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Groton— Capt. William Merz turned over command of Submarine Development Squadron 12 to Capt. Vern Parks in a ceremony May 11 aboard the USS San Juan at the Naval Submarine Base.
Vice Adm. John Richardson, commander of the submarine force, was the guest speaker. Richardson complimented Merz for a “superb tour,” which included commanding the squadron of seven submarines and leading a “team of top-notch analysts that study and define our intellectual warfighting base.”
In addition to his role as squadron commodore, Merz also served as chairman of the Submarine Tactical Requirements Group, in which he guided the submarine force acquisition community. Richardson said the true legacy of Merz’s leadership will be the people he has trained and led.
“Our sailors and their families are the most important part of our success. They have always been our secret weapon,” Richardson said.
Richardson welcomed Parks to his new assignment and told him he is “perfectly suited to take this job.”
Merz will next serve as the chief of staff to the commander, Submarine Force Atlantic. He said the squadron “represents the heartbeat of the submarine force” and “both the experience and the education have been incredibly enriching.”
“It has been a once in a lifetime opportunity,” he said.
Parks, who previously served as commanding officer of USS Santa Fe and executive officer of USS Helena, said he was “looking forward to the future with the outstanding men and women of DEVRON 12.”