Rear Adm. Messerschmidt hails from Elmhurst, Ill., and is a 1979 honors graduate of the United States Naval Academy. Following nuclear propulsion and basic submarine training, he served aboard USS James Madison (SSBN 627) (Blue) where he qualified as a submarine warfare and nuclear engineer officer. Messerschmidt then served ashore as a submarine communications project officer with the Space and Naval Warfare Systems Command in Arlington, Va., prior to transitioning to the Navy Reserve in December 1986.
Messerschmidt has commanded five Reserve units including two that earned Navy Meritorious Unit Commendations. Other tours of duty include Reserve chief of staff, Submarine Force, U.S. Atlantic Fleet and deputy commander, Naval Reserve Readiness Command Midwest. Since his selection to flag rank in 2006, Messerschmidt has served as vice commander, Submarine Force; deputy chief of Navy Reserve; deputy commander, Navy Reserve Force, and commander, Navy Reserve Forces Command. His final assignment before he retired in October 2013 was director of analysis and assessments (ECJ7), Reserve component advisor, and Navy Element commander at U.S. European Command, Stuttgart-Vaihingen, Germany.
He holds a Master of Science degree in Systems Engineering from George Mason University in Fairfax, Va. and is a Fellow of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology Seminar XXI Program. He is also a graduate of the Air Command and Staff College and the Joint Forces Staff College Joint Professional Military Education (JPME) programs.
Personal awards include the Defense Superior Service Medal, Legion of Merit (four awards), Meritorious Service Medal (four awards), Joint Service Commendation Medal, Navy and Marine Corps Commendation Medal (five awards), and Navy and Marine Corps Achievement Medal (two awards). Messerschmidt has also received three Military Outstanding Volunteer Service Medals for community service and is actively involved in Boy Scouts of America.
In his civilian career, Messerschmidt has been employed since 1986 by The MITRE Corporation, a not-for-profit organization chartered to work in the public interest.