7th Fleet Commander, Vice Adm. Bill Merz, visits NAF Atsugi and NAF Misawa

Photo by Seaman Benjamin Ringers
Photo by Seaman Benjamin Ringers

7th Fleet Commander, Vice Adm. Bill Merz, visits NAF Atsugi and NAF Misawa

by MC2 Shannon Burns
U.S. 7th Fleet Public Affairs

YOKOSUKA, Japan — Vice Adm. Bill Merz, commander, U.S. 7th Fleet, conducted visits to Naval Air Facility (NAF) Atsugi and NAF Misawa as part of a fleet circulation visit, Dec. 1 - 2.

The purpose of the visits were to discuss 7th Fleet operations during conflict and engagements with tenant commands and rotational deployers. While there, he also spoke with newly-announced chief petty officer selectees about the importance of involvement in family support programs.

“There is nothing worse than the unknown if you’re on the family side of this equation,” said Merz. “You need to invest in these family support groups, you need to go to these meetings, and I recommend you show up in uniform so they understand that you are there in an official capacity to give them information and to give them what they need.”

During the visits, Merz and his team toured the bases, conducted conference calls with leadership, and visited with Sailors. While in Misawa, he spoke with leadership about the future mission of manned and unmanned aircraft in the 7th Fleet area of operations and the availability of this capability to the Navy.

“It’s nice, we are really starting to build a common denominator of capability here between manned and unmanned aircraft, you are all conducting our Nation’s business over here,” said Merz.

As the U.S. Navy's largest forward deployed fleet, U.S. 7th Fleet routinely operates between 50-70 ships and submarines and 140 aircraft with approximately 20,000 Sailors. 7th Fleet's area of operation spans more than 124 million square kilometers, stretching from the International Date Line to the India/Pakistan border; and from the Kuril Islands in the North to the Antarctic in the South Pacific, providing security and stability to the region. 7th Fleet interacts with 35 other maritime nations to build partnerships that foster maritime security while conducting a wide-range of missions to support humanitarian efforts and uphold international laws and freedoms of the sea.

Photo Caption:
MISAWA, Japan (Dec. 2, 2020) – Commander, U.S. 7th Fleet, Vice Adm. Bill Merz, left, tours Aviation Support Division (ASD) Misawa during a visit to Naval Air Facility (NAF) Misawa. Merz is conducting fleet circulation visits to NAF Atsugi and NAF Misawa with a focus on discussing the U.S. 7th Fleet Warfighting Concepts and engagement with tenant commands and rotational deployers. U.S. 7th Fleet conducts forward-deployed naval operations in support of U.S. national interests in the Indo-Pacific area of operations. As the U.S. Navy's largest numbered fleet, 7th Fleet interacts with 35 other maritime nations to build partnerships that foster maritime security, promote stability, and prevent conflict.

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