A native of San Diego and son of Rear Adm. Walfrid Nyquist and Irma Beske, John Walfrid Nyquist resided with his family in 1941 in Honolulu awaiting Navy housing. On Dec. 6 of that year, Nyquist’s father took command of Destroyer Division 1 in Pearl Harbor. The next day he led his ships into World War II.
Following in his father’s footsteps, Nyquist graduated from the U. S. Naval Academy in 1955 and embarked on a career in cruisers, destroyers and mine sweepers. In between deployments, he married the love of his life, Penny Lyon, in 1957. The Nyquists have two children, Tom and Andrea.
Nyquist commanded USS Semmes (DDG-18), two Destroyer Squadrons (20 and 36) and as a flag officer, Cruiser-Destroyer Group 5, and the USS Carl Vinson and USS Kitty Hawk carrier battle groups. During the Vietnam conflict, he made combat deployments in 1965 and 1970 and served for one year (1968-69) as a psychological operations advisor in the Mekong Delta.
Selected for flag rank in 1981, John devoted the majority of his flag career to the development of the Arleigh Burke Class Destroyer (DDG-51). In 1987, Nyquist was promoted to Vice Admiral and served as Assistant Chief of Naval Operations for Surface Warfare (OP-03) from November 1987 to February 1991, with responsibility for all surface ships from fleet tugs to battleships.
Nyquist has been awarded the Distinguished Service Medal, four Legions of Merit, Bronze Star, Meritorious Service Medal, two Navy Commendation Medals, seven Vietnam Service Medals, Republic of Vietnam Meritorious Unit Citation (Gallantry Cross), Republic of Vietnam Campaign Medal, two Meritorious Unit Commendations and two China Service (Extended) Deployment awards.
Retiring in 1991, the Nyquists settled in Coronado where Nyquist worked in the defense industry for 17 years. Nyquist served as chairman of the San Diego Armed Services YMCA board for five years and as chairman of the San Diego Chapter of the Surface Navy Association for 20 years. He was recently inducted into the Surface Navy Association’s Surface Warfare Hall of Fame. The Nyquists are founding members of PAWS of Coronado, devoted to the care of the stray, abandoned and relinquished animals of Coronado.