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  • Jeanne Kouhestani

Captain Michele G. Bullock Takes Command of NOAA’s Pacific Fleet of Scientific Research Ships

December 12, 2007

NOAA Captain Michele G. Bullock recently took command of the day-to-day operations of the 10 research and survey ships in NOAA’s Pacific fleet controlled from the agency’s Marine Operations Center-Pacific in Seattle. Each year these NOAA ships accommodate dozens of missions and scientists who assess Pacific fish and marine mammal stocks, service buoys that detect changes in climate, conduct coral reef research, recover marine debris, and collect seafloor data to update nautical charts, to name a few.

Bullock is the first woman to hold the position of commanding officer of NOAA’s Pacific operations. She relieved NOAA Captain Jon Rix, who is going on leave before his February 1 retirement.

“Captain Bullock is an outstanding officer who has proven she can meet any challenge that comes her way,” said Rear Admiral Jonathan Bailey, director of NOAA’s Office of Marine and Aviation Operations and NOAA Corps. “I’m confident she will be an effective leader and manager of our Pacific fleet.”

Since her appointment as a NOAA Corps officer in 1985, Bullock has served three Pacific sea tours. Most notably, she served as commanding officer of the Seattle-based NOAA ship McArthur, where her second and third in command were also women—a first for NOAA. Under her leadership, McArthur received the NOAA “Ship of the Year” award in 2001.

Bullock’s land assignments have included NOAA offices and laboratories on both coasts. Most recently, she served as executive director of NOAA’s Office of Marine and Aviation Operations in Silver Spring, Md., where she helped manage an 800-strong workforce of officers and civilians, a $200 million budget, the NOAA fleet of ships and aircraft, and the fleet modernization program. While in this position earlier this year, she was awarded two group NOAA Bronze Medals for excellence. Prior to this assignment, Bullock was chief of operations at the Marine Operations Center-Pacific, where she managed personnel and logistics support for 10 ships. She was instrumental in maintaining existing mission support to NOAA while bringing three new vessels online.

Bullock holds a bachelor’s degree in oceanography from the Florida Institute of Technology (1986) and a master’s degree in marine geology/geophysics from the University of Miami’s Rosenstiel School of Marine and Atmospheric Science (1999). She is a graduate of NOAA’s Leadership Development Competency Program and Georgetown University’s Senior Executive Leadership Program.

Bullock, a native of Allentown, Pa., currently resides in Brier, Wash., with her husband, Cliff Wilson. She is the daughter of Mervyn (deceased) and Annette Bullock of Sun City Center, Fla.

The NOAA fleet of research ships and aircraft is operated, managed and maintained by the Office of Marine and Aviation Operations, which includes civilians and officers of the NOAA Corps. The NOAA Corps is one of the nation’s seven uniformed services. Its commissioned officers have degrees in engineering, science or mathematics and provide NOAA with an important blend of technical, operational and leadership skills at sea, in the air and in program offices throughout the nation.

NOAA is dedicated to enhancing economic security and national safety through the prediction and research of weather and climate-related events and information service delivery for transportation, and by providing environmental stewardship of our nation's coastal and marine resources. Through the emerging Global Earth Observation System of Systems (GEOSS), NOAA is working with its federal partners, more than 70 countries and the European Commission to develop a global monitoring network that is as integrated as the planet it observes, predicts, and protects.