Born in Mobile, Alabama, and raised in Danielsville, Georgia, Rear Adm. Thomas Ishee graduated from the University of Georgia in 1987, where he majored in mathematics and computer science. He was commissioned in 1988 after attending Officer Candidate School in Newport, Rhode Island. He earned a Master of Science in Electrical Engineering from the University of Texas at Austin and a Master of Arts in Security Studies from the Air War College.
His early sea tours included assignments in submarines as a division officer onboard USS Narwhal and USS Sea Devil (SSN 664); engineer officer onboard USS Tunny (SSN 682); and executive officer onboard USS La Jolla (SSN 701).
Ishee commanded USS Key West (SSN 722). While in command, the ship was awarded the Navy Unit Commendation, the U.S. Pacific Fleet Arleigh Burke Trophy and Battle Efficiency Award. He also commanded Submarine Squadron 11, where he ensured the readiness of six fast attack submarines and oversaw the operations of three torpedo retrievers, a floating drydock and the Navy's submarine rescue systems.
Tours ashore included assistant professor of Naval Science at the University of Texas at Austin; executive officer of Moored Training Ship 626; executive assistant to the deputy commander, U.S. Pacific Fleet; director of intelligence and special operations for Commander, Submarine Force U.S. Pacific Fleet; director of operations for Commander, Submarine Group 7 and Task Force 54/74; senior advisor to the secretary of Defense for U.S. Pacific Command Plans; executive assistant to the chief of naval operations; and deputy commander, Joint Functional Component Command-Global Strike.
Ishee is currently serving as director of operations (N3), Commander, U.S. Naval Forces Europe-Africa; deputy commander, U.S. 6th Fleet; and commander, Submarine Group 8, responsible for the operational oversight and readiness management of forward deployed maritime forces in support of U.S. European Command and U.S. African Command.
His personal decorations include the Defense Superior Service Medal, Legion of Merit, Meritorious Service Medal, Navy Commendation Medal and the Navy Achievement Medal.