Commander Ryan J. Lilley is a Pennsylvania native and graduated from the U.S. Naval Academy with a Bachelor of Science degree in Computer Science. After commissioning as an Ensign in the U.S. Navy, he reported to NAS Pensacola, Florida, for flight training and later earned his NFO wings at Randolph Air Force Base in San Antonio, Texas.
Commander Lilley’s operational squadron assignments in the P-3C Orion aircraft involved postings on both coasts and deployments overseas. He deployed twice from Brunswick, Maine, with VP-26, supporting NATO operations in the Balkans and Mediterranean Sea from Sicily; missions in the North Atlantic from Iceland and counter-drug flights in the Eastern Pacific and Caribbean Sea from Puerto Rico. Commander Lilley later joined VP-46 in Whidbey Island, Washington, as a department head, deploying to Bahrain in support of U.S. and coalition forces in Iraq and the Arabian Gulf.
Between operational squadron tours, Commander Lilley served onboard the aircraft carrier USS Nimitz (CVN–68), home-ported in San Diego, California. His initial assignment as Assistant Navigator afforded Commander Lilley the opportunity to qualify as Officer of the Deck during a Western Pacific deployment. When Nimitz later entered an extended maintenance period, he remained onboard while serving as Flag Aide to the Commander of the Nimitz Strike Group, qualifying as a Task Force Battle Watch Captain during pre-deployment exercises.
Commander Lilley’s assignments ashore included instructor duty at VP-30 at NAS Jacksonville, Florida, and staff duty at the Pentagon. During his time with VP-30, Commander Lilley earned a Master of Arts degree in National Security and Strategic Studies from the U.S. Naval War College’s Fleet Seminar Program. While at the Pentagon, he served for two years with the Navy Staff (OPNAV N98) as the Assistant Requirements Officer for P-3 and P-8 aircraft, followed by two years with the Joint Staff Strategic Plans and Policy Directorate (J-5) as an Action Officer. After completing his J-5 tour,
Personally, Commander Lilley is a qualified Weapons and Tactics Instructor and has been awarded the Defense Meritorious Service Medal, the Meritorious Service Medal, the Air Medal and Navy Commendation Medals (5 awards). He was selected as his squadron’s NFO of the Year in 2002, 2003 and 2007.
Commander Ryan Lilley joined the Pelicans of VP-45 on Thursday, April 21, 2016 relieving Commander Williamson as the Executive Officer.