Rear Admiral Fletcher was born at Oskaloosa, Iowa on November 23, 1855. He died in New York, New York, November 28, 1928.
Rear Admiral Fletcher was appointed a Cadet Midshipman from the Fourth District, Iowa, on September 23, 1870, was graduated in 1875, and commissioned Ensign in 1876. He was promoted through the various grades and in 1911 was commissioned Rear Admiral. From 1875 until early in 1898, he served in the USS Tuscarora (Screw Sloop), USS Portsmouth (Sloop-of-War), USS Constellation (Sloop-of-War), USS Ticonderoga (Screw Sloop), Receiving Ship Passaic, USS Powhatan (Side-wheel Steamer), USS Quinnebaug (Screw Corvette), USS Cushing (Torpedo Boat No. 1), and USS Maine (Second-Class Battleship). He was duty in the Washington Navy Yard from 1887 until 1891, and during the next two years was on duty in the Bureau of Ordnance.
Early in 1898, Rear Admiral Fletcher was appointed Assistant Chief of the Bureau of Ordnance, but resigned that office on July 6, 1898. He commanded the USS Eagle (Patrol Vessel Converted Yacht) until 1901, and after duty in the Navy Yard, Washington, and as Inspector of Ordnance in charge of the Torpedo Station, Newport, Rhode Island, was ordered in 1905 to the Asiatic Fleet. He served as Chief of Staff to the Commander in Chief of the fleet and later commanded the USS Raleigh (Cruiser No. 8). After his return to the United States, he completed the Naval War College course, and served as a member of the General Board and also as a member of a special board on naval ordnance.
Rear Admiral Fletcher assumed command of the USS Vermont (Battleship No. 20) at Manila on November 8, 1908, and continued with the Fleet on its cruise around the world. He served as Aide for Material, Navy Department, from 1910 until 1912, when he returned to the Atlantic Fleet and in succession served as Commander of the Fourth, Second, and Third Divisions and was designated Commander in Chief, Atlantic Fleet, with the accompanying rank of Admiral on March 10, 1915. He was a member of the General Board from 1916 until 1919, when he was transferred to the Retired List of the Navy. In 1925, he was a member of a board appointed to the study and advise as to the best means of developing and applying aircraft in national defense.
Admiral Fletcher was awarded the Medal of Honor and Distinguished Service Medal with the following citations:
MEDAL OF HONOR:
“For distinguished conduct in battle, engagements of Vera Cruz, April 21 and 22, 1915; was under fire, eminent and conspicuous in the performance of his duties; was senior officer present at Vera Cruz, directing the landing and the operations of the landing force were carried out until his orders and directions. In connection with these operations he was at times on shore and under fire. (G. O. 177, December 4, 1915.)”
DISTINGUISHED SERVICE MEDAL:
“For exceptionally meritorious service,” during the World War, “in a duty of great responsibility as a member of the General Board in advising the Department upon many matters of great importance relating to the conduct of the war, and as Naval Representative on the War Industries Board.”
In addition to the Medal of Honor and Distinguished Service Medal, Rear Admiral Fletcher had the Spanish Campaign Medal; the Mexican Service Medal (USS Arkansas (Battleship No. 33)); the Victory Medal (World War I).
A destroyer, the USS Fletcher (DD-445) has been named in his honor. It was launched at the plant of Federal Shipbuilding and Dry Dock Company, Kearny, New Jersey.