United States Navy History, focusing on the U. S. Navy Pacific & 3rd Fleets
A Sailors tale of his Tour of duty in the U.S. Navy (August 1977 to February 1983) Operation Evening Light and Eagle Claw - 24 April 1980
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Operations Evening Light and Eagle Claw (24 April 1980) Iran and Air Arm History (1941 to 1980)
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United States Navy History, focusing on the U. S. Navy Pacific & 3rd Fleets
Commander, U.S. Pacific Fleet (COMPACFLT)
“The United States Pacific Fleet (USPACFLT) is a Pacific Ocean theater-level component command of the United States Navy that provides naval forces to the United States Pacific Command. Fleet headquarters is at Pearl Harbor Naval Base, Hawaii, headed by Commander Pacific Fleet (USPACOM)(formerly known as CINCPAC Commander in Chief, US Pacific Fleet), usually a four-star admiral, with large secondary facilities at North Island, San Diego Bay on the Mainland” (Ref. 313G).
“The U.S. Navy's Pacific Fleet covers more than 50% of the earth' surface, encompassing just over 100 million square miles. Each day, Pacific Fleet ships are at sea in the Pacific, Indian, and Arctic Oceans, from the west coast of the U.S. to the Arabian Gulf. The Pacific Fleet encompasses approximately 200 ships, 2,000 aircraft and 250,000 Sailors and Marines. Together they keep the sea lanes open, deter aggression, provide regional stability, and support humanitarian relief activities” (Ref. 313W).
“CINCPACFLT staff reported administratively to the Chief of Naval Operations, and operationally to the Commander in Chief, U.S. Pacific Command (USCINCPAC). In the Pacific Fleet Chain-of-Command, Type Commanders, Numbered Fleet Commanders (and Operational Commanders) and Regional Commanders within the Pacific Fleet AOR report to CINCPACFLT. CINCPACFLT provided ships, Sailors and Marines in support of several force users within the Department of Defense.
Former CINPACFLT Chain of Command” (Ref. 313U):
A watercolor by Gunner William H. Myers shows the Pacific Squadron ships USS United States, USS Cyane, USS Saint Louis, USS Yorktown, and USS Shark (U.S. Naval Historical Center photograph)
“The U.S. Pacific Fleet's contributions to our Navy's proud heritage date back to 1821, with the establishment of the Pacific Squadron. This small force confined its activities initially to protecting U.S. commercial shipping in the waters off North and South America and around Hawaii, then expanded its scope to include the Western Pacific in 1835, when the East India Squadron joined the force. The Pacific Squadron mounted expeditions to Sumatra in the 1830s to protect American merchant shipping and was instrumental in capturing what is now California during the Mexican-American War of 1846-48. The extent of its responsibility was further enlarged in the 1850s when California and Oregon were admitted to the Union.
The importance of U.S. Pacific naval forces as an instrument of foreign policy blossomed in July 1853, when Commodore Matthew C. Perry delivered a letter from President Millard Fillmore seeking diplomatic and trade relations between the United States and Japan. Less than nine months later, in March 1854, Commodore Perry negotiated and signed a treaty between the two countries, opening Japan to trade with other nations for the first time in 300 years.
Following the Civil War, the Pacific Squadron conducted anti-piracy operations in the Gulf of California. It was during this period, the 1870s, when the Navy and Hawaii became firmly intertwined. A warship of the Pacific Fleet helped quell riots following the election of King David Kalakaua in 1874, and the king later granted the United States the rights to use Pearl Harbor as a coaling station.
The Spanish-American War of 1898 resulted in further expansion of American naval power in the Pacific. Commodore George Dewey led America's Asiatic Squadron into Manila Bay for the first engagement of the war, on May 1, 1898. When the battle ended seven hours later, eight Spanish warships had been destroyed. Two months later, off the coast of Cavite, Philippines, Commodore Dewey issued the famous order, "You may fire when ready, Gridley," and dealt the final blow to the remaining Spanish fleet. This decisive victory left the United States in possession of former Spanish territory in the Philippines and the Mariana Islands. More importantly, it established the United States as a major maritime power” (Ref. 313V).
