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First Name: William

Last Name: Nyland

Birthplace: USA

Gender: Male

Branch: Marines (present)

Middle Name: L.

Date of Birth: 02 October 1946

Rank: General

Years Served: 1968-2005
William L. Nyland

•  Vietnam War (1960 - 1973)
•  Kosovo War (1998 - 1999)


William L. "Spider" Nyland
General, U.S. Marine Corps

William L. "Spider" Nyland was born on 2 October 1946. He was commissioned a Second Lieutenant in the U.S. Marine Corps under the Naval Reserve Officers' Training Corps program upon graduation in 1968 from the University of New Mexico. He also earned a Master of Science degree from the University of Southern California. Nyland's formal military education includes The Basic School (1968); Naval Aviation Flight Training (Naval Flight Officer) (1969); Amphibious Warfare School (1975); Navy Fighter Weapons School (TopGun) (1977); College of Naval Command and Staff, Naval War College (1981); and Air War College (1988).

He was advanced to First Lieutenant on 5 September 1969; Captain on 1 February 1972; Major on 1 September 1978; and Lieutenant Colonel on 1 April 1984.

After being assigned to Marine Fighter Attack Squadron 351 (VMFA-531), he was ordered to Vietnam, where he flew 122 combat missions with VMFA-314 and VMFA-115. His other tours included: Instructor RIO, Marine Fighter Attack Training Squadron 101 (VMFAT-101); Squadron Assistant Operations Officer and Operations Officer, VMFA-115; and Brigade FORSTAT and Electronic Warfare Officer, 1st Marine Brigade. He also served as Operations Officer and Director of Safety and Standardization, VMFA-212; Aviation Safety Officer and Congressional Liaison/Budget Officer, Headquarters, U.S. Marine Corps, Washington, DC; and Operations Officer, Marine Aircraft Group 24, 1st Marine Amphibious Brigade. He commanded VMFA-232, the Marine Corps' oldest and most decorated fighter squadron, from July 1985 to July 1987.

Lieutenant Colonel Nyland subsequently served as Section Chief for the Central Command Section, European Command/Central Command Branch, Joint Operations Division, Directorate of Operations (J-3), Joint Staff, Washington. He was promoted to Colonel on 1 February 1990. In July 1990, Col Nyland assumed command of Marine Aviation Training Support Group Pensacola, FL. Following his command of MATSG, he assumed duties as Chief of Staff, 2nd Marine Aircraft Wing (2MAW) on 5 July 1992, and assumed additional duties as Assistant Wing Commander on 10 November 1992. He was promoted to Brigadier General on 1 September 1994 and was assigned as Assistant Wing Commander, 2MAW, serving in that billet until 1 December 1995.

Brigadier General Nyland served next on the Joint Staff, J-8, as the Deputy Director for Force Structure and Resources, completing that tour on 30 June 1997. He was advanced to Major General on 2 July 1997 and assumed duties as the Deputy Commanding General, II Marine Expeditionary Force, Camp Lejeune, NC. He then served as the Commanding General, 2nd Marine Aircraft Wing from July 1998 to June 2000. He was advanced to Lieutenant General on 30 June 2000 and assumed duties as the Deputy Commandant for Programs and Resources, Headquarters, U.S. Marine Corps. He next assumed duties as the Deputy Commandant for Aviation on 3 August 2001. He was advanced to General on 4 September 2002 and assumed the duties of Assistant Commandant of the Marine Corps on 10 September 2002 and served until 7 September 2005.

General Nyland retired from active duty on 1 November 2005 after 37 years of service.

Medals and Awards

Defense Distinguished Service Medal
Legion of Merit
Defense Meritorious Service Medal
Meritorious Service Medal
Air Medal w/ Strike/Flight Numeral "8"
Joint Service Commendation Medal
Joint Meritorious Unit Award w/ 1 Oak Leaf Cluster
Navy Unit Commendation
Navy Meritorious Unit Commendation w/ 4 Service Stars
National Defense Service Medal w/ 2 Service Stars
Vietnam Service Medal w/ 1 Service Star
Kosovo Campaign Medal
Global War on Terrorism Service Medal
Korea Defense Service Medal
Armed Forces Service Medal
Navy Sea Service Deployment Ribbon w/ 6 Service Stars
Vietnam Gallantry Cross Unit Citation
Vietnam Civil Actions Unit Citation
Vietnam Campaign Medal


Naval Flight Officer Badge
Office of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Identification Badge

In Retirement

As of August 2006, General Nyland serves as Deputy Director for Defense Research and Development for the Institute for Human and Machine Cognition (IHMC). General Nyland also serves as Chairman of Toys for Tots.

Origin of Nickname/Handle:
Spider is his callsign in Marine Aviation.

Honoree ID: 413   Created by: MHOH




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