RDML William E. Terry, USN (Ret.) Signal Charlie


Admiral Terry passed away suddenly on Sunday evening, July 10, 2022.

ENS Terry became a Naval Aviator on April 12,1963 at HT-8, NAS Ellyson Field, Pensacola, Florida. ENS Terry was Navy Helicopter Pilot Designator Number R-6582. The Admiral has over 5000 flight hours in the Sikorsky SH-3 Helicopter.

Admiral Terry is a former NHA National President, a NHA Lifetime Member #17, the 2005 Life Time Service to NHA Award Winner, the 2020 NHAHS/NHA CAPT Mark Starr Pioneer Award Winner, a former Commanding Officer of HS-8, HS-10 and USS Okinawa (LPH-3), and former Commander, PHIBRON Seven and Commander, Combat Logistics Group Two.   The Admiral is the recipient of the Silver Star.

Rear Admiral Willian Edwin Terry, USN (Ret.) was born 9 January 1940 in Borger, Texas. Bill lived in Texas until age 13 then moved with his family to Colorado where he played football in high school, was an avid hunter, camper and outdoorsman. He was accepted to college on a football scholarship, attending Adams State College and Colorado State University before being accepted to the Naval Aviation Cadet (NAVCAD) Program in 1961.  Bill’s journey to his Wings of Gold began with enlistment in the U.S. Naval Reserve, pre-flight training at NAS Pensacola, followed by primary flying with VT-1 at NAS Saufley Field. He received his Wings of Gold and commission as an Ensign on 12 April 1963.

Bill received numerous personal decorations, including the Navy Distinguished Service Medal, Silver Star, Defense Superior Service Medal,  two Legion of Merits,  three Meritorious Service Medals, and the Air Medal. He rose through Navy ranks from a NAVCAD to become a Flag Officer, flew 5,753 flight hours, more than 5,000 in the H-3 alone, made 1,865 rotary wing shipboard landings, flew 32 combat missions on three Vietnam deployments, commanded two HS squadrons (winning the Thach and Isbell Awards), an LPH, an Amphibious Squadron, and a Logistics Group, made six non-combat rescues and received the Silver Star as a LTJG for a rescue in combat.

His first Flag Officer assignment was to the staff of the Commander Allied Forces Southern Europe (AFSOUTH) for duty as the Assistant Chief of Staff for Logistics for more than two years, followed by command once more, this time as the Commander, Combat Logistics Group 2. He retired from the Navy in October 1994 after more than 33 years of service.

He knew the H-3 like no other helo pilot and flew it like it was part of his body. Bill was honored and extremely proud to be a Golden Eagle.  He will truly be missed.

After retirement, Bill worked for DBM and Wells Fargo Securities, wrote over a dozen books both non-fiction and fiction, including his autobiography. Most of his books star his grandchildren as the main characters.

Bill’s daughter Shannon said, “He loved his life and family. He would say, don’t be sad, I had a great life. I’m so proud of my family, my Navy and my country.”

RDML Terry is survived by his loving wife, Johanna, his sisters Ann Cochran and Kay Galeener, his brother Ralph Lee Terry, daughter Shannon Nembach, her husband Henry, their daughters Casey and Cameron, and his son, Michael, his wife Sandy, and their sons, Sam and Jake.


Friends and Family,

Our father RDML William “Bill” E. Terry, USN (Ret.) will be honored with a funeral with full military honors on Monday, August 8, 2022 at 12pm at Miramar National Cemetery. It will be followed by a reception at the MCAS Miramar Officers’ Club.

At the cemetery, the ceremony will begin promptly at noon and will be 30 minutes long. Please plan to arrive early so you can be part of the processional to move to the site in time for the ceremony.  Seating is limited.

The Officers’ Club is a less than 5 miles from the cemetery. A buffet lunch will be served.  Attendees are welcome to share their memories and stories about Bill at the reception; the family will love to hear them.

In order to be allowed on the military base, you will need to be pre-vetted. If you plan to join us, or are even considering joining us but don’t know for certain, please forward your first and last name, birthdate, and driver’s license (or State ID) number to Shannon Nembach via text 619-887-8696, or email at snembach@hotmail.com.  We will need that information ASAP but no later than noon this Tuesday, 7/26. We will compile the list of attendees and their personal information to provide to the military base security office first thing Wednesday morning, 7/27. This is required for each person.  Everyone on this list must enter Miramar Corps Air Station through the East Gate. 

The above requirements do not apply if you have a military ID, but an RSVP would be greatly appreciated if you plan to attend to get an accurate head count.  

We hope you can join us in honoring Bill and giving condolences to his grieving family. We want to share this special day with each of you. We will say goodbye to a very special and highly revered man – until we see him again.

Donations in lieu of flowers may be made to: Wounded Warriors

Miramar National Cemetery
5795 Nobel Dr
San Diego, CA  92122

MCAS Miramar Officers’ Club
4472 Anderson Avenue
San Diego, CA 92145

Family Point of Contact for Email and Telephone Calls
Shannon Nembach (Admiral’s Daughter)

Mailing Address for Correspondence/Cards
Johanna Terry
977 Palencia Court
Chula Vista, CA 91910

Golden Eagles NOTAM

Fair Winds and Following Seas Admiral Terry!