A native of Highland Park, Illinois, Vice Adm. Bill Lescher holds systems and aeronautical engineering degrees from the Naval Academy and Naval Postgraduate School/Test Pilot School Cooperative program respectively and a Master of Business Administration from the Harvard Business School.
Lescher commanded the Vipers of Helicopter Anti-Submarine Light (HSL) Squadron 48, the HSL-40 Airwolves and the Atlantic Fleet Helicopter Maritime Strike Wing. Between command of the Vipers and Airwolves, he was executive officer of Mine Countermeasures Command and Control Ship USS Inchon (MCS 12). As a flag officer, he commanded Expeditionary Strike Group 5/Task Forces 51/59 in Bahrain, leading the Iwo Jima Amphibious Ready Group (ARG)/24th Marine Expeditionary Unit (MEU); Peleliu ARG/15 MEU; Kearsarge ARG/26 MEU and the afloat forward staging base USS Ponce (AFSB(I)-15) in execution of multiple contingency response and counter-terrorism missions and theater security cooperation exercises spanning the Naval Forces Central Command region.
Lescher’s initial operational tours were with the Lamplighters and Swampfoxes of HSL-36 and 44, deploying primarily to the Middle East/Central Command region aboard USS O’Bannon (DD 987), USS Clark (FFG 11), USS Capodanno (FF 1068) and USS Elrod (FFG 55).
Ashore, his assignments included leading the SH-60B Sea Hawk developmental test team as an engineering test pilot at the Naval Air Warfare Center, where he launched the first guided missiles from a Navy helicopter; head programmer in the Office of the Chief of Naval Operations Space, Command, and Control and Information Warfare Directorate; acting director of the Office of the Under Secretary of Defense Comptroller Budget and Appropriations Affairs Directorate; head of the Joint Staff Quadrennial Defense Review Office; and Joint Staff Program and Budget Analysis Division chief. Shore flag assignments include director, operations division, Department of the Navy Budget Office; Joint Staff deputy director for resources and acquisition; and deputy assistant secretary of the Navy for budget.
Lescher graduated with distinction from fixed wing, rotary wing and Naval Test Pilot School training. He 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. The units in which he has served have earned the Joint Meritorious Unit Award, Navy Unit Commendation, Navy Meritorious Unit Commendation, Navy “E” Ribbons and Theodore Ellyson award.