William L. "Spider" Nyland, born 2 October 1946, was commissioned a second lieutenant in the Marine Corps under the NROTC program upon graduation in 1968 from the University of New Mexico. In addition to attaining a Masters of Science degree from the University of Southern California, his formal military education includes The Basic School (1968), Naval Aviation Flight Training (NFO) (1969), Amphibious Warfare School (1975), Navy Fighter Weapons School (Top Gun) (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 1 September 1978, and lieutenant colonel on 1 April 1984.

After being assigned to Marine Fighter Attack Squadron 531 (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, D.C.; 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, D.C. He was promoted to colonel on 1 February 1990. In July 1990, Col Nyland assumed command of Marine Aviation Training Support Group (MATSG), Pensacola, Florida. Following his command of MATSG, he assumed duties as Chief of Staff, 2d Marine Aircraft Wing (2d MAW) 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, 2d MAW, 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, North Carolina. He then served as the Commanding General, 2d MAW, 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 his duties as the Assistant Commandant of the Marine Corps on 10 September 2002.

General Nyland served as the Assistant Commandant of the Marine Corps, Headquarters Marine Corps, Washington D.C., from September 2002 until 7 September 2005. He retired from active duty 1 November 2005.

His personal decorations include: Defense Distinguished Service Medal, Distinguished Service Medal, Legion of Merit, Defense Meritorious Service Medal, Meritorious Service Medal, the Air Medal with eight Strike/Flight awards, and Joint Service Commendation Medal.

Assistant Commandants of the Marine Corps

Marine Corps University