USS PELELIU, At Sea - Rear Adm. William K. Lescher, commander of Expeditionary Strike Group Five (ESG-5), embarked aboard amphibious assault ship USS Peleliu (LHA 5) to observe ship operations from Nov. 25 to Dec. 5.
While aboard, Lescher toured different watch stations throughout the ship and interacted with Sailors and Marines in their workplaces. He also joined the enlisted crew on the messdecks for lunch, and hosted the command's Sailors of the Year and Marines of the Quarter for dinner
in the commanding officer's in-port cabin.
"This is not something that happens every day, especially on deployment. I felt truly proud to be able to represent my command," said Logistics Specialist 1st Class James Fraley, Amphibious Squadron Three's Sailor of the Year. "I did not know what to expect at first, but the rear admiral and master chief welcomed us and talked about everyday stuff like sports, goals, and more personal things like family. The food was great and [it was] an all around great evening."
Lescher hosted admiral's calls throughout his first week aboard Peleliu with the chief petty officer's mess and Marine senior non-commissioned officers, senior and junior officers, and the enlisted crew during an all hands call in the ship's hangar bay.
During his all hands call, he highlighted Peleliu's mission in the U.S. 5th Fleet area of responsibility (AOR).
"Our mission is to deter aggression in this region and, failing that, to win any conflict," said Lescher. "The superb combat power of this integrated Navy and Marine Corps team - Peleliu, Amphibious Squadron Three and 15th MEU - is critical to that mission success."
He also emphasized the importance of stomping out sexual assault across the Navy and in the AOR.
"We owe every one of our Sailors and Marines a working and living environment free from the threat of sexual assault," said Lescher. "Sexual assault is criminal conduct, unrecoverable for those who commit it, and life changing for everyone involved. We will engage aggressively to prevent it, and show zero tolerance fro those in our ranks who commit such acts."
ESG-5's primary mission is operational and tactical oversight of all amphibious forces within 5th Fleet, including the Afloat Forward Staging Base USS Ponce (AFSB(I) 15).
Peleliu is the flag ship for the Peleliu Amphibious Ready Group, with the embarked 15th Marine Expeditionary Unit, and is deployed in support of maritime security operations and theater security cooperation efforts in the U.S. 5th Fleet Area of responsibility.