Rear Admiral Fiske was born in Lyons, New York, on June 13, 1854, and died on April 6, 1942, at New York, New York.
He was appointed Cadet Midshipman September 24, 1870, and graduated on June 1, 1874. Commissioned Ensign July 17, 1875, he advanced in rank as follows: Lieutenant (junior grade), March 3, 1883; Lieutenant, January 26, 1887; Lieutenant Commander, March 3, 1899; Commander, March 7, 1903; Captain, August 28, 1907; and Rear Admiral, August 3, 1911.
He served in the Pensacola, Wyoming, Plymouth, Saratoga, Minnesota, and had experimental duty on the Colorado.
Rear Admiral Fiske served aboard the San Francisco during the demonstration in the Rio Janeiro harbor during the 1894 Brazilian insurrection and was active in the early months for the Filipino campaign and the bombardments of Paracaque and Malabon.
As navigator of the USS Petrel in the battle of Manila Bay, he was cited by Admiral Dewey for “heroic conduct” when, using his newly-invented stadimeter, a supplement to his range-finder, he stood in an exposed position in the Petrel and calmly took the ranges of the Spanish ships.
At various time he commanded the Minneapolis, the Arkansas and the Tennessee; in 1912 he was in command of the First, Third and Fifth Division of the Atlantic Fleet. From 1913 to 1915 he was in Washington, DC, as aide for operations, a post corresponding to chief f staff in the Army.
He was Inspector of Ordnance, New York, New York, for two years. He attended the Naval War College for instruction in 1903, was on temporary duty at the Navy Recruiting Station, New York, during 1907 and was Captain of the Navy Yard, League Island in 1908. He attended the summer conference of officers at the Naval War College, Newport, Rhode Island, in 1910, and then had duty as a member of the General Board. He was Commander of the Fifth, Third and First Division of Atlantic Fleet serving in the Washington, Georgia and Florida.
He returned to duty as Aide for Inspection, Navy Department, Washington, DC, and then as Aide for Operations for two years. In May 1915, he continued duties as Senior Member of the Board in connection with Isham Sheil. He was a member of the Naval Examining Board, Naval Station, Narragansett Bay, Rhode Island, in June 1916.
In 1917, the Department granted Rear Admiral Fiske permission to proceed with work in connection with the torpedo plane.
It was for Navy that he invented, among other things, the aerial torpedo, the radio-guided torpedo plane, the electrically turned battleship turret, and electric range-finder and electric ammunition hoist.
Besides his active services as an officer and his inventions, on which he obtained more than sixty patents, Rear Admiral Fiske found time to write many books about the Navy, always urging an adequate air arm.
Planes, he said as long as ten years ago, would be invaluable in protecting the Philippines, whose vulnerability he often had proclaimed.
Rear Admiral Fiske was relieved of all active duty in April 1920, after which he returned to the Navy Department, Washington, DC, several times for temporary duty. He died April 6, 1942, at New York City, New York.
He had the following medals; Spanish Campaign Medal; Medal Commemorating the Battle of Manila Bay (USS Petrel); the Cuban Pacification Medal (USS Minneapolis); the Philippine Campaign Medal (USS Monadock); and the Victory Medal (World War I).
A destroyer, the USS Fiske (DD842), the second vessel so named, has been sponsored by Mrs. Freda Edith Ribbentrop, when launched at the plant of the Bath Iron Works Corporation, Bath, Maine.