Representative Fiona McFarland
United States Navy Reserve
Lieutenant, Drilling Reservist
Like her Grandfather did in 1938, Representative Fiona McFarland graduated from the United States Naval Academy in 2008, where she majored in Political Science, was captain of the crew team, and First Lieutenant of the Brigade of Midshipmen. She was commissioned as an Ensign in the US Navy and spent eight years on active duty. She served as a Surface Warfare Officer, completing tours of duty as an engineering officer on board the Arleigh Burke-class guided-missile destroyer USS Preble (DDG 88), as an inaugural crewmember on Littoral Combat Ship USS Coronado (LCS 4), as well as in the Navy Office of Information in the Pentagon. While on active duty, she also completed her Master of Business Administration from the University of Chapel Hill’s Kenan Flagler business school in 2013.
In 2016, Fiona transitioned to the US Navy Reserves and married a Naval Academy classmate and native Floridian, Matthew Melton. In the Reserves, she participated in multinational antisubmarine warfare exercises above the Arctic circle with the US European Command and the US Africa Command to promote cooperation and understanding among regional African allies and partner nations. Fiona has received two Navy/Marine Corps Commendation Medals and three Navy Achievement Medals.
In her civilian capacity, Fiona worked as a consultant with the global business management consulting firm McKinsey and Company, where she served clients across media, consumer goods, manufacturing, and advanced technology industry, among others, consulting directly with senior executives of Fortune 500 to help them solve business and operations challenges.
During the campaign, she told a reporter, Andrew Meacham, the following story: In 2008 at Naval Base San Diego, Ensign Fiona McFarland took the longest walk of her life across the 500-foot steel alloy deck of the USS Preble, a guided-missile destroyer. She would be responsible for the “main propulsion division,” the gas turbine engines that powered the four-year-old ship to its destinations, which had already included supporting troops in Afghanistan and Iraq. A group of sailors waited for McFarland to deliver her first orders as a commissioned officer.
“I look at this group of 30 sailors who all have more experience in the Navy and on the equipment end that we were responsible for,” McFarland said. “And they’re standing in formation, and the noncommissioned officer, the chief, looks at me and says, ‘OK, ma’am, what should we do today?’
“Not that was my first difficult decision,” she said. “But it really was my first moment of being faced with responsibility that I maybe didn’t necessarily feel ready for.”
Rep. McFarland will draw on that same Navy training when she walks across the Capitol Rotunda into the House Chamber on March 4.