Lance Lesher

Branch: U.S. Navy
Years Served: 1985-1988, and 1992-2021
Rank: Captain
Military Occupation: Surface Warfare and Civil Affairs 
Twitter Handle: @LanceLesher65177

Tell us a little about you outside of the military: 

  • I am active in my community and enjoy a variety of volunteer activities. I enjoy connecting veterans with employment opportunities and supporting veteran small business owners.  I continue to support our military personnel as a teacher, coach, and mentor.

Why are you joining the IAVA Cavalry?

  • I look forward to meeting other IAVA members and hearing their stories and learn about how they continue to support and influence veterans and advocate for solutions for the most pressing issues facing the post-9/11 generation of veterans. 
  • I am excited for the opportunity to meet with policy makers and share ideas on how to best support our veterans as they continue to serve and support our country in new and different ways.  

How did your military experience shape you to be the person you are today?

  • My father served in the U.S. Navy for 20 years, and I grew up near a military installation so I was always surrounded by a community centered on service and sacrifice. 
  • Serving as an enlisted member, and as an officer gave me an opportunity to experience military life from a variety of perspectives. 
  • During multiple deployments overseas I was fortunate to experience many different cultures and gain a better understanding and appreciation for different worldviews.  Serving in the military created a desire to try different experiences and see life from other viewpoints.

Which one of IAVA’s policy priorities for you believe is the most pressing? Why?

  • Education opportunities, and mental health. Why? I believe providing veterans with education opportunities can greatly assist the transition process to civilian life, particularly for veterans who do not already have marketable skills.
  • Mental health support is another key enabler for a successful transition out of uniform.  Leaving the security and acceptance found in military units can be overwhelming and lead to feelings of isolation. 
  • While nothing can replace the camaraderie of military service, association with supportive networks can provide support during stressful and challenging times. 

Which one of IAVA’s policy priorities do you have the strongest personal connection to? Why?

  • Education benefits. Why? When my father retired after 20 years of service, he did not have a marketable skill.  Our family struggled financially during this transition.
  • The G.I. Bill was crucial to my father gaining relevant skills once he left the service.  For two years he went to trade school at night while working for minimum wage during the day to learn air conditioning and refrigeration repair. 
  • During the time my father was going to trade school at night I decided to attend a vocational high school to ensure I learned a skill early in life.  When I enlisted at the age of 17, in addition to serving my country I also sought to gain skills that would be helpful outside of the military. 


Our country has an obligation to fulfill its promise to honor and support vets. Make a donation today to help IAVA fulfill its mission to connect, unite, and empower post-9/11 veterans.

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