Rear Adm. Rick Williams is a native of Pittsford, New York, and earned a Bachelor of Science degree in Business Administration from the Rochester Institute of Technology. He was commissioned through Navy ROTC as a surface warfare officer in June 1984.
Williams’ early operational tours include anti-submarine warfare officer on USS Trippe (FF-1075), combat systems officer on USS Taurus (PHM-3), combat systems officer on USS Aubrey Fitch (FFG-34), combat systems officer in Destroyer Squadron Eight, and executive officer on USS O’Bannon (DD-987). Williams commanded USS McInerney (FFG-8) from 2002 through 2004 earning the Battle “E” for Excellence and the Department of Homeland Security Golden Eagle Award for successful counter-narcotic and maritime interdiction operations. Major command assignments include Commander Destroyer Squadron Two-Six, leading Maritime Security task groups in the Arabian Gulf from 2006 through 2008, followed by deputy 5th Fleet, and director of Maritime Operations from 2008 through 2009 in support of Operations Iraqi Freedom and Enduring Freedom, as well as directing maritime Counter Piracy and Counter Terrorist operations. Shore assignments include Navigation and Leadership Instructor duties at the U.S. Naval Academy from 1989-1991, executive assistant to the Deputy of Missile Defense Agency in 2000-2002, lead campaign planner OPNAV Assessments/Capability Analyses N81 from 2004 -2006, special assistant to Chief of Naval Operations from 2009 to 2011 and executive assistant to the Commander, Central Command from 2011 through 2012. As a flag select, Williams led the Fleet Forces Assessments branch in support of the Navy’s new Readiness Kill Chain enterprise initiative in 2012 and 2013.
Williams earned a Master of Business degree from the University of Maryland, holds a Master of Arts in National Security and Strategic Studies from the Naval War College, and completed the MIT Strategic Security Seminar XXI Fellowship. Personal decorations include the Defense Superior Service Medal (2 awards) Legion of Merit (4 awards), Meritorious Service Medal (2 awards), Joint Commendation Medal, Navy Commendation Medal (4 awards), Army Commendation Medal, and Navy Achievement medal (3 awards).
Williams assumed command of Navy Region Hawaii and Naval Surface Group Middle Pacific in July 2013.