Commander, Naval Mine and Anti-Submarine Warfare Command (NMAWC) held a change of command ceremony at Naval Base Point Loma aboard the Los Angeles-class fast attack submarine USS Asheville (SSN 758) Oct 18.
Rear Adm. William Merz relieved Rear Adm. Robert M. Hennegan, who retired following 33 years of honorable service.
“Robert, you have invested your life into the Navy and into our country and I hope you will see it, as I do, a great and wise investment,” said Arnold Pinkston, keynote speaker and Hennegan’s personal friend.
During his time as commander, Hennegan led efforts to ensure Navy-wide competency in the Mine Warfare (MIW) and Anti-Submarine Warfare (ASW) mission areas.
“This is my fifth change of command and fifth opportunity to lead such a terrific team and I feel very fortunate; it has been the highlight of my entire career from my early days on the USS Buffalo to today, here with this NMAWC team,” said Hennegan.
Highlights from Hennegan’s career include serving in fleet support positions on the staff of Commander, Submarine Force, U.S. Pacific Fleet and at Submarine Squadron 16. He also served as the deputy chief of Legislative Affairs for the Navy, on the Department of Defense Transition Task Force in the Office of the Secretary of Defense, and as the deputy commander, Joint Functional Component Command for Global Strike at U.S. Strategic Command. He most recently served as Commander, Submarine Group Nine.
“Beyond these shores, the world is a very dangerous place and many of you have seen this first hand,” said Merz. “NMAWC represents two of today’s most challenging warfare areas [mine and anti-submarine]. But fortunately this great challenge pulls together great talent, and this command is known for great talent.”
Merz’s tours include USS Haddo (SSN 604), USS Proteus (AS 19), and USS Boise (SSN 764). Command assignments consisted of the deep submergence vessel Submarine NR-1, USS Memphis (SSN 691) and Submarine Development Squadron 12. He has deployed overseas nine times in support of operations in the Pacific Command (PACOM), European Command (EUCOM), Central Command (CENTCOM), and Africa Command (AFRICOM).
Ashore, Merz conducted submarine design research in Carderock, Md., served on the Navy Staff (N8) and Joint Staff (J8) in the Pentagon, served as Special Assistant to the Director of Naval Nuclear Propulsion at the Washington Navy Yard and most recently served as the Chief of Staff for Commander, Submarine Forces Atlantic in Norfolk, Va.
NMAWC’s mission includes providing mine warfare commander battle staff to support operational maritime component commanders in executing operational control of air, surface and underwater mine countermeasure forces.
U.S. Third Fleet leads naval forces in the Eastern Pacific from the West Coast of North America to the international date line.
Press Release, October 22, 2013; Image: US Navy