Commander Ryan Lilley 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 Pensacola, Florida for flight training and later earned his Naval Flight Officer 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 Patrol Squadron 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 Patrol Squadron 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 aboard the aircraft carrier USS Nimitz, 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 aboard while serving in the capacity 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 Patrol Squadron 30 in Jacksonville, Florida and staff duty at the Pentagon. During his time with Patrol Squadron 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.
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 five Navy Commendation Medals.