A native of Jacksonville, Florida, Rear Adm. John Cryer received his commission in May 1976 through the Naval Reserve Officer Training Program at Jacksonville University. Cryer holds master's degrees from the Naval War College, Salve Regina University and the National War College.
Designated a naval flight officer in March 1977, he trained as an EA-6B Prowler Electronic Countermeasures officer at Tactical Electronic Warfare Squadron (VAQ) 129, and subsequently served with VAQ-130 where he made multiple Mediterranean deployments aboard USS Forrestal (CV-59) and USS Independence (CV-62). Cryer's sea duty also included deployments aboard USS Saratoga (CV-60) with VAQ-137, participating in strike operations against Libya; and multiple deployments aboard USS Theodore Roosevelt (CVN-71) as executive and commanding officer of VAQ-141.
In 1998, Cryer reported as commander, Electronic Attack Wing, U.S. Pacific Fleet. In 1999, he deployed to Aviano Air Base, Italy, to participate in combat operations during Operation Allied Force, leading a joint effort of 24 EA-6B Prowlers assigned to U.S. and coalition forces.
Shore assignments have included tours with Air Test and Evaluation Squadron (VX) 5 as operational test director, with Naval Air Systems Command in Washington, D.C., as the assistant EA-6B program manager, and with the Joint Chiefs of Staff as a J3 operations action officer.
Selected for flag in 2000, Cryer was assigned to the Office of the Chief of Naval Operations (OPNAV) as the deputy director for the Requirements Assessment Division (N81D). He then served in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, as deputy commander, Joint Task Force-Southwest Asia and after 9/11, became the day air operations director in support of Operation Enduring Freedom. He assumed command of Naval Space Command in Dahlgren, Virginia, in 2001 and directed the establishment of the Naval Network and Space Operations Command in 2002. Cryer retired in May 2005.
He has 3,400 flight hours in the EA-6B and 750 carrier-arrested landings. Cryer has been awarded the Legion of Merit (four awards), the Bronze Star, Air Medal with combat V and numerous other unit and personal awards.