Tucked behind and to the side of Denby High School is the Lyle Maxton Skinner Memorial Playfield. Stocked with newer equipment, this playground is attractive and services the neighborhood off Duchess and Morang on Detroit’s eastside.
Lyle grew up on the west side of Michigan. Married to Jennie and living in Flint, he enlisted in the US Navy on June 15, 1937. During World War II he served aboard the Aircraft Carrier the USS Hornet. As a Watertender First Class, Lyle worked in the ship’s engine room / boiler room. October 26, 1942 marked the battle of the Santa Cruz Islands located in the Pacific Ocean north the Solomon Islands. In this battle, the US military was playing a game of catch-up against numerically superior Japanese forces. The Japanese were heavily bombing ships in the area. During the attack, the USS Hornet was being violently shaken by bursting bombs and Skinner was ordered to abandon ship. Instead, Lyle entered an oil-filled elevator pit and rescued a trapped shipmate who would have died otherwise. The USS Hornet later sunk.
Lyle’s courage and heroism earned him the honor and award of the Navy Cross. Unlike many war heroes, Lyle lived through this experience and was able to accept the medal personally. He returned to the west side of Michigan and died in the small village of Leroy, Michigan in 1984.
Copyright 2013. © Andrea Gallucci All rights reserved.