More detail on this person: Cecil Carlile, Army Lt. Col. (Retired) Cecil Carlile is seen in this photo still able to wear his Army flight suit during his 80th birthday on Oct. 7, 2011. Retired Army Lt. Col. Cecil Carlile, 80, died Saturday afternoon at the University of Arizona Medical Center in Tucson from a traumatic head injury he suffered as a result of fall late last month. The civic leader and supporter of many local charities was born Oct. 7, 1931, in Wolfforth, Texas. He enlisted in the Army when he was 17 years old and by the age of 19, he was a sergeant first class and a rifle platoon sergeant. He was awarded the Marksmanship Badge, which has eight bars attached to it for rifle, pistol, carbine, machine gun, sub-machine gun, grenade, Browning Automatic Rifle and flame-thrower. Of all the units he served with during his Army career, his wife said his favorite is the Big Red One. As he was a high school drop out, Carlile took the GED test and passed it in 1951. In 1952 he was named Soldier of the Year of the 26th Infantry Regiment, in then West Germany. In 1953 he attended Officer Candidate School at the Infantry School in Fort Benning, Ga. He was the Distinguished Graduate for the class and graduated on May 4, 1954, and was commissioned a second lieutenant in the Infantry. For the next three years he was assigned to Fort Benning where he attended Airborne and Ranger schools, of which he was the honor graduate at the Ranger School. In 1957 he was chosen to attend the Army Aviation School, graduating in 1958 as a fixed wing aviator. Carlile was selected to become one of the Army's first pilots to be trained to fly the OV-1 Mohawk, in which he eventually became an instructor pilot. He served two tours in Vietnam, one flying fixed wing aircraft and the second helicopters. During one tour an OV-1 he was piloting was shot down but he was quickly rescued. Although an aviator, his branch remained Infantry and it meant he had to be both qualified as a pilot and an infantry officer. He served as a rifle company commander and as a battalion commander. He has a number of decorations and other awards. They include, in precedent order, two Legions of Merit, the Distinguished Flying Cross, two Bronze Star Medals, a Meritorious Service Medal, eight Air Medals one with Valor device, a Joint Service Commendation Medal, and three Army Commendation Medals one with Valor device. He also was authorized to wear Master Army Aviator Wings, Airborne Jump Wings, Ranger Tab and the Royal Thai Army Master Aviator Wings. After a quarter of a century in the Army he retired on June 30, 1973, at Fort Huachuca. In civilian life, Carlile was a meter reader for the Sulphur Springs Valley Electric Cooperative and later became the Southern Arizona Manager for the cooperative which included the communities of Benson, Elfrida, Patagonia, Sierra Vista and Sonoita. After retiring from his civilian job he was elected to the SSVEC Board of Directors. He also was twice president of the Sierra Vista Rotary Club and was named a Paul Harris Fellow in the Rotary. Carlile also was appointed to a three-year term as a Sierra Vista City councilman. He was a founder of the Sierra Vista Economic Development Foundation and was an ardent supporter of the Sierra Vista Historical Society as well as other area charitable organizations. With a passion for making Arizona bolo ties and Indian-designed turquoise jewelry in his "rock shop," for fund raisers, Carlile is donating the shop to the Sierra Vista Historical Society to be eventually displayed at a new Hank Hauser Museum. He was preceded in death by his parents and his first wife, Betty, who died in 1985. Carlile is survived by his wife Geraldine "Jeri," of the home. Also he is survived by his and Betty's daughter, Cecilia Moore of Tucson; adopted son, Michael Carlile of Sierra Vista; grandsons, Scott Atkins of Milwaukee, Wis., and Chad Atkins of Denver. He also treated Jeri's children and grandchildren as his own and they include Lorelei Cyrocki of Lowell, Mich., James Sullivan of Nampa, Idaho, and Timothy Sullivan of Tucson; and their children, Emily Cannon, Sarah Cyrocki, Jessica Sullivan, Jenna Sullivan, Ryan Sullivan and Leah Sullivan. He is also survived by three brothers, James A. Carlile Sr. of Las Cruces, N.M., Elton Carlile of Colorado City, Texas, and Jack Carlile of Lubbock, Texas, as well as numerous nieces of nephews. A private graveside ceremony will be held. At 1 p.m. on Friday, a reception with light refreshments will be held at the Thunder Mountain Activity Centre on Fort Huachuca for his friends. In lieu of flowers, the family is requesting donations be made in his name to the Sierra Vista Historical Society, P.O. Box 1088, Sierra Vista, AZ 85636, specifically for the building fund.
Burial information: Fort Huachuca Cemetery, Sierra Vista, AZ
This information was last updated 07/25/2017
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Date posted on this site: 03/11/2023
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