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Inside KELOLAND: A military perspective on Islam and the West

March 12, 2008, 10:16 AM

On this week's Inside KELOLAND, Retired Vice Admiral Lyle Bien gives a military perspective on Islam and the West.

Augustana ’67 

This native of Hillhead, South Dakota, possesses a decorated Naval career that includes flying 5,500 hours in fighter aircraft, 1,300 carrier landings, and 225 combat missions over South and North Vietnam. 

Following his service in southeast Asia, from 1977 to 1980, Admiral Bien was a "Top Gun" flight instructor at the Navy Fighter Weapons School in Miramar, California. In 1980 he served aboard the aircraft carrier USS Kitty Hawk and in 1984 was promoted to the position of Commanding Officer of a fighter sqaudron.After attending the Naval War College, Commander Bien's air wing was assigned to the carrier USS Carl Vinson in June of 1989. From October, 1990, to March, 1991, he was assigned to the Naval Central Command in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia.While on this assignment, Commander Bien served as the Senior Navy Strike Planner under General Norman Schwartzkopff during Operations Desert Shield and Desert Storm. 

After his tour of duty in the Persian Gulf, Admiral Bien attended the National War College and in July, 1992, he reported for duty at the Pentagon.While there, he served as the Naval Advisor to General Colin Powell, chairman of the U.S. Joint Chiefs of Staff. In August of 1994, he was promoted to the rank of Rear Admiral and was assigned Commander of Navy Space Command headquartered at Dahlgran Naval Air Station in Virginia.A year later, he was assigned Commander, Carrier Group Seven, which included the aircraft carrier USS Nimitz, its associated Air Wing and other naval vessels. In August 1996, he was promoted to Vice Admiral when assigned Deputy Commander-in-Chief of U.S. Space Command at Peterson Air Force Base, Colorado Springs, Colorado. 

Admiral Bien is the recipient of 23 medals and citations in recognition of his military service, including the Defense Superior Service Medal, two Legion of Merit Awards, three Meritorious Service Medals, eleven Air
Medals and the Vietnamese Cross of Gallantry. A member of the College's Board of Trustees,Admiral Bien was awarded the Augustana Alumni Achievement Award in 1995 and in 1997, he was inducted into the South Dakota Hall of Fame.

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