Read More About Mr. Lechner

During Mr. Lechner’s leadership, Arlington National Cemetery was restored to its rightful position of honor as a national shrine.  Automated systems were developed for scheduling/record keeping, a geospatial mapping system was created to assign and track grave/niche assignments, and the most stringent chain of custody system in the federal system of cemeteries was established to ensure every family received peace of mind about the grounds where their loved one had been laid to rest. An award winning app was developed that provided families and the 3.1 million tourists per year with the ability to find any grave, or tour the cemetery using their smart phone.  Mr. Lechner also recognized the need for a bereavement skills training program to ensure all staff members were able to provide world class service, in a compassionate and caring manner, earned by our nation’s heroes and their families. When Mr. Lechner departed Arlington National Cemetery the $71.8 million Millennium Project (adding 27 acres and 27,282 interment/inurnment opportunities) was on budget and on time to be completed in June 2016. The $247 million Southern Expansion Project was well underway, and the Army had taken possession of approximately 40 contiguous acres to the south with the project’s $70.8 million annual budget being executed as planned.

COL Lechner came to Arlington National Cemetery from the Joint Staff, Pentagon, where he was responsible for logistical support to deployed forces and Joint Supply Chain Architecture (JSCA).  Prior to his arrival on the Joint Staff, COL Lechner was the Chief of Staff for the 316th Sustainment Command (Expeditionary) headquartered in Balad, Iraq. This 650 Soldier headquarters and its seven brigades of 20,000 Soldiers were responsible for all logistical support in the Iraqi theater of war.

Mr. Lechner earned an associate degree (1973) and mortuary science certificate (1976) from Mercer County Community College, became a licensed Practitioner of Mortuary Science in New Jersey, and was the co-founder of South Jersey Funeral Associates, Inc. He is a Certified Funeral Service Practitioner (CFSP), life member of the Academy of Professional Funeral Service Practice, a member of the National Funeral Directors Association (NFDA), Association of Death Education and Counseling, and is a licensed funeral service provider in Ohio and Virginia.  He is nationally board certified and is Certified in Thanatology by the Association of Death Education and Counseling.  For several years Mr. Lechner taught the practical portion of the class on sterile eye enucleation techniques and performed enucleations for the Delaware Valley Eye Bank.

Mr. Lechner earned a Bachelor of Mortuary Science degree (Summa Cum Laude), from Cincinnati College of Mortuary Science (1990). He holds a Master of Science degree in Logistics Management, Florida Tech (1993) and a Master of Science degree in National Resource Strategy (Supply Chain Management Concentration), National Defense University, Washington, DC (2007). He is a graduate of Supply Chain Operation Reference (SCOR) model training (2008), LOGTECH Program for Executives in Logistics and Technology, Kenan-Flagler Business School, University of North Carolina (2009) and the US Army Senior Executive Education Program, at the Darden School of Business, University of Virginia.  Mr. Lechner successfully completed the Comprehensive Bereavement Skills Training Course at the Center for Life Loss and Transition, Fort Collins, Colorado.

Mr. Lechner was a practicing funeral director for 10 years before enlisting in 1983 as an Infantryman in the United States Army.  He was commissioned as an officer upon graduating from Officer Candidate School in 1985. His military education includes the Quartermaster Officer Basic and Advance Courses, Mortuary Affairs Officer Course (Distinguished Graduate), Logistics Executive Development Course, U.S. Army Command and General Staff College, and Industrial College of the Armed Forces. He is also a graduate of the Airborne School, Aerial Delivery and Materiel Management Course (Rigger), Ranger Course, Jumpmaster Course, Support Operations Course, and the Army Force Management Course.

He commanded and deployed the Regimental Support Squadron, 2d Armored Calvary Regiment (2001-2003) during Operation Iraqi Freedom to Baghdad, Iraq. He also commanded in the 11th Armored Cavalry Regiment, Fulda, Germany (1987-1989). He has served in the 75th Ranger Regiment, 3d Infantry Division, Defense Logistics Agency, Human Resources Command, and as an instructor at the US Army Aerial Delivery and Materiel Management Course (Rigger). He has worked within the Army and Joint Mortuary Affairs system at various levels.

His awards include the Defense Superior Service Medal, two Bronze Star Medals, three Defense Meritorious Service Medals, five Meritorious Service Medals and various other awards. He is authorized to wear the Joint Staff Identification Badge, the Army Staff Identification Badge, Expert Infantryman Badge, Rigger Badge, Senior Parachutist Badge, Combat Action Badge, and the Ranger Tab.

Past leadership positions include: President of Pennsauken-Merchantville Rotary Club, President of Woodbridge Crew Association, and Board Member of the Prince William County Crew Association. He is also a Level III US Rowing certified coach. He and his wife, Debbie, have two children: Stephanie of Denver, CO and Jack III of Fairfax, VA.

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