Captain Patrick A. Lefere
Captain Patrick A. Lefere, a native of Jackson, Mich., graduated from the University of Michigan in 1986. He received his commission in September 1986 upon completing Aviation Officer Candidate School in Pensacola, Fla., as a Distinguished Naval Graduate. After receiving his wings in Meridian, Miss., in April 1988 he was assigned as a Selectively Retained Graduate (SERGRAD) to VT-4 in Pensacola as a T-2 instructor pilot where he received Instructor Pilot of the Year honors for 1989.
In April 1990 Lefere reported to VFA-125 in Lemoore, Calif., for Fleet Replacement Training in the F/A-18. Upon completion of this training he was assigned to the Blue Diamonds of VFA-146 where he completed two deployments to the Arabian Gulf in support of Operation Southern Watch on board USS Nimitz (CVN 68).
In February 1994, Lefere went back to VFA-125 as an Instructor Pilot. In 1995 he was awarded Rough Raider Instructor Pilot of the Year and Junior Officer of the Year. In February 1997, he left Lemoore and reported to the VFA-81 Sunliners at NAS Cecil Field, Fla., as a department head. With the Sunliners, he deployed onboard USS Dwight D. Eisenhower (CVN 69) to the Mediterranean Sea and Arabian Gulf in support of Operations Deliberate Forge and Southern Watch.
Following his department head tour, Lefere was assigned to the Naval Personnel Command in Millington, Tenn., where he performed his duties as the F/A-18 Assignment Officer from July 1999 to July 2001. He then spent a year as Chief Staff Officer for Commander, Strike Fighter Wing, U.S. Atlantic Fleet at NAS Oceana, Va., where he was selected for operational command.
In February 2003, Lefere reported for duty as the Executive Officer of Strike Fighter Squadron 136 and ultimately assumed command of the squadron in May 2004. During his time with the Knighthawks he deployed onboard USS George Washington (CVN 73) to the Arabian Gulf in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom.
After his tour as Commanding Officer of VFA-136, Lefere earned a master's degree in National Security and Strategic Studies from the Naval War College, Newport, R.I., in November 2006. From Newport, he was assigned to U.S. Joint Forces Command where he served as the Force Rotation Branch Chief for the Operations and Plans Directorate (J3) until January 2010.
Lefere has logged over 3,700 flight hours and accumulated 598 carrier landings. His individual decorations include the Defense Superior Service Medal, two Meritorious Service Medals, two Strike Flight Air Medals, four Navy Commendation Medals, the Joint Service Achievement Medal and two Navy Achievement Medals.