Vice Adm. Bill Merz is a native of San Diego, California and a 1986 graduate of the U.S. Naval Academy, earning a Bachelor of Science in Ocean Engineering. He subsequently earned master’s degrees from Catholic University and the Naval War College (Naval Command College), and completed the MIT Seminar XXI program.
Previous operational flag tours included Naval Mine & Anti-Submarine Warfare Command (NMAWC) and Task Force 77 in San Diego, Task Force 54 in Bahrain, Task Force 74 in Japan, and Commander, U.S. 7th Fleet, embarked aboard USS Blue Ridge (LCC 19), also in Japan. Previous shore-side flag assignments included director, Undersea Warfare Division (OPNAV N97) and deputy CNO for Warfighting Requirements (OPNAV N9).
A career submarine officer, Merz earned his dolphins aboard USS Haddo (SSN 604) in San Diego and is among the few remaining “594 Tough” Permit-class submariners (formerly the Thresher class). Following Haddo, he qualified surface warfare officer in Guam aboard USS Proteus (AS 19), the last active U.S. ship in Tokyo Bay for the end of WWII in the Pacific. During his tour the Proteus crew earned the Humanitarian Service Medal in response to the eruption of Mt. Pinatubo in Luzon, Philippines. He then served as engineer officer aboard USS Boise (SSN 764) in Norfolk, followed by command of the nuclear deep-sea vessel (DSV) “NR-1”, command of the attack submarine USS Memphis (SSN 691), and major command of Submarine Development Squadron 12.
Other assignments included ship design research in Carderock, Maryland; Naval Reactors Line Locker (NAVSEA 08),Washington Navy Yard; chief of staff for Commander, Submarine Forces in Norfolk; and, Financial Management tours in the Pentagon on the Navy Staff (N80 Bullpen) and Joint Staff (J8 PBAD).
Over the course of ten overseas deployments the crews he served with collectively earned eight unit awards, five Battle “E”s, and the Atlantic Fleet’s Battenberg Cup. He is also an Honorary U.S. Navy Chief Petty Officer.
Last Updated: 15 September 2021
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