Rear Admiral Edward Nelson, Jr. retired from the Coast Guard in 1989, after serving as the Commander of the Seventeenth Coast Guard District, Juneau, Alaska since 31July 1986. His previous assignment was as the 32d Superintendent of the U.S. Coast Guard Academy. He was nominated to the position of Rear Admiral while serving as the Chief of Staff, Seventeenth Coast Guard District and promoted to that rank in May 1982.
Before becoming Chief of Staff in Juneau, Rear Admiral Nelson served as Chief, of Operations of the Seventeenth District, a post he was assigned to after completing a tour as Chief of the Officer Personnel Division at Coast Guard Headquarters.
A native of Worcester, Massachusetts, Rear Admiral graduated from the Coast Guard Academy in 1953. Following two years of weather patrols on the cutter Mendota out of Wilmington, North Carolina, he completed flight training and served at air stations in Salem, Massachusetts, Argentia, Newfoundland, New Orleans, Louisiana, Port Angeles, Washington, Astoria, Oregon, and Kodiak, Alaska. He commanded the Air station and Group at Astoria, and Air Station, Kodiak, Alaska. He also served a tour of Chief, War Plans Branch at Coast Guard Headquarters. He is the 11th Ancient Albatross. His military decorations include two Legions of Merit, three Meritorious Service Medals, the Air Medal, three Commendation Medals and the Achievement Medal.
Rear Admiral Nelson is married to the former Joyce L. Welsted of Elizabeth City, North Carolina. They have three children, Captain E. Darrell, USCG, retired, Sandra S. Nelson, a writer and editor, and Keith C. Nelson. Supervisor of Fish Processing Vessels in Alaska. Captain Darrell Nelson also commanded the Air Station in Kodiak, Alaska. Rear Admiral and Mrs. Nelson also have four grandsons, two of whom served in the United States Marine Corps.