Vice Adm. Bill Lescher is a native of Highland Park, Illinois. He holds systems and aeronautical engineering degrees from the Naval Academy and Naval Postgraduate School respectively, a Master of Business Administration from the Harvard Business School, and is a graduate of the MIT Seminar XXI National Security Studies Program.
Lescher commanded the Vipers of Helicopter Anti- Submarine Light (HSL) Squadron 48, the Airwolves of HSL-40 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 spanning the 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 Seahawk 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. Staff experience includes: Joint Staff - deputy director for resources and acquisition; head of the Quadrennial Defense Review Office; and Program and Budget Analysis Division chief. Office of the Secretary of Defense Staff - director, Budget and Appropriations Affairs directorate providing congressional appropriations liaison. Secretary of the Navy Staff - deputy assistant secretary of the Navy for budget; and director, operations division, Navy Budget Office. Chief of Naval Operations Staff - Deputy Chief of Naval Operations N8; and head financial programmer in the Space, Command and Control, and Information Warfare Directorate.
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.