Rear Admiral William Lescher has served as the Department of Navy budget officer since December 2013. A native of Highland Park, Illinois, and Naval Academy graduate, he 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. Between command of the Vipers and Airwolves, Lescher was executive officer of Mine Countermeasures Command and Control Ship USS Inchon (MCS 12). He most recently commanded Expeditionary Strike Group 5/Task Forces 51/59 in Bahrain, leading the Iwo Jima Amphibious Readiness 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 support missions, and Theater Security Cooperation exercises spanning the Naval Forces Central Command region.
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 as head programmer in the OPNAV Space, Command and Control, and Information Warfare Directorate; as deputy director/acting director of the Budget and Appropriations Affairs Directorate in OUSD (Comptroller); and in the Joint Staff as head of the 2010 Quadrennial Defense Review Office and Program and Budget Analysis Division chief. Shore Flag assignments include director, Operations Division, Department of the Navy Budget Office and joint staff deputy director for Resources and Acquisition.
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 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. Military decorations include the Defense Superior Service Medal (three awards), Legion of Merit (three awards), Meritorious Service Medal (four awards), Navy and Marine Corps Commendation and Achievement Medals, and various campaign and unit decorations.