Admiral John B. Nathman, a native of San Antonio, Texas, graduated with distinction from the United States Naval Academy in 1970. In 1972, he qualified as a Naval aviator, receiving the Naval Training Command's Outstanding Pilot Graduate Award while also completing a Master of Science degree in Aerospace Engineering. Adm. Nathman has served in a variety of sea, shore and joint assignments and flown over 40 different types of aircraft during his career.
At sea, he flew the F-4 Phantom with VF-213 and the F-14 Tomcat with VF-51. He commanded VFA-132, leading his squadron in the first F/A-18 combat sorties against Libya in 1986. Adm. Nathman reported to the USS Nimitz (CVN 68) in 1987 as Executive Officer and subsequently assumed command of USS La Salle (AGF 3), the flagship for Commander, Middle East Force, during Operations Desert Shield and Desert Storm. Adm. Nathman returned to Nimitz as her Commanding Officer from 1992-1994.
Ashore Adm. Nathman was assigned to the U.S. Air Force Test Pilot School at Edwards Air Force Base, graduating with distinction in 1976. He served at Navy Fighter Weapons School and oversaw the advanced tactical training of naval aviators. From 1982 to 1984, Nathman was the senior naval test pilot flying all MiG aircraft with the 4477 Test and Evaluation Squadron at Nellis Air Force Base, Nevada.
Since his selection to Flag rank in 1994, Adm. Nathman has served on the NATO staff of Commander, Allied Forces Southern Europe and as Director of Logistics for Commander, NATO Implementation Force during its deployment to Bosnia. He commanded Carrier Group 7, Nimitz Carrier Strike Group and Battle Force FIFTY in the Persian Gulf. Adm. Nathman subsequently served as Director, Air Warfare on the Chief of Naval Operations staff. In August 2000, he took command of Naval Air Force, U.S. Pacific Fleet and was later designated Commander, Naval Air Forces. Subsequently, he was assigned as the Deputy Chief of Naval Operations for Warfare Requirements and Programs. Adm. Nathman served as the 33rd Vice Chief of Naval Operations and most recently commanded U.S. Fleet Forces from February 2005 until May 2007.
His personal decorations include the Distinguished Service Medal (four awards), Defense Superior Service Medal, Legion of Merit (four awards), Bronze Star with Combat V, Defense Meritorious Service Medal, Meritorious Service Medal (three awards), Navy Commendation Medal with Combat V (two awards) and the Air Force Achievement Medal.