NASA PUBLIC AFFAIRS & COMMUNITY RELATIONS OFFICER (RET),
REAR ADMIRAL U. S. COAST GUARD RESERVE (RET)
Rear Admiral Merrilees is fortunate to have had a dual career with NASA and the U.S. Coast Guard Reserve. He started his civil service career in 1960 as a Budget Analyst with the Department of Agriculture and transferred to NASA in 1962 in Washington, D.C. also in the Budget arena. He and his wife Beverly, also a NASA Retiree, transferred to Kennedy Space Center, Florida in 1967.
He retired from NASA in January 1998 after thirty eight years primarily in Budgeting, the last several being in the Public Affairs Office in Guest Operations and as the Community Relations Officer, Kennedy Space Center. He continues to support the Public Affairs Office on a part-time volunteer basis and remains active in the Community.
He enlisted in the Coast Guard Reserve in 1961, became a Radioman Third Class, and then received a commission in 1964. He retired in 1994 as the Senior Reserve Officer, U.S. Coast Guard.
As a Flag Officer, Rear Admiral Merrilees served in both the Pacific Area and Atlantic Area from 1990 to 1994. Previously, he commanded several major organizations, including Coast Guard Reserve Group Miami, Coast Guard Reserve Group Jacksonville, Seventh Coast Guard District Reserve Inspection Team, and Coast Guard Reserve Unit Station Port Canaveral. He was also an instructor at the CG Marine Safety School in Yorktown, VA focusing on emergency response situations such as oil or hazardous materials spills, Hurricanes, military ops, terrorists incidences, ship collisions, etc.
As a result of his Coast Guard and NASA positions, he was asked to organize the Coast Guard Space Shuttle waterside launch security program in 1981, and commanded it for the first several years. This program was in effect through the last Shuttle launch.
He was elected as the National President of the 75,000 member Reserve Officers Association, located on Capitol Hill, in 2003. This is an organization started by General Pershing in 1922 to support strong national security and a viable reserve program for all Services.
Three years later he served as the United States Vice President and Head of the U.S. Delegation of the
Confederation of Interallied Reserve Officers (CIOR), which is an organization sanctioned by NATO since 1948 to assist and advise NATO on Reserve affairs. ROA is the U.S. member and represents all Service Components. CIOR represents 1.3 million reservists in 34 NATO member countries and NATO affiliated countries.
A prominent member of his community, RADM Merrilees serves, or has served, on numerous boards of directors including Leadership Brevard (Chairman), Cape Canaveral Lighthouse Foundation (President) Navy League, Community Services Council, Red Cross, Chamber of Commerce, Crisis Services, Canaveral Propeller Club, Speakers Bureau, and Junior Achievement. He is also a member of the Brevard County Civilian/Military Council, a prestigious organization composed of community leaders.
RADM Merrilees is a graduate of American University in Washington, D.C. with a Bachelors Degree in Business Administration and a Masters Degree in Public Administration.
He and his wife Beverly reside in Merritt Island, Florida.