Lt. Cmdr. Christopher Mergen was raised in Schenectady, New York. He graduated from the State University College at Oneonta in 1997 with a Bachelor of Science degree in History. Mergen enlisted in the U.S. Navy and subsequently reported for duty as an Aviation Electrician’s Mate (Naval Aircrewman) with Fleet Air Reconnaissance Squadron ONE (VQ-1) at Naval Air Station (NAS) Whidbey Island, Washington. He completed a follow-on sea tour with Special Projects Patrol Squadron ONE (VPU-1) at NAS Brunswick, Maine and earned his commission from Officer Candidate School in June of 2004.
He was designated a Naval Flight Officer (NFO) in 2005 and has completed sea duty assignments aboard Patrol Squadron FIVE (VP-5) as an Instructor Tactical Coordinator and Mission Commander; Patrol Reconnaissance Wing ELEVEN Detachment, Fleet Support Unit FIVE (FSU-5) as the Operations Officer; and most recently completed an Operational Department Head tour with Patrol Squadron TEN (VP-10) in Jacksonville, Florida.
Mergen has completed shore duty assignments to Patrol Squadron THIRTY (VP-30) and the Maritime Patrol and Reconnaissance Weapons School as a Fleet Replacement Squadron Instructor and Aircrewman Air Combat Training Continuum Level 500 Weapons and Tactics Instructor in Jacksonville, Florida. Additionally, he completed in-residence Joint Professional Military Education Phase-1 at the Army Command and General Staff College in Fort Leavenworth, Kansas, earning a master’s degree in Military Arts and Science with a concentration in Military History.
He has logged more than 4,000 flight hours in Maritime Patrol Aircraft completing four deployments, and more than 25 operational detachments totaling seven years of forward deployed tactical execution across every U.S. Special Operations Command area of responsibility. His personal decorations include the Navy and Marine Corps Commendation Medal (four), Navy and Marine Corps Achievement Medal (four), and various unit and campaign awards.