An official website of the United States government
Here's how you know
A .mil website belongs to an official U.S. Department of Defense organization in the United States.
A lock (lock ) or https:// means you’ve safely connected to the .mil website. Share sensitive information only on official, secure websites.

ArticleCS - Article View
NEWS | July 6, 2021


By U.S. 7th Fleet Public Affairs

YOKOSUKA, Japan – U.S. 7th Fleet will hold a change of command ceremony July 8 at the Fleet Activities Yokosuka Fleet Theater.


Vice Adm. Karl O. Thomas will become the 53rd commander of 7th Fleet, the world's largest forward-deployed naval force, when he relieves Vice Adm. William R. Merz.


Merz assumed command of 7th Fleet on Sept. 12, 2019. Tasked with ensuring the effectiveness of 7th Fleet to maintain peace and stability in the region, Merz led Talisman Sabre, Keen Sword, ANNUALEX, Pacific Vanguard, Malabar and many more bilateral and multilateral exercises and operations. Under his leadership, 7th Fleet also strengthened naval integration between U.S. Navy and the Marine Corps and conducted numerous subject matter expert exchanges and combined operations with allies and partners in the region.


Thomas comes to 7th Fleet from the Pentagon where he most recently served as assistant deputy chief of naval operations for operations, plans, and strategy.  He previously served in Japan as Task Force SEVEN ZERO/Commander, Carrier Strike Group FIVE deploying on USS Ronald Reagan (CVN 76) based out of Yokosuka.


Under Commander, U.S. Pacific Fleet, 7th Fleet is the U.S. Navy's largest forward-deployed numbered fleet, and routinely interacts and operates with 35 maritime nations in preserving a free and open Indo-Pacific region.


The change of command will also be broadcast live at 10 a.m. (JST) on 7th Fleet’s official Facebook page at the following link:

For more news from Commander, U.S. 7th Fleet, visit



Google Translation Disclaimer

  • Google Translate, a third party service provided by Google, performs all translations directly and dynamically.
  • Commander, U.S. 7th Fleet, has no control over the features, functions, or performance of the Google Translate service.
  • The automated translations should not be considered exact and should be used only as an approximation of the original English language content.
  • This service is meant solely for the assistance of limited English-speaking users of the website.
  • Commander, U.S. 7th Fleet, does not warrant the accuracy, reliability, or timeliness of any information translated.
  • Some items cannot be translated, including but not limited to image buttons, drop down menus, graphics, photos, or portable document formats (pdfs).
  • Commander, U.S. 7th Fleet, does not directly endorse Google Translate or imply that it is the only language translation solution available to users.
  • All site visitors may choose to use similar tools for their translation needs. Any individuals or parties that use Commander, U.S. 7th Fleet, content in translated form, whether by Google Translate or by any other translation services, do so at their own risk.
  • IE users: Please note that Google Translate may not render correctly when using Internet Explorer. Users are advised to use MS Edge, Safari, Chrome, or Firefox browser to take full advantage of the Google Translate feature.
  • The official text of content on this site is the English version found on this website. If any questions arise related to the accuracy of the information contained in translated text, refer to the English version on this website, it is the official version.