Vice Admiral Bill Merz is a native of San Diego, California. He
graduated from the U.S. Naval Academy in 1986 with a Bachelor of Science degree
in Ocean Engineering, and subsequently earned master’s degrees from the
Catholic University of America and the Naval War College. He also
completed the MIT Seminar XXI program.
Merz assumed command of U.S. 7th Fleet in September 2019, and is
embarked aboard USS Blue Ridge (LCC 19) home-ported in Japan. His
previous Flag Officer commands were Naval Mine & Anti-Submarine Warfare
Command (NMAWC) and Task Force 77 in San Diego, Task Force 54 in Bahrain,
Submarine Group Seven and Task Force 74 in Japan.
Ashore Flag Officer assignments have been Director, Undersea
Warfare Division (OPNAV N97) and Deputy Chief of Naval Operations for Warfare
Systems (DCNO OPNAV N9). Other shore assignments included submarine
design research at Carderock, head of the Naval Reactors Line Locker, Chief of
Staff for the Submarine Force Commander, and financial management tours on the
Navy Staff (N80 Bullpen) and Joint Staff (J8 PBAD).
A career submarine officer, Merz served aboard USS Haddo (SSN 604)
in San Diego, USS Proteus (AS 19) in Guam, where he also qualified Surface
Warfare Officer, and USS Boise (SSN 764) in Norfolk. He commanded the
nuclear deep-sea vessel (DSV) “NR-1”, the attack submarine USS Memphis (SSN
691), and Submarine Development Squadron 12. Over the course of ten
overseas deployments, the crews he served with collectively earned six unit
awards, five Battle “E”s, and the Atlantic Fleet’s Battenberg Cup.