Rear Admiral Lescher has commanded Expeditionary Strike Group Five (ESG-5) since August 2012. ESG-5 provides command and control of amphibious forces, contingency response missions, and maritime humanitarian assistance and disaster relief operations in the U.S. Naval Forces Central Command / Fifth Fleet region.
Lescher first flew H-2 Seasprites with the Lamplighters of Helicopter Anti-Submarine Light (HSL) 36 after graduating with distinction from primary and helicopter flight training, and H-60 Seahawks with the HSL-44 Swampfoxes, deploying aboard USS O’BANNON (DD 987), USS CLARK (FFG 11), USS CAPODANNO (FF 1068) and USS ELROD (FFG 55).
In later tours, he commanded the HSL-48 Vipers, the HSL-40 Airwolves and the Atlantic Fleet Helicopter Maritime Strike Wing. The Vipers earned their first Battle E and supported combat operations in Iraq and Serbia during his tour as executive and commanding officer; the Airwolves earned the Theodore Ellyson award as the top East Coast Fleet Replacement Squadron. While commodore, his wing surged 35 of 40 Seahawk detachments in 12 months during Operations Enduring and Iraqi Freedom; he concurrently served as lead commodore for transition of the seven Navy helicopter wings to the Helicopter Maritime Strike and Helicopter Sea Combat communities. Between command of the Vipers and Airwolves, Lescher was executive officer of Mine Countermeasures Command and Control Ship USS INCHON (MCS 12), which completed major maintenance and training for a Western Pacific deployment while earning recognition for the most improved Sailor retention in the Atlantic Fleet Surface Force.
On his first shore tour, Lescher graduated with distinction from Naval Test Pilot School following intermediate jet training. He led the Naval Air Warfare Center team conducting all SH-60B testing, and launched the first guided missiles from a Navy helicopter. In other shore tours, he served on the Navy staff in the Space, Command and Control, and Information Warfare Directorate, as head of the programming branch and representative to the congressionally directed Commission on Roles and Missions. He later served in the Office of the Under Secretary of Defense, Comptroller, as deputy director/acting director of the Budget and Appropriations Affairs Directorate, providing congressional appropriations liaison for the Secretary of Defense. He also served on the Joint Staff, as head of the 2010 Quadrennial Defense Review Office and as the Program and Budget Analysis Division Chief in J8. Flag assignments include director, Operations Division, Office of the Budget, Department of the Navy, and Deputy Director for Resources and Acquisition in the Joint Staff J8.
Lescher has been recognized as the Association of Naval Aviation’s HSL Pilot of the Year, the Naval Helicopter Association’s Regional Pilot of the Year, and the Naval Air Warfare Center’s Rotary Wing Test Pilot of the Year. He graduated with distinction from the US Naval Academy with a degree in Systems Engineering and holds an MBA degree from the Harvard Business School and an Aeronautical Engineering MS degree from the Naval Postgraduate School/Test Pilot School Cooperative program. His military decorations include the Defense Superior Service Medal (three awards), Legion of Merit (two awards), Meritorious Service Medal (four awards), Navy and Marine Corps Commendation and Achievement Medals, and various campaign and unit decorations.