NEWS | Nov. 12, 2019

Commander, Task Force 72 Hosts Commander, U.S. 7th Fleet

Commander Task Force 72

KADENA AIR BASE, Okinawa -- Commander, Task Force (CTF) 72 welcomed Vice Adm. Bill R. Merz, Commander, U.S. 7th Fleet, during a tour November 8.

During the visit, Merz inspected the installation’s premiere Maritime Patrol and Reconnaissance Aircraft (MPRA), a Boeing P-8 Poseidon. A career submariner, he said the value of maritime airborne surveillance platforms to anti-submarine warfare cannot be understated.

“There are few capabilities I rely on more than the reach and resilience of my MPRA - The “World Famous Pelicans” are a force multiplier for the entire 7th Fleet.”

Merz also took time to speak with Sailors assigned to Patrol Squadron (VP) 45, the World Famous Pelicans, who are operating P-8s on a seven-month deployment to the U.S. 7th Fleet area of operations.

“It was an absolute thrill for our Sailors to host Vice Admiral Merz today, showcasing the incredible power projection that the Maritime Patrol and Reconnaissance force brings to this Area of Responsibility,” said Commander Paul W. Nickell, VP-45’s Commanding Officer.

The tour marks the first visit by Vice Adm. Merz since taking command of U.S. 7th Fleet in September, 2019.

CTF 72 leads patrol, reconnaissance and surveillance forces in support of U.S. Seventh Fleet and seeks close interoperability with allied forces, friendly nations, and other U.S. military services in execution of this mission.