Major General Michael R. Lehnert served as Commanding General, Marine Corps Installations West and graduated from Central Michigan University in 1973 with an undergraduate degree in History. He was commissioned as a Second Lieutenant through the PLC program.
After attending the Marine Officers Basic School in Quantico, Virginia, Lieutenant Lehnert was transferred to Camp Lejeune, North Carolina. Assignments at Camp Lejeune included: Engineer Platoon Commander and Maintenance Officer, LSU-32, and S-4, Headquarters & Support Battalion, 2d Force Service Support Group (FSSG). During his follow-on assignment to 9th Engineer Support Battalion in Okinawa, Japan, he served as Battalion Operations Officer and finished his tour as Commander (C.O.), Company A. In 1977, he was ordered to Marine Barracks, Subic Bay, Republic of the Philippines, to serve as the Operations Officer, and in 1978 took command of Company A, Marine Barracks, Subic Bay.
In 1979, Captain Lehnert attended the U.S. Army Advanced Engineer School at Fort Belvoir, Virginia, and upon graduation, was assigned as Executive Officer, USMC Recruiting Station, San Antonio, Texas. In 1983, he was transferred to Camp Pendleton, California where he served as C.O., Company C, 1st Landing Support Battalion; C.O., Combat Service Support Detachment 11; C.O., Combat Service Support Detachment 16; Executive Officer, MAU Service Support Group 17; Landing Force Support Party Commander, BSSG-7; and MEF Engineer, First Marine Amphibious Force. He was selected for Armed Forces Staff College in 1987, and upon graduation reported to the United States Southern Command for duty as Chief, Central American Exercise Branch, J-3 Operations Directorate. During the Panama crisis, he participated in Operation Just Cause and Operation Promote Liberty.
Major Lehnert was assigned in 1990 as Inspector-Instructor, 6th Engineer Support Battalion, Portland, Oregon. While there he was selected for top-level school and completed the Naval War College in 1993, earning a Masters Degree in International and Strategic Studies. In 1993, Lieutenant Colonel Lehnert was assigned to the Joint Warfighting Center in Norfolk, Virginia where he served as Chief of the Futures Branch, Doctrine Division. In 1995, Colonel Lehnert reported to 2d Marine Aircraft Wing, and participated in Operation Sea Signal, Guantanamo Bay, Cuba as the Commander, Joint Task Group Bulkeley (JTF 160). During this operation, he commanded the security forces responsible for the operation of Cuban and Haitian migrant camps. Colonel Lehnert commanded Marine Wing Support Group 27 at Cherry Point, North Carolina from May 1996 until reassignment in 1999 to duties as Deputy Chief of Staff, G-4, II MEF. In 1999 he deployed to Panama as the Chief of Staff, Joint Task Force Panama, and oversaw the final turnover of the Panama Canal.
During his first tour as a general officer at Headquarters, United States Marine Corps, Quantico, Virginia, he served as the Assistant Deputy Commandant for Installations and Logistics. He took command of 2d FSSG in July 2001. In January 2002 he deployed to Guantanamo Bay, Cuba as Commander, Joint Task Force 160. During this tour, JTF 160 constructed and operated the detention facilities for Taliban and Al Qaeda detainees. In 2003, 2d FSSG deployed to the CENTCOM Theater and participated in Operation Iraqi Freedom. Brigadier General Lehnert served as Commander, Marine Logistics Command. He was subsequently assigned as Chief of Staff, United States Southern Command. In April 2005 he took command of Marine Corps Base Camp Pendleton, California. On 21 October 2005 Major General Lehnert assumed command of the newly activated Marine Corps Installations West and its seven subordinate installations. Decorations include the Defense Superior Service Medal with one oak leaf cluster, the Legion of Merit with Gold Star, the Defense Meritorious Service Medal with two oak leaf clusters, the Navy and Marine Corps Commendation Medal with gold star, and the Navy and Marine Corps Achievement Medal.
After serving for two years as a senior adviser to the Commissioner, Customs and Border Protection, General Lehnert was invited to serve as a Woodrow Wilson Visiting Fellow where he lectures on leadership and ethical decision making.