Richard Lyon (naval officer)

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Richard Lyon
Admiral Richard Lyon US Navy Portrait circa 1975.jpg
Richard Lyon in 1975
Born(1923-07-14)July 14, 1923
Pasadena, California, U.S.
DiedFebruary 3, 2017(2017-02-03) (aged 93)
Oceanside, California, U.S.
Allegiance United States of America
Service/branch United States Navy
Years of service1942–1983 (41 years)
RankUS Navy O8 infobox.svg Rear admiral
Commands heldDeputy Chief, Navy Reserve
UDT Team 5
Battles/warsWorld War II
Korean War
AwardsLegion of Merit
Commendation Medal
Combat Action Ribbon
Other workMayor, Trustee
Rear Adm. Dick Lyon, the first Bullfrog, left, passes the Bullfrog trophy to Capt. Pete Wikul

Richard "Dick" Lyon (July 14, 1923 – February 3, 2017) was a United States Navy admiral[1] and mayor of Oceanside, California.[2]

Early life and education[edit]

Lyon was born in Pasadena, California, were he attended high school with friend and fellow classmate Jackie Robinson.[3] As a youth, he was a selected member of the United States Olympic swim team for the 1940 Summer Olympics in Tokyo,[4] but the 1940 games were canceled due to the outbreak of World War II. Lyon graduated from Yale University in 1944 and that year he was captain of the Yale Bulldogs swimming and diving team with a season record of 10-0. He earned a master's degree from Stanford University in 1953.[5]

Naval career[edit]

Lyon attended Columbia University Midshipmen's School, receiving his commission in the United States Navy in October 1944. He served as a Navy Scout and Raider in the Pacific Theatre and in China as an Intelligence Officer. He was released from active duty in 1946, subsequently joining the Naval Reserve. He returned to active duty in early 1951 he commissioned the Underwater Demolition Team Five, and served in the Korean War until late 1952. Upon release, he resumed his Reserve participation.[5]

In July 1974, Lyon became the first admiral from the Naval Special Warfare community in the history of the Navy.[5]

Lyon was a graduate of both the National War College and the Naval War College. He was the first Reserve officer to be appointed to the board of directors of the United States Naval Institute, where he served as chairman of the editorial board. He has received decorations for the Legion of Merit, Navy Commendation Medal and Combat Action Ribbon.[5]

He returned to active duty as Deputy Chief of Naval Reserve in July 1978,[5] and retired in July 1983 at the rank of rear admiral after nearly 41 years of naval service.[5]

Political career[edit]

Lyon was elected mayor of the City of Oceanside in November 1992,[6] and was re-elected in 1996.[7]

Personal life[edit]

Lyon was a private pilot and an avid sailor, body-surfer and golfer. He was married to Cynthia Gisslin, and had nine children. He resided in Oceanside from 1981[5] until his death in February 2017.[8]


  1. ^ Steele, Heather. "Richard Lyon". Encinitas, California: World War II History Project. Archived from the original on 1 September 2017. Retrieved 23 July 2016.
  2. ^ Lyle, Jamie Scott (30 May 2011). "Parade of Wreaths". Union-Tribune. San Diego, CA.
  3. ^ url=
  4. ^ "city council seats". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 20 August 2013.
  5. ^ a b c d e f g Gorman, Tom (21 October 1992). "In Oceanside, Issues are Growth, Cops and That Pesky Image : Election: Seven candidates are vying to replace Mayor Larry Bagley, and 17 others are seeking two seats on the City Council". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 16 November 2012.
  6. ^ "Oceanside, CA Mayor 1992". Retrieved 20 August 2013.
  7. ^ "Oceanside, CA Mayor 1996". Retrieved 20 August 2013.
  8. ^ Pace, Julie (7 February 2017). "First Navy SEAL to become admiral dies at 93". Navy Times. Retrieved 7 February 2017.