“The General Order of 6 December 1922 organized the Pacific and Asiatic Fleet and they were combined to United States Fleet, with the Battle Fleet as the Pacific presence. The Asiatic Squadron and the Pacific Squadron remained separate until April 15, 1907, when they were combined to form the United States Pacific Fleet. In 1922, the Pacific and Asiatic Fleet were combined to form the United States Fleet, which positioned a main body of ships in the Pacific and a scouting fleet in the Atlantic. For the first time, the major weight of American seapower was assigned to the Pacific” (Ref. 313G & 313V).
“The fragile peace during the years between the world wars began to wither in the late 1930s with the emergence of Germany and Japan as military threats. With the fall of France and England standing alone, the possibility of American involvement in the war saw the U.S. Navy again split into two separate fleets” (Ref. 313V).
“Until May of 1940, the Pacific Fleet was stationed on the west coast of the United States. During the summer of 1940, as part of the US response to Japanese expansionism, it was instructed to take an 'advanced' position at Pearl Harbor, Hawaii. Long term basing at Pearl was opposed by the Admiral commanding, James Richardson, so strongly that he personally protested in Washington. Political considerations were thought sufficiently important that he was relieved by Admiral Husband E. Kimmel, who was in command at the time of the attack on Pearl Harbor. The United States Fleet was transformed into the Atlantic, Pacific and Asiatic fleets prior to World War II” (Ref. 313G).
The Battle Force consisted of Battleships, Battle Force, made up of three Battleship Divisions: Battleship Division 1 with USS Pennsylvania (BB-38) and USS Arizona (BB-39) with USS Nevada (BB-36); Battleship Division 2 with USS Tennessee (BB-43) and USS California (BB-44) with USS Oklahoma (BB-37); and USS Colorado (BB-45), USS Maryland (BB-46) and USS West Virginia (BB-48). These nine battleships were intended to counterbalance the ten battleships of the Imperial Japanese Navy. At the time of the attack on Pearl Harbor, USS Pennsylvania (BB-38) was in dry dock and USS Colorado (BB-45) was being refitted at Bremerton Navy Yard, Washington State. USS Arizona (BB-39) was mated with USS Nevada (BB-36) and USS Oklahoma (BB-37) at that time” (Ref. 313G).
“This was approximately the fleet's strength at the time of the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor, Hawaii on December 7, 1941, Japanese warplanes attacked ships and installations at Pearl Harbor and elsewhere on Oahu without warning, thrusting America into World War II” (Ref. 313V).
That day, the Japanese Combined Fleet carried out the attack on Pearl Harbor, initiating World War II in the Pacific. The Pacific Fleet's Battle Line was virtually destroyed, forcing the U.S. Navy to rely primarily on aircraft carriers and submarines for many months afterward” (Ref. 313G & 313L).
“Other components of the Battle Force included Aircraft, Battle Force, with Carrier Division One and Carrier Division Two, plus Cruiser Divisions 4, 5, and 6, as well as Destroyers, Battle Force” (Ref. 313G & 313J).
“The Amphibious Force was formally known as Commander, Amphibious Forces, Pacific Fleet (ComPhibPac). On 7 December 1941 the Amphibious Force comprised the Army's 3rd Infantry Division at Fort Lewis, under Army operational control, the 2nd Marine Division, the 2nd Marine Aircraft Wing, the 2nd Defense Battalion (see Marine defense battalions), and a depot. One of PhibPac's subordinate commands during World War II was Transports, Amphibious Force, Pacific Fleet, or TransPhibPac. The commander of TransPhibPac was known as ComTransPhibPac” (Ref. 313G).
