Commanding Officer

CDR Charles K. Merkel JR

Commander Merkel was born in Patuxent River, Maryland, into a Navy family.
He joined the Navy in 1980 under the Nuclear Power Officer Candidate Program. Following graduation from Texas A&M University in 1982, with a Bachelor of Science in Nuclear Engineering, he attended Officer Candidate School and was commissioned in October, 1982.
During his career, he has also earned a Master’s Degree in Engineering Management from the Catholic University of America.

Commander Merkel’s first submarine was USS BREMERTON (SSN 698) from March 1984 to August 1987, serving in various division officer assignments and as Combat Systems Officer.
BREMERTON completed three Western Pacific deployments and was awarded two Navy Unit Commendations, one Meritorious Unit Commendation and two Battle Efficiency “E” awards.

He was assigned as Navigator and Operations Officer in USS OMAHA (SSN 692) from July 1990 to February 1993.  OMAHA completed three Western Pacific deployments and was awarded the Meritorious Unit Commendation.  He served as Executive Officer in USS TUNNY (SSN 682) from April 1995 to September 1997.  TUNNY completed two Western Pacific deployments and was awarded the Meritorious Unit Commendation and Battle Efficiency “E” award.

Commander Merkel has served ashore as Shift Engineer and Staff Training Officer at the S5G prototype at the Nuclear Power Training Unit in Idaho Falls, Idaho, a member of the Commander Submarine Force United States Pacific Fleet’s Tactical Readiness Evaluation Team and as Special Assistant for Enlisted Personnel and Training to the Deputy Director of Naval Reactors.

Commander Merkel’s personal awards included the Meritorious Service Medal
(two awards), Navy and Marine Corps Commendation Medal (four awards) and the Navy and Marine Corps Achievement Medal (two awards).