Rear Adm. Mike Bernacchi grew up in Pleasant Ridge, Michigan, and graduated from the University of Detroit with a Bachelor of Science in Biology and holds master’s degrees from University of Michigan in nuclear engineering and industrial engineering.
His operational tours include service aboard both attack and ballistic missile submarines including USS James Madison (SSBN 627), USS Albuquerque (SSN 706) and USS Santa Fe (SSN 763). He commanded USS Alexandria (SSN757) and was commodore of Submarine Squadron 4 in Groton, Connecticut.
Ashore, he served as executive assistant to the vice chief of naval operations; executive assistant to the chief of naval personnel; chief of staff for Submarine Group 2; Deputy Nuclear Community Program manager; special assistant to naval reactors for Officer Matters; and cruise missile planner for theater operations at United States Strategic Command.
He is entitled to wear the Legion of Merit (five awards), Defense Meritorious Service Medal, and various personal, unit and service awards. He was recognized by the Naval League of the United States in 2007 with the John Paul Jones Award for Inspirational Leadership.