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, and a Master of Business Administration degree from the Harvard Business School.
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 the executive officer of Mine Countermeasures Command and Control Ship USS Inchon (MCS 12).
As a flag officer, he commanded Expeditionary Strike Group 5 and Task Forces 51/59 in Bahrain, leading multiple Amphibious Ready Groups, Marine Expeditionary Units and the afloat forward staging base USS Ponce (AFSB(I)-15) in execution of contingency response and counter-terrorism missions spanning the Middle East/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 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. His staff assignments include resource, acquisition and strategy assignments on the staffs of the Chief of Naval Operations, Secretary of the Navy, Secretary of Defense and the Joint Staff. As a flag officer, he served as the Joint Staff deputy director for resources and acquisition, deputy assistant Secretary of the Navy for budget, and Deputy Chief of Naval Operations for integration of capabilities and resources.
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.