John Henry Dick was born in The Dalles, Oregon, on November 1, 1918, son of Frank Garfield and Anna Louise Dick, both now deceased. He graduated from the University of Oregon at Eugene in 1941 with a Bachelor of Science Degree in Law. While at the University, he was President of Associated Students 1939-1940, and a member of NCAA Basketball Championship Team 1939 and was “All American Basketball,” 1940. He enlisted in the US Naval Reserve on January 31, 1942 and was later appointed Aviation Cadet. Upon completing flight training at the Naval Air Station, Corpus Christi, Texas, he was designated Naval Aviator and commissioned Ensign, USNR, on November 1, 1942. He was promoted to Lieutenant (junior grade), to date from January 1, 1944, and on November 20, 1944, was transferred in that rank to the US Navy. He subsequently advanced in rank to that of Rear Admiral, to date from July 1, 1970.
After receiving his “Wings” in 1942, he had duty as Flight Instructor and Gunnery Officer at the Naval Auxiliary Air Station, Kingsville, Texas, until August 1944. During the period August to December 1944, he was a student at the Naval Air Operational Training Command, Naval Auxiliary Air Station, Melbourne, Florida. He then joined Fighting Squadron FIFTY, based on USS Cowpens (CVL-25). “For meritorious achievement…during operations against enemy Japanese forces in Wake Island, Honshu and Hokkaido Islands, Japan from June 20 to August 15, 1945…” he was awarded the Air Medal. The citation continues: “…Completing his fifth combat mission during this period Lieutenant Dick contributed materially to the success of his squadron…” He is also entitled to the Ribbon for and a facsimile of the Navy Unit Commendation awarded USS Cowpens (CVL-25).
In November 1945 he reported for instruction at the Combat Information Center School, Glenview, Illinois, before joining USS Shangri-La (CV-38) in March 1946. He was detached from that aircraft carrier in November 1947, and the same months returned to the Combat Information Center School, Glenview, Illinois, to serve as an Instructor and Planning Officer. From February 1950 to August 1951 he was Assistant CIC Officer and Project Officer on the Staff of Commander Operational Development Force, after which he was Officer in Charge of Operational Development Force Detachment.
He reported in October 1952 as Executive Officer of Fighter Squadron ONE HUNDRED FOURTEEN and in June 1954 transferred to the Staff of Commander Carrier Division FIVE for duty as Combat Information Center Officer. Between June and December 1958 he attended the General Line School, Naval Postgraduate School, Monterey, California, then was Assistant Officer in Charge of the Training Unit at the Naval Auxiliary Air Station, Kingsville, Texas.
During the period August 1957 to June 1958 he was a student at the Naval War College, Newport, Rhode Island, and after a short tour of duty with Fighter Squadron ONE HUNDRED TWENTY-ONE assumed command of Fighter Squadron FIFTY-ONE in December 1958. He was relieved of that command in November 1959 and in January 1960 reported as Air Officer on board USS Intrepid (CVA-11). In June 1961 he was transferred, in a similar capacity, to USS Enterprise (CVAN-65).
In August 1962 he reported for instruction at the National War College, Washington, DC, and in June 1963 was assigned as Head of the Command Policy Section, Strategic Plans Division, Office of the Chief of Naval Operations, Navy Department. While there he attended George Washington University, Washington, DC, from which he received the degree of Master of Arts in International Affairs. He was awarded the Naval Commendation Medal for his “…many important contributions to the soundness and effectiveness of command and organizational arrangements under consideration in the Department of the Navy, the Joint Chiefs of Staff and the Office of the Secretary of Defense…”
He commanded USS Washburn (AK-108), from July 1965 until September 1966 and the next month reported as Plans Officer on the Staff of Commander in Chief, Atlantic Fleet. “For outstanding service from October 1966 through July 1967 while serving as Atlantic Fleet and Western Atlantic Plans Officer on the Staff of the Commander in Chief, US Atlantic Fleet…” he was awarded the Joint Service Commendation Medal.
In September 1967 he assumed command of USS Saratoga (CVA-60) and in April 1969 reported as Chief of Staff and Aide to Commander Carrier Division FIVE. “For exceptionally meritorious conduct…as Chief of Staff and Aide to Commander Task Force SEVENTY-SEVEN and Task Force SEVENTY-ONE from April 29, 1969 to January 24, 1970, during combat operations in the war for Vietnam…” he was awarded the Legion of Merit.
He was attached briefly to the Bureau of Naval Personnel, Navy Department, prior to reporting in March 1970 as Director of the Pan-American Affairs, Naval Missions and Advisory Group Division, Office of the Chief of Naval Operations, Navy Department. In August of that year he became Deputy Director of the Politico-Military Policy Division, with additional duty as Special Assistant for Pan American Affairs, in that office. Continuing duty in the Office of the Chief of Naval Operations, he served as Director of the Foreign Military Assistance and Sales Division from May 1971 until April 1972, when he became Commander United States Naval Forces, Philippines; Commander in Chief, Pacific Representative, Philippines and Commander Naval Base, Subic Bay. He was relieved of the latter assignment in February 1973 and in April of that year was transferred to the Naval Station, Long Beach, California, for temporary duty pending his retirement, effective July 1, 1973.
In addition to the Legion of Merit, the Air Medal, the Joint Service Commendation Medal, the Navy Commendation Medal and the Navy Unit Commendation Ribbon, Rear Admiral Dick has the American Campaign Medal; Asiatic-Pacific Campaign Medal with Star; World War II Victory Medal; Navy Occupation Service Medal, Asia Clasp; China Service Medal; National Defense Service Medal with bronze star; Korean Service Medal; United Nations Service Medal and the Vietnam Service Medal with one star.
While attending the University of Oregon, he was President of Associated Students (1939-1940); member, National Championship Basketball Team, 1939 (National Collegiate Athletic Association) and All American Basketball (1940). Rear Admiral Dick is a member of Sigma Nu and the Kiwanis Club.
He died September 22, 2011.