General Lester L. Lyles received his B.S., in mechanical engineering from Howard University in 1968, his M.S. in mechanical / nuclear engineering from New Mexico State University in 1969, and Honorary Doctorate of Laws degrees from New Mexico State University in 2002, and Urbana University in 2009. He is a graduate of the Defense Systems Management College (1980), the Armed Forces Staff College (1981), the National War College (1985), and the National and International Security Management Course at Harvard University (1991).
The General has received many awards and decorations including the Defense Distinguished Service Medal, the Distinguished Service Medal, the Defense Superior Service Medal, and the Legion of Merit with oak leaf cluster. He was named Astronautics Engineer of the Year by the National Space Club in 1990, and received the Roy Wilkins Renown Service Award for outstanding contributions to military equal opportunity policies and programs from the NAACP in 1994. He was named Black Engineer of the Year / Lifetime Achievement in 2003. General Lyles received the “General Thomas D. White Award” for distinguished service in national security, from the U.S. Air Force Academy in 2012.