“Subsequently Pacific Fleet engagements during World War II included the Battle of Guam, the Marshalls-Gilberts raids, the Doolittle Raid, the Solomon Islands campaign, the Battle of the Coral Sea, the Battle of Midway, the Battle of the Eastern Solomons, the Battle of the Santa Cruz Islands, the Battle of the Philippine Sea, the Gilbert and Marshall Islands campaign, the Battle of Leyte Gulf, and the Battle of Okinawa. More minor battles included the Battle of Dutch Harbor. The Submarine Force began a sustained campaign of commerce raiding against Japan's merchant marine, beginning the very first day of the war, which ultimately claimed 1,314 ships totalling about 5.3 million tons (by the imperfect postwar reckoning of the Joint Army-Navy Assessment Committee, JANAC)” (Ref. 313G & 313M).
“The war in the Pacific raised to glory some of history's finest naval commanders, legendary names including Nimitz, Halsey and Spruance. Likewise, America's most decisive blows toward total victory in World War II were struck here, from the early triumphs at Midway and the Solomon Islands to the climactic clashes of the Philippine Sea and Okinawa. This turbulent chapter in world history finally ended with the formal surrender of the Japanese aboard USS Missouri (BB-63) on September 2, 1945. At the time, the U.S. Navy had 6,768 ships in service, most of them in the Pacific” (Ref. 313V).
“The Pacific Fleet took part in Operation Magic Carpet, the return of U.S. servicemen, after the end of the Second World War. The organization of the Pacific Fleet in January 1947 is shown in Hal M. Friedman's Arguing over the American Lake: Bureaucracy and Rivalry in the U.S. Pacific, 1945-1947” (Ref. 313G & 313N).
“Five years of peace following World War II came to an end on June 26, 1950, when North Korean troops attacked South Korea. The Pacific Fleet responded by providing air strikes from offshore aircraft carriers and conducting the amphibious assault at Inchon. Control of the seas once again gave U.S. and other United Nations forces the decisive advantage. A cease-fire signed on July 27, 1953, halted the fighting” (Ref 313V).
“Following a decade of peaceful operations, the Pacific Fleet was again called to war, this time in Southeast Asia. By mid-1968 the Pacific Fleet was actively engaged in the Vietnam conflict, with 225 ships committed to operations in the South China Sea. In addition to providing air support from aircraft carriers operating off the coast, Pacific Fleet Sailors patrolled the Mekong River in gunboats. The Vietnam cease-fire was signed on January 27, 1973.
In the post-Vietnam period, the Pacific Fleet increased operations with allied navies, thereby ensuring freedom of the seas for all nations. Pacific Fleet responsibilities expanded to include the Indian Ocean, where aircraft carrier battle groups operate in support of vital U.S. national interests in that volatile part of the world” (Ref. 313V).
“Since 1950 the Pacific Fleet has been involved in the Korean War, the Vietnam War, the two Taiwan Straits Crises, and a number of other operations including the Mayaguez Incident of 1975, as well as post-Vietnam related operations such as Operation New Arrivals. The RIMPAC exercise series began in 1971” (Ref. 313G).
“The mission of the Commander in Chief, U.S. Pacific Fleet, is to support the U.S. Pacific Command's theater strategy, and to provide interoperable, trained and combat-ready naval forces to USCINCPAC and other U.S. unified commanders. This mission reflects changes since 1986, when the U.S. Congress passed the Goldwater-Nichols Act of 1986 to engender more cooperation and "jointness" between the armed services. CINCPACFLT's role has transitioned from that of warfighter to that of force provider, sustainer and trainer for the unified commanders. The net effect of this change is that the operational chains of command are now shorter and more direct, while CINCPACFLT and other force providers are able to focus on maintaining readiness” (Ref. 313U).
