Rear Adm. Bill Merz, a native of San Diego, graduated from the U.S. Naval Academy in 1986 with a Bachelor of Science in Ocean Engineering. He subsequently earned master’s degrees from The Catholic University of America and the U.S. Naval War College.
Merz qualified submarines and served as a junior officer on USS Haddo (SSN 604). He served as engineer officer on USS Boise (SSN 764) and as radiological controls officer on USS Proteus (AS 19). He commanded the deep submergence vessel (DSV) “Submarine NR-1”, USS Memphis (SSN 691) and Submarine Development Squadron (DEVRON) 12.
In his first flag assignment he served as commander, Naval Mine & Anti-Submarine Warfare Command (NMAWC) and commander, Task Force 77 in San Diego. Ashore, he conducted submarine design research in Carderock, Maryland, completed two tours in the Pentagon as a budget programmer on both the Navy and joint staffs, served as head of the Naval Reactors’ “Line Locker” and as chief-of-staff for Commander, Submarine Forces Atlantic, Commander, Task Force 144.
In March 2015 he assumed his duties as commander, Submarine Group 7 and commander, Task Force 74 in Yokosuka, Japan, and commander, Task Force 54 in Bahrain. His teams were responsible for undersea operations in both the U.S. Central and U.S. Pacific Commands, a combined area that spans from the International Dateline to the Suez Canal.
Merz is currently the director, Undersea Warfare Division (N97) in Washington, D.C., and is responsible for the planning, programming and budgeting for acquisition, operational readiness and modernization of the submarine force and its support.
He has completed nine overseas deployments in support of U.S., Joint and Coalition submarine operations in the Pacific Command, European Command, Central Command and Africa Command. The crews he served with collectively earned six unit awards, five Battle “E”s and the Atlantic Fleet’s Battenberg Cup.