Irving Tyrrell Jr.

Veterans in Blue 2017

Irving Tyrrell Jr. poses in his home for the Air Force's 2017 Veterans in Blue series in Boise, Idaho, May 30, 2017. Tyrrell served for nine years as an air weapons controller before seperating to pursue a career in computer science. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Jessica H. Smith)

Irving Tyrrell Jr. dreamt of flying since childhood. In pursuit of his dreams, he enrolled at the University of Alabama in 1967 and entered the Air Force Reserve Officer Training Program. While in the local flight training program, he learned he was unable to move forward with flying due to a pressure adjustment issue in one of his ears. Despite this, Tyrrell commissioned as an officer in the Air Force in 1971 as an air weapons controller. Serving for nine years, he was stationed in Minnesota, Alaska and Germany. His experience with automated systems in the weapons world grew his interest in computers, so after making the decision to separate from the Air Force as a captain, Tyrrell used his Montgomery GI Bill to earn his degree in computer science from the University of South Alabama. Tyrrell retired after spending 25 years in the high-tech industry. Although he has been out of the military for almost 30 years, Tyrrell still holds an Air Force tie by being involved in the veteran community. He credits the Air Force for being his foundation and, “an important first step for the rest of my life.”