Craig M. Deyerle, 68, of Niceville, Florida, went home to be with the Lord on Friday, June 3, 2022 with his wife by his side.
Craig was preceded in death by his father and his mother, Walter E. Deyerle and Elane R. Deyerle. He is survived by his wife of 41 years, Lynn R. Deyerle; son James M. Deyerle and his wife Caitlin; daughter Rebecca D. Gipson and her husband Mark; two granddaughters, Abigail Lynn and Rose Elizabeth, and a grandson due later this summer. He also leaves behind a brother, Scott, and two sisters, Karen and Kristie.
After graduating from high school in Scotch Plains, NJ, Craig attended Tulane University on a USAF ROTC scholarship. He entered active duty in June 1976 as an electrical engineer for Air Force Systems Command. Craig was selected for Navigator Training in May 1978 and was eventually assigned to the 8th Tactical Wing at Kunsan Air Base, Korea, flying the McDonnel Douglas Phantom II (F-4D) as the Wing Electronic Combat Officer and Weapons Officer. On his return to the United States, he was assigned to the 37th Tactical Fighter Wing at George AFB, California, flying the F-4G Wild Weasel. His first assignment to Eglin AFB was to the Special Programs Division of the USAF Tactical Air Warfare Center. There he served as the Electronic Combat Test Manager of the Fighter Self Protection Tactics Development and Evaluation program. He was selected for an exchange tour with the Royal Air Force at the Department of Air Warfare, Royal Air Force College Cranwell in 1986. He was an instructor in electro-optics, application of radar technology, cockpit display systems and cockpit ergonomics for the General Duties Aerosystems Course, the Empire Test Pilot School and the Royal Air Force Senior Service School. Upon returning to the USAF Air Warfare Center Special Missions Division at Eglin, Craig served in the F-16 Division and Advanced Systems Flights. During his time on active duty, he accrued time in more than 14 different aircraft flying for the USAF and Royal Air Force before retiring in 1994.
After retirement from active duty, Craig continued to work for his country with MacAulay Brown, Inc. as a contractor in the 46th Test Squadron, Defensive Systems Test Flight Eglin AFB. There he was a senior test engineer for the Northrup Grumman Directional Infrared Countermeasures System. This was a high-priority Department of Defense and in particular Air Force Special Operations Command program. Craig’s experience led him to be selected as a Government Service employee, becoming Flight Chief for the Defensive Systems Test Flight, placing him in the position to oversee all of the Squadron’s tests and evaluations of self-protection programs that protect DOD and Allied Services aircraft from advanced enemy surface-to-air weapons. He was very proud of the work he did to assist our service members to complete their mission and come home safely. He was particularly grateful and appreciative of the dedicated men and women who worked with him over the years to accomplish this goal.
Craig played an active role in the Niceville community for the past 33 years. He enjoyed coaching his children’s T-ball and PAL soccer teams and was a Scoutmaster for Boy Scout Troop 553, leading Scouts in local camping trips, Sea Base and Philmont adventures. He was an active participant and Board member of the Eglin Aero Modellers Club, always eager to help others develop their skills in the hobby/craft of building and flying remote control model aircraft. As an avid sailor, Craig was also a member of the Bluewater Bay Sailing Club. He participated in competitive small boat races and looked forward to the weekly Wednesday night fun races to share his love of the water with his ever-changing crew. He often spoke of the peace it gave him to be out on Amazing Grace at sunset.
Family visitation will be held on Thursday, June 16, 2022 at McLaughlin Twin Cities Funeral Home from 5:00 to 7:00 pm. A celebration of his life will be held on Friday, June 17, 2022 at Crosspoint United Methodist Church, Niceville, FL at 10:00 am. with military honors. Interment will be at a later date.
In lieu of flowers, the Deyerle family is asking that donations to honor Craig be made to the Wounded Warrior Project.
Wounded Warrior Project
7020 A.C. Skinner Parkway, Suite 100, Jacksonville FL 32256