“The very large PACEX '89 in the North Pacific involved the USN, Canadian Navy, Japanese Maritime Self-Defence Force, and ROK Navy. At the end of Exercise PACEX '89 a 54 ship formation was assembled for photos. It included the flagship, USS Blue Ridge (LCC-19), the USS Enterprise (CVN-65) Battle Group, the USS Carl Vinson (CVN-70) Battle Group, two battleship surface action groups formed around the USS New Jersey (BB-62) and USS Missouri (BB-63), and a Japanese Maritime Self-Defence Force ” (Ref. 313G).
“Other operations undertaken since include participation in the Alaskan Oil Spill Joint Task Force, including participation of Commander, Amphibious Group Three, as deputy CJTF. This was the defence response to the Exxon Valdez oil spill of March 1989. Also, the Pacific Fleet was involved in Joint Task Force Philippines during the December 1989 coup attempt there, which involved two carrier battle groups, USS Midway (CV-41) and USS Enterprise (CVN-65)-with their associated air wings operating in the Philippine Sea, chopped to JTF Philippines. During the operations, the carriers maintained deck alerts and 24-hour coverage of Manila with E-2C aircraft” (Ref. 313G & 313O).
“On August 4, 1990, Pacific Fleet Navy and Marine Corps forces began deploying to the Persian Gulf and North Arabian Sea in support of Operation Desert Shield. More than 50 Pacific Fleet ships, including the USS Independence (CV-62), USS Midway (CV-41), USS Ranger (CV-61) and USS Missouri (BB-63) battle groups and approximately 20 amphibious ships were ultimately deployed. The ships and personnel were initially used to support economic sanctions set up against Iraq after it invaded Kuwait” (Ref. 313V).
“This marked the first United States Navy visit to the Soviet Union's Pacific port of Vladivostok since before World War II. Before the visit was completed, the crew received word that their Pacific cruise was canceled. They returned to Long Beach and joined the USS Ranger (CV-61) Battle Group preparing to deploy to the Persian Gulf” (Ref. 313G).
“Operation Desert Storm began January 16, 1991, the day after Iraq failed to meet the deadline to leave Kuwait” (Ref. 313V).
“Ships of the USS Tarawa (LHA-1) Amphibious Ready Group (ARG) demonstrated the flexibility of naval forces in May 1991. While returning from combat duty in the Persian Gulf, the Tarawa ARG served as the centerpiece of humanitarian relief operations in cyclone-devastated Bangladesh. In the summer of 1991, Seventh Fleet ships converged on the Philippines to evacuate U.S. military and families after the eruption of Mount Pinatubo” (Ref. 313V & 313W).
“During Operation Fiery Vigil in June 1991, the following vessels participated in the sealift phase of the evacuation: the Lincoln battle group (COMCARGRU 3 embarked): USS Abraham Lincoln (CVN-72), USS Long Beach (CGN-9), USS Lake Champlain, USS Merrill, USS Gary, USS Ingraham, USS Roanoke, Amphibious Ready Group Alpha (COMPHIBRON 3 embarked): USS Peleliu (LHA-5), USS Cleveland, USS Comstock, USS Bristol County, and a large number of other vessels: USS Midway, USS Curts, USS Rodney M. Davis, USS Thach, USS Arkansas, USS McClusky, USS St. Louis, USS San Bernardino, MV 1st Lt Lummus, MV American Condor, USS Niagara Falls, USNS Ponchatoula, USNS Passumpsic, USNS Hassayampa, USS Haleakala, USNS Spica, USS Cape Cod (CNA, 1994, 113)” (Ref. 313G).
“Other contingency operation after 1991 included Operation Sea Angel (Bangladesh relief) (led by Commander III Marine Expeditionary Force), Operation Eastern Exit, and involvement in the Somali Civil War – “Restore Hope.” During 'Restore Hope,' Navy command arrangements underwent a number of changes during the operation. At the start, the principal naval forces were the Ranger battle group (with Commander, Carrier Group One embarked on USS Ranger (CV-61) as Commander, Naval Forces), the Kitty Hawk battle group, an amphibious task unit including USS Tripoli (LPH-10), USS Juneau, USS Rushmore, and MV Lummus, and three ships from MPSRON TWO (MV Anderson, MV Bonnyman, and MV Phillips)” (Ref. 313G).
