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 in Ocean Engineering, and subsequently earned master’s degrees from Catholic University and the Naval War College.
Merz qualified in submarines on USS Haddo (SSN 604) in San Diego. He served as radiological controls officer on USS Proteus (AS 19) in Guam, and then as engineer officer on USS Boise (SSN 764) in Norfolk. He commanded the nuclear powered deep-sea vessel Submarine NR-1, USS Memphis (SSN 691), and Submarine Development Squadron 12, all in Groton, Connecticut. Over the course of nine overseas deployments, 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 to date have been Commander, Naval Mine & Anti-Submarine Warfare Command (NMAWC) and Task Force 77 in San Diego; Commander, Task Force 54 in Bahrain; Commander, Task Force 74 in Japan; Director, Undersea Warfare Division (OPNAV N97) and Deputy Chief of Naval Operations for Warfare Systems (OPNAV N9), both in the Pentagon. He assumed command of 7th Fleet in September, 2019