Capt. Jade Lepke is a native of Mitchell, South Dakota. He began his military service in 1991 when he enlisted with the South Dakota Air National Guard as an Aircraft Armament Systems Specialist on the F-16C. While serving in the Air National Guard, he also received a Bachelor of Science degree in 1996 from the University of South Dakota.
Following graduation, Lepke attended Officer Candidate School in Pensacola, Florida, and earned his commission in February 1997. Designated a naval aviator in August 1998, Lepke was assigned to Helicopter Anti-Submarine Squadron Light (HSL) 40 in Mayport, Florida for training in the SH-60B Seahawk.
In July 1999, Lepke reported to the "Proud Warriors" of HSL-42 at Naval Air Station (NAS) Mayport. He deployed to the Arabian Gulf and Mediterranean Sea aboard USS Samuel B. Roberts (FFG 58) in support of Fifth Fleet and USS Dwight D. Eisenhower (CVN 69) Battle Group Operations. While aboard the Roberts, Lepke successfully participated in Maritime Interdiction Operations (MIO) in support of United Nations Security Council Resolutions against Iraq. Lepke was deployed for a second time on the USS Anzio (CG 68), during Baltic Operations (BALTOPS) 2002, as the Detachment Five assistant officer-in-charge.
In October 2002, Lepke reported to the "Vigilant Eagles" of Helicopter Training Squadron (HT) 18 as a flight instructor. While assigned to HT-18, he was selected as the 2004 Navy League instructor of the year. He also earned a master's degree in aeronautical science from Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University in March of 2005.
Lepke's second sea tour began when he reported to USS Theodore Roosevelt (CVN 71) in July 2005 as a catapult and arresting gear officer or "Shooter."" While aboard, he deployed to the Arabian Gulf in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom and Operation Enduring Freedom. He also served as the V-3 division officer and qualified as command duty officer underway.
In December 2008, Lepke joined the "Battlecats" of HSL-43 in San Diego. He served as officer-in-charge of Detachment Four assigned to USS Stockdale (DDG 106) for its maiden cruise. Additionally, Detachment Four deployed aboard USS Ford (FFG 54) in support of counterdrug operations in the eastern Pacific. Upon his return, he served as the squadron maintenance officer from November 2009 to October 2010.
Following his department head tour, Lepke's next assignment was to United States Strategic Command (USSTRATCOM) in Omaha, Nebraska. As a member of the Joint Functional Component Command - Global Strike (J5), he served as a plans team chief and North American Treaty Organization (NATO) liaison officer.
Lepke reported to Training Air Wing Five in Milton, Florida, in April 2014 for duties as the "Red Knights" of Training Squadron (VT) 3 executive officer and served as commanding officer from July 2015 to October 2016.
Upon completion of his command tour, Lepke was assigned to USS Gerald R. Ford (CVN 78) from February 2017 to December 2018 as the ship's navigator. Lepke took the ship to sea for its maiden voyage through its entire first shakedown period. Lepke served as the Naval Education and Training Command Plans and Policy Director (N5) from January 2019 to July 2020. Lepke's personal awards include: Legion of Merit, Defense Meritorious Service Medal, Meritorious Service Medal (2), Navy/Marine Corps Commendation Medal (2), Navy and Marine Corps Achievement Medal (3), Air Reserve Meritorious Service Medal, and various unit and campaign awards.