“During Operation “Restore Hope,” the humanitarian effort to end starvation in Somalia, Naval forces provided essential support from the sea. Naval forces also continued vital presence operations in the volatile Persian Gulf region” (Ref. 313W).
“Further operations included JTF Marianas (August-September 1992) and JTF Hawaii (September-October 1992)” (Ref. 313G).
“During Operation Restore Hope in 1992-93, USS Rushmore (LSD-47) spearheaded a joint task force landing to provide humanitarian aid to drought-stricken Somalia” (Ref. 313V).
“Other events led to the departure of the carriers and, as a result, Commander, Naval Forces responsibilities devolved first to Commander, Carrier Group Three, on USS Kitty Hawk (CV-63), and thence to Commander, Amphibious Group Three. Finally Commander, Amphibious Squadron 3 became COMNAVFOR on 15 January 1994 with the departure of COMPHIGRU THREE after the completion of the MPF offload (CNA, 1994, 168)” (Ref. 313G).
“Naval forces also continued vital presence operations in the volatile Persian Gulf region, supporting Operation Southern Watch, which controlled and monitored airspace over Southern Iraq” (Ref. 313V).
The US Navy acronym for a destroyer squadron is DESRON; it comprises three or more destroyers or frigates. It is not generally an operational unit, but is responsible for training, equipping and administering of its ships. A mixed unit including destroyers is the cruiser-destroyer group. The officer in command of DESRON SIX, for example, is designated Commander Destroyer Squadron Six, COMDESRON SIX for short.
“DESRON is the USN abbreviation for Destroyer Squadron. A DESRON usually consists of three or more Destroyers or Frigates. A CRUDESRON is a Cruiser Destroyer Squadron and includes cruisers in the ships under its control. In the USN, a DESRON is not generally an operational unit but responsible for training, equipping and administering of the ships under its umbrella. The officer in command of DESRON SIX is designated COMDESRON SIX or Commander Destroyer Squadron Six.
Several DESRONs or CRUDESRONs may be organised into a Destroyer Group (DESGRU) or Cruiser Destroyer Group (CRUDESGRU). The overall responsibility for surface warships on the west coast of the USA is taken by the Commander Surface Force, Pacific Fleet (COMSURFPAC).
When deployed, a Cruiser-Destroyer Group Commander is normally assigned as the operational commander of a Carrier Battle Group (CVBG).
When a DESRON deploys, for instance as part of a Carrier Battle Group, overall command is transferred to the Naval Component Commander of the local Regional Command (eg. COMNAVCENT or Commander US Naval Forces, Central Command)” (Ref. 685 & 686).
“Effective Oct. 1, 1995 the U.S. Pacific Fleet's surface ships were to be reorganized into six core battle groups and eight destroyer squadrons. Permanent core battle groups were to include a battle group commander, aircraft carrier, carrier air wing and at least two cruisers. The following ship assignment changes will apply (shore command changes were listed in the July 18 issue of The Sun)” (Ref. 313G & 313Q):
List of Destroyer and Cruiser Destroyer Squadrons
U.S. Pacific Fleet
Destroyer Squadron 1 (Pacific Fleet) - The Squadron's combat mission is to support the Operational Commander (currently Carrier Strike Group One) in achieving optimum combat readiness for his ships and to ensure adherence to Type Commander requirements. The Commander of Destroyer Squadron One directs, oversees, and assists the ships of the squadron in achieving and maintaining the highest level of material, operational and personnel readiness. When required, COMDESRON-1 exercises command over ships assigned for naval operations in order to achieve sea and air control in pursuit of national objectives. He functions as Immediate Superior in Command (ISIC) for the squadron's ships and prepare them for sustained combat operations at sea” (Ref. 942). ISIC duties include:
Preparing squadron ships for assignment to operational commanders as directed by the Commander, Naval Surface Forces Pacific Fleet and the Commander, U.S. Third Fleet. Maintaining ISIC responsibilities throughout the life cycle of the ship, regardless of location or operational control, except in circumstances where otherwise directed” (Ref. 685F).
· Destroyer Squadron 7 - DESRON 7 operated in the Atlantic and Pacific during World War Two, and it subsequently saw service in the Korean War, the Vietnam War, and the 1990–91 Persian Gulf War. The squadron is administratively responsible to Commander, Naval Surface Forces Pacific, and it was operationally part of Carrier Strike Group Seven until the group was disestablished on 30 December 2011 (685I)” (Ref. 685H).
· Destroyer Squadron 9 (Pacific) Commander, Destroyer Squadron NINE directs, oversees and assists its Squadron Ships in achieving and maintaining the highest levels of material, operational and personnel readiness for the conduct of sustained naval operations; develops and formalizes doctrine, operational procedures, tactics and associated training requirements; and serves as the Sea Combat Commander and Maritime Interdiction Operations Commander within the assigned Carrier Task Group within THIRD, FIFTH and SEVENTH Fleets. The Squadron also performs the duties of Submarine Operating Coordination Authority and Helicopter Element Coordinator within a Carrier Task Group. Destroyer Squadron NINE was first formed in 1920. Homeported in Charleston, South Carolina, the Squadron consisted of 18 World War I "Four Pipers". In July 1921 the Squadron moved to Newport, Rhode Island where it operated until it was disestablished in May 1930. Destroyer Squadron NINE was reestablished in 1937 in the Pacific Fleet. In November 1942 the Squadron was homeported in Recife, Brazil where the Commodore was also assigned Station Commander. Destroyer Squadron NINE's mission was submarine hunting and patrol and escort duty, occasionally interspersed with brief flurries of action against German U-Boats. The squadron continued operations out of Recife until August 1944, at which time the Squadron was dissolved for a second time and its ships reassigned. Commander, Destroyer Squadron NINE deployed June 2000 to conduct the bilateral series of exercises called Cooperation Afloat Readiness and Training (CARAT). Embarked in USS GERMANTOWN (LSD-42), the Staff served as Officer in Tactical Command of a five-ship Task Group conducting exercises with the armed forces of the Republic of the Philippines, Thailand, Brunei, Malaysia, Singapore and Indonesia. Involving more than 1,800 U.S. military forces, the CARAT Task Group was headed by Commodore Joseph J. Natale, Commander, Destroyer Squadron Nine, homeported at Naval Station Everett, Wash. The Desron Nine staff embarked USS Germantown (LSD-42), forward-deployed to Sasebo, Japan, for the duration of the exercise. Other ships in the task group include USS Mount Vernon (LSD-39) and USS Sides (FFG-14), both homeported in San Diego; USS Reuben James (FFG-57), homeported in Pearl Harbor, Hawaii; and USS Safeguard (ARS-50), forward-deployed to Sasebo, Japan. USS Columbus (SSN-762), homeported in Pearl Harbor, Hawaii, and USS Helena (SSN-725), homeported in San Diego, also joined the task group in individual phases” (Ref. 685J).
· Destroyer Squadron 15 (Pacific) - FIFTEEN was re-designated Destroyer Squadron FIVE in 1931. Following the declaration of war in 1941, Destroyer Squadron FIFTEEN was again commissioned and fought in the battles for North Africa and Sicily. Additionally, the squadron participated in 19 round-trip convoy crossings of the Atlantic during the war. In 1945, the squadron converted to Destroyer Minesweepers (DMS), and was re-designated MINERON 21. Reactivated in 1946 for service with the Pacific Fleet through 1949, the squadron was briefly disestablished during 1950. However, the squadron was again commissioned for service late in the same year following the outbreak of the Korean War and continues in commission today. DESRON FIFTEEN is the Navy's only forward deployed Destroyer Squadