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Expeditionary Strike Group Five Commander Visits USS Iwo Jima

Navy News Service

Story Number: NNS120911-16

By Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Jamica Johnson, Amphibious Squadron 8 Public Affairs

USS IWO JIMA, At Sea (NNS) -- The multipurpose amphibious assault ship USS Iwo Jima (LHD 7) hosted newly appointed Commander, Expeditionary Strike Group Five (ESG 5) Sept. 7-9.

During the three-day visit, Rear Adm. William K. Lescher held calls for both senior officers and enlisted leadership, sat down for dinner with the crew, reviewed ship and Marine Expeditionary Unit (MEU) capabilities, and addressed the crew of the Navy and Marine Corps team on the flight deck.

He outlined his ideas on combat readiness and leadership, and challenged all members of the Amphibious Ready Group (ARG)/MEU team to bring these imperatives alive in their daily routine.

"I need IWO ARG/24 MEU leaders at all levels to assertively lead," said Lescher. "A key to being successful in the service is to make your subordinates successful as well. That's where my focus is and I expect your focus."

Lescher made clear his expectations for the entire ARG and MEU, and explained the importance of avoiding the complacency that comes with being in a deployment rhythm. He also gave insight on the roles the ARG needs to focus on while supporting maritime security in the U. S. 5th Fleet area of responsibility (AOR).

"For the rest of deployment, the AOR is going to be dynamic," said Lescher. "There is a lot going on including exercises, real-world operations, and integrated training and rehearsals."

"Over this time, I need this team to be able to assess each day that we are more combat ready tomorrow than we are today, to work with standout flight, maintenance and operational discipline, and act from a foundation of character and personal reliance," added Lescher.

The crew took advantage of being able to have an open forum with their new leader, viewing the visit as a great transition into future operations.

"I really appreciate the fact that Rear Adm. Lescher came out and spent a few days with us," said Information Systems Technician 2nd Class Derrick Brown. "I felt like the all-hands call left us in with a good understanding of our new commander. We had the opportunity to ask questions ranging from future operations to MWR events."

The Iwo Jima ARG, with the embarked 24th MEU, is deployed and supporting maritime security operations and theater security cooperation efforts in the U.S. 5th Fleet AOR.

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