Vice Adm. Bill Merz is a native of San Diego, California. He is a 1986 graduate of the U.S. Naval Academy with a Bachelor of Science in Ocean Engineering, and master’s degrees from Catholic University and the Naval War College.
Merz qualified in submarines onboard USS Haddo (SSN 604). He served as radiological controls officer on USS Proteus (AS 19), and then as engineer officer on USS Boise (SSN 764). He commanded the nuclear powered deep-sea vessel Submarine NR-1, USS Memphis (SSN 691), and Submarine Development Squadron 12. Through the course of nine overseas deployments, Merz conducted submarine operations in support of U.S. Pacific Command, U.S. European Command, U.S. Central Command, and U.S. Africa Command. The crews he served with collectively earned six unit awards, five Battle “E”s, and the Atlantic Fleet’s Battenberg Cup.
Ashore, he conducted submarine design research in Carderock, Maryland, survived two tours in the Pentagon as a budget programmer on both the Navy Staff (N80) and Joint Staff (J8), served as head of the Naval Reactors Line Locker, and as chief-of-staff for Commander, Submarine Forces Atlantic, Task Force 144.
His flag assignments include commander, Naval Mine & Anti-Submarine Warfare Command (NMAWC) and Task Force 77, San Diego, California; commander, Task Force 54 in Bahrain; commander, Task Force 74 in Japan; director, Undersea Warfare Division (OPNAV N97) in the Pentagon; and most recently, as deputy chief of Naval Operations for Warfare Systems (OPNAV N9), also in the Pentagon.