It is with great sadness that Global Research & Discovery Group (“GRDG”) announces the passing of Lieutenant Colonel William H. (“Bill”) Lyerly, Jr., Chief Strategy Advisor to the company. Bill passed away on December 26, 2020 surrounded by family. He dedicated his life to public service with a distinguished career of combined 42 years in the US Military and Senior Executive positions of the US Government.
Col. Lyerly’s remarkable career of service began at the United States Air Force Academy where upon graduation in 1975, he was commissioned an Air Force 2nd Lt. and served as an Avionics Officer. He then transitioned to the US Army Medical Service Corps where he worked in the fields of Infectious Diseases, Immunology and Biodefense, including multiple leadership assignments at the Armed Forces Medical Intelligence Center (AFMIC), the Walter Reed Army Institute of Research (WRAIR), and as the Division Chief of Epidemiology and Environmental Health at the US Army Medical Research Institute of Infectious Diseases (USAMRIID). He retired from the Army Reserve in 2013 at the rank of Lieutenant Colonel.
Mr. Lyerly served almost 15 years at the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) Office of Foreign Disaster Assistance (OFDA) where he traveled extensively leading coordination of the agency’s responses to many disasters and crises including the HIV/AIDS and Malaria epidemics in Africa, the 1988 Soviet-Armenian earthquake, the 1991 Kurdish relief efforts in Iraq, humanitarian assistance in Somalia in 1992-1993, the Tajikistan civil war in 1994, the Tanzania/Kenya Embassy bombings in 1998, and the Kosovo crisis in 1999. He was an advisor and liaison to many organizations including the US Central Command (CENTCOM) US European Command (USEUCOM), the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO), the United Nations, and the World Health Organization. He assisted in creating the Office of Public Health Emergency Preparedness in the wake of the post 9-11 Anthrax incident.
Mr. Lyerly was crucial as the Biodefense Lead of the White House Homeland Security Transition Office at the inception of the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) in 2003. He then held Senior Executive Service positions at the DHS including Director of Bio-Countermeasures Coordination, Director of WMD Operations and Incident Management, and finally as Director of International Affairs and Special Assistant for Global Health Security.
Col. Lyerly’s military decorations include, the Defense Meritorious Service Medal, two Joint Service Commendation Medals, three Army Commendation Medals, two Joint Service Achievement Medals, the Army Achievement Medal, the Air Force Achievement Medal, and the Armed Forces Expeditionary Medal. His many government civilian awards and honors include the USAID Meritorious Honor Award, the Department of Health & Human Services (HHS) Secretary’s Distinguished Service Award, and the HHS Superior Service Award.
Bill earned a Bachelor of Science in Life Sciences from the US Air Force Academy, a Master of Arts in Management and Healthcare Administration from Central Michigan University, a Master of Public Health in Epidemiology from Johns Hopkins University, and completed post-graduate coursework in Disaster Management, Epidemiology, Immunology, Infectious Diseases, and International Health. He has an extensive body of work as author and co-author of over 70 publications in official government reports and many peer-reviewed scientific journals.
In addition to his role as Chief Strategy Advisor for GRDG, Mr. Lyerly also served on the Board of Advisors for Impact BioMedical, Inc.
Daryl Thompson, Founder of GRDG said, “Colonel ‘Bill’ Lyerly was a true American hero as well as an inspirational mentor. He worked tirelessly to fight global health crises and improve lives around the world. Bill was an incredible source of medical and scientific knowledge and experience that was critical to the nation’s Biodefense Initiatives. We will miss him greatly.”
GRDG’s Chief Scientific Advisor Dr. Roscoe M. Moore, Jr. said, “Bill was a good friend and dedicated colleague for almost four decades. His distinguished career in public service, which included being assigned to the White House, is a testament to his strong character and desire to leave this world a better place. He will be missed by many, but his work leaves a legacy that benefits countless people. I am truly honored to have known and worked with him.” Dr. Moore is former Assistant United States Surgeon General.
Bill was a devoted husband to his wife Sylvia, a loving father to his daughters, Heather and Kirsten, and a doting grandfather to his four grandchildren. He committed his entire life to helping people in any capacity he could. His family received a call from an organ donation non-profit saying that his organs will help over 50 people including the giving the gift of eyesight to two separate people. Even in death, Bill is helping others.