraud, Waste, Abuse, and Other Constitutional ‘Enemies, Foreign and Domestic.”