CAPT John W “Swede” Peterson, USN
August 20, 1944 — April 9, 2009
John was born August 20, 1944, in Lynn, Massachusetts, the son of Richard W. and Eleanor C. Peterson. He attended primary schools in Lynn, Massachusetts, and Long Island, New York before graduating from Reading Memorial High School in Reading, Massachusetts, in 1962. John graduated from Dartmouth College in 1966 with a degree in economics and obtained two master's degrees in International Relations, from Salve Regina College, Newport, Rhode Island, and The Naval War College.
John started his 30 year Navy career as a carrier pilot, flying A-4s, A-7s and F/A-18s. While stationed at NAS Cecil Field in Jacksonville, Florida, he served as the commanding officer of VA-46, VFA-106, and Light Attack Wing ONE. As the commanding officer of VFA-106, John also helped train the Blue Angels during their transition from A-4 jets to F/A-18s. He continued his career as the executive officer on board the Forrestal-class supercarrier USS Saratoga (CV-60). Promoted to Captain, he became the commanding officer of the USS St. Louis (LKA-116) in Sasebo, Japan. John was then the group commander of Amphibious Group THREE out of San Diego, during which time he coordinated and participated in the Navy and Marine landings in Somalia in Operation RESTORE HOPE. John ended his Naval career as the commanding officer of the NROTC Unit at UW-Madison.
After retirement from the Navy, he was an assistant dean at the UW-Madison Law School, before beginning his job at UW-Madison Division of Information Technology (DoIT), where he was the director of Systems Engineering and Operations (SEO). John's civic and community service was broad. He served on the Vestry and was the senior warden at St. Andrews Episcopal Church for three years. He was a member of the Madison Breakfast Rotary and served as its president at one time. He was also a member of the Frautschi Group. John felt strongly about volunteer work and was active in the Meals on Wheels program for Rotary and his church.