John Richard Fisher was born in Columbus, Ohio, on December 28, 1924, son of Don A. and Katherine Buchanan (Galigher) Fisher. He attended Grandview Heights High School, Columbus, Ohio and Cochran-Bryan Preparatory School, Annapolis, Maryland, prior to entering the US Naval Academy, Annapolis, Maryland, on appointment from his native state in 1943. Graduated with the Class of 1947 on June 5, 1946 (accelerated course due to World War II), he subsequently advanced in rank of that year of Rear Admiral, to date from May 1, 1973, having transferred from the Line to the Civil Engineer Corps in June 1950.
Following graduation from the Naval Academy in 1946, he joined USS Kearsarge (CV-33), which operated in the European and Caribbean areas. Detached from that aircraft carrier in September 1947, Virginia, and in January 1948 reported as Executive Officer of USS Plover (AMS-33). During the period May 1948 to June 1950, he attended Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, Troy, New York, from which he received the degree of Bachelor of Civil Engineering and Master of Civil Engineering.
He reported in July 1950 as Assistant Public Works Officer at the Naval Air Station, Barbers Point, Oahu, Territory of Hawaii, where he remained until August 1952. The next month he was assigned to the Research Division, Bureau of Yard and Docks, Navy Department, Washington, DC. In May 1954 he became Operations Officer with Mobile Construction Battalion Four, which was deployed to Guantanamo Bay, Cuba; Port Lyautey, Morocco and Argentina, Newfoundland.
From May 1956 to September 1958 he was Assistant Public Works Officer at the Naval Powder Factory, Indian Head, Maryland, after which he served as Deputy Officer in Charge of Construction, Bureau of Yards and Docks Contracts, Cape Canaveral, Florida. In that capacity, he was engaged in constructing tracking station on the Atlantic Missile Range at Antigua, Trinidad, Ascension, Grand Bahama and Eleuthera. Transferred in August 1959 to the Southeast Division, Bureau of Yards Docks, headquartered in Charleston, South Caroline, he had duty as Assistant Director for Design and as such designed a new Polaris graving dock for the Charleston Naval Shipyard and some five thousand Capehart housing units.
Between January and June 1962 he had instruction at the Armed Forces Staff College, Norfolk, Virginia, after which he served on the Base Utilization Staff in the Office of the Assistant Secretary of Defense for Installations and Logistics, Washington, DC he was awarded the Joint Service Commendation Medal for distinguished service in the latter assignments.
He was Division Director and Executive Assistant to the Chief of the Bureau of Yards and Docks (later Commander Naval Facilities Engineering Command), Washington, DC, from July 1964 to June 1966. The next month he reported as Officer in Charge of Construction, Southwest Pacific, with headquarters in Manila, Philippine Islands. He was awarded the Navy Commendation Medal “for meritorious service…” in that assignment.
In November 1967 he was designated Commander Thirtieth Naval Construction Regiment and was awarded the Legion of Merit with Combat “V”, “for exceptionally meritorious conduct…” in that capacity. He is entitled to the Ribbon for and facsimiles of the Navy Unit Commendation and the Meritorious Unit Commendation awarded the Third Naval Construction Brigade, of which the Thirtieth Naval Construction Regiment was a unit. In March 1969 at Red Beach, Danang, Republic of Vietnam, he was detached for duty as Assistant Commander for Military Readiness at the Naval Facilities Engineering Command Headquarters, Washington, DC he was awarded a Gold Star in lieu of the Second Legion of Merit and cited in part as follows:
“… Captain Fisher skillfully directed and coordinated his staff to bring about a significant improvement in the readiness of the Active and Reserve Naval Construction Forces…”
In September 1971 he assumed command of the Chesapeake Division, Naval Facilities Engineering Command, Washington, D.C., and was assigned additional duty as District Civil Engineer of the Naval District, Washington. In July 1972 he became Deputy Commander for Planning, Naval Facilities Engineering Command, Navy Department and had additional duty as Assistant for Civil Engineering in the Office of the Chief of Naval Operations. In May 1973 he reported as Acting Vice Commander of the Naval Facilities Engineering Command, and in July of that year assumed duty as Commander of the Pacific Division, Naval Facilities Engineering Command, with headquarters at Pearl Harbor, Hawaii. He served additionally as Commander Naval Construction Battalions, Pacific, Force Civil Engineer on the staff of Commander Service Force, US Pacific Fleet and Fleet Civil Engineer on the Staff of Command in chief, US Pacific Fleet.
In addition to the Legion of Merit with Gold Star and Combat “V”, the Joint Service Commendation Medal, the Navy Commendation Medal, the Navy Unit Commendation Ribbon and the Meritorious Unit Commendation Ribbon, Rear Admiral Fisher has the American Campaign Medal; World War II Victory Medal; National Defense Service Medal with bronze star; Antarctic Service Medal and the Vietnam Service Medal. He also had the Vietnamese Gallantry Cross with Gold Star, the Vietnamese Medal of Honor, Republic of Vietnam Meritorious Unit Citation (Gallantry Cross), Armed Forces Honor Medal First Class by the Republic of Vietnam and the Republic of Vietnam Campaign Medal.
Rear Admiral Fisher is a member of Tau Beta Pi, Sigma Xi, Tau Kappa Epsilon; was President of the Manila Post of the Society of American Military Engineers; and is a Boy Scout Leader. He is a Registered Professional Engineer in the State of South Carolina.