Lillian Elaine Fishburne was born on March 25, 1949 at Patuxent River, Maryland and raised in Rockville, Maryland. In February 1973, she was commissioned as an ensign upon completion of Women Officers School at Newport, Rhode Island.
Before attending Women Officers School, in 1971, Fishburne graduated from Lincoln University with a Bachelor’s in Sociology. In 1980, she received a Master’s in Management from Webster College and later, in 1982, Fishburne was awarded a Master’s in Telecommunications Systems Management from the Naval Postgraduate School. She also graduated from the Industrial College of the Armed Forces in 1993.
Her first duty assignment was as the Personnel and Legal Officer at the Naval Air Test Facility, Lakehurst, New Jersey. In August 1974, she was assigned to Navy Recruiting District, Miami, Florida as an Officer Programs recruiter until November 1977.
From November 1977 to August 1980, Fishburne was the Officer in Charge of the Naval Telecommunications Center, Great Lakes, Illinois. She then spent two years as a student at the Naval Postgraduate School, Monterey, California. Upon completion of postgraduate school, she reported to the Command, Control, Communications Directorate, Chief of Naval Operations (OP-940). There, she served as the Assistant Head, Joint Allied Command and Control Matters Branch until December 1984.
Fishburne’s next assignment was Executive Officer, Naval Communication Station, Yokosuka, Japan. In February 1987, she was assigned to the Command, Control, and Communications Directorate, Chief of Naval Operations (OP-942) as a Special Projects Officer. Her next duty assignment was Commanding Officer, Naval Computer and Telecommunications Station, Key West, Florida from July 1990 to July 1992. Following this tour, RDML Fishburne was a student at the Industrial College of the Armed Forces until 1993. Upon graduation, she was assigned to the Command, Control, Communications and Computer Systems Directorate, The Joint Staff, Washington, D.C., assuming the position as Chief, Command and Control Systems Support Division (J6C) in December 1994. Next, Fishburne assumed command of Naval Computer and Telecommunications Area Master Station, Eastern Pacific, Wahiawa, Hawaii (later renamed Naval Computer and Telecommunications Area Master Station Pacific) on August 25, 1995. In her final assignment she served as the Director, Information Transfer Division for the Space, Information Warfare, Command and Control Directorate, Chief of Naval Operations, Washington, D.C. She was appointed to the rank of Rear Admiral (Lower Half) by President of the United States Bill Clinton and was officially promoted on February 1, 1998. She is the first African-American female to hold the rank of Rear Admiral (RDML) in the United States Navy. Fishburne retired from the Navy in February 2001.
Fishburne has been awarded the Defense Superior Service Medal, the Legion of Merit, the Meritorious Service Medal, the Meritorious Service Medal with Gold Star, the Navy and Marine Corps Commendation Medal with Gold Star, and the Navy and Marine Corps Achievement Medal.
Sources:Back To Blog