Captain Bruce August Nystrom, USN, was born in Marion, Ohio, October 18, 1927, the son of Mr. and Mrs. U. A. Nystrom. Upon graduation from Harding High School, he enlisted in the Navy under the V-5 Aviation Cadet Program. He was ordered to active duty on 1 July 1945, and reported to the V-12 units at Denison University in Ohio, later to Union College, Schenectady, New York. He was designated a Naval Aviator on 13 August 1948, following successive phases of flight training as an Aviation Cadet and Aviation Midshipman.
After joining VF-153, flying the F8F “Bearcat”, he was commissioned on 21 January 1949. As a member of VF-193, aboard the USS PRINCETON, he participated in the Korean War, flying F4U “Corsairs” and also served as squadron Air Intelligence Officer.
In July 1945, LTjg Nystrom received orders to the Naval Air Basic Training Command in Pensacola, Florida, where he served as a tactics and gunnery flight instructor until September 1953. The following three years he flew the F2H “Banshee” in VF-82 at Oceana, Virginia, was promoted to Lieutenant, and made cruises to the Mediterranean aboard the carriers LAKE CHAMPLAIN (CV-37) and INTREPID (CV-11) as squadron Administrative Officer.
He graduated from Stanford university in April 1958 with a B.S. degree in Engineering. The next two and a half years he was the Operations Officer at the Douglas Aircraft’s Palmdale, California Facility working for the BuWepsRep El Segundo on the A4 “Skyhawk” program.
From November 1960 until July 1962 LCDR Nystrom served as the Aide/Flag Lieutenant for Commander Alaskan Sea Frontier at Kodiak, Alaska. He then attended the Command and Staff Course, Naval War College. Upon graduation, he underwent A4 training at VA-44 and was the Air Wing THREE Operations Officer from December 1963 to December 1964 when he joined VA-172 as Executive officer. He was based at NAS Cecil Field, Florida.
December 23, 1965, Commander Nystrom assumed command of VA-172. He deployed with his squadron for Vietnam aboard the USS F.D. ROOSEVELT June 21, 1966. On December 2, 1966, while flying a mission over North Vietnam south of Hanoi in the Red River delta, Commander Nystrom and his wingman, LT Paul Worrell, disappeared.
Commander Nystrom was selected for promotion to Captain in August 1969.
The Department of the Navy made a Presumptive Finding of Death for Captain Nystrom 8 August 1978 with no further information having been provided by North Vietnam. Blanket presumptive findings of death for POW/MIA were begun in 1977 authorized by President Jimmy Carter due solely to passage of time.
Captain Nystrom holds the Distinguished Flying Cross, Bronze Star with Combat “V”, Air Medal with 8 gold stars, Navy Commendation Medal with Combat “V”, gold star in lieu of 2nd Navy Commendation Medal, Korean Presidential Unit Citation, Purple Heart, Navy Unit Commendation, Navy Occupation Service Medal, plus other unit citations and awards. Also, Republic of Vietnam awarded its Air Gallantry Medal with Silver Wings.
Captain Nystrom’s wife, Nancy, and their children, Andria Nystrom Dostaler, Gregory, and Diane Nystrom Douglas and five (5) grandchildren still await a final accounting of his fate. His father died in 1972. His mother died in 1987. He was an only child.
/s/ R. D.
[Ray E. Demming, Jr. 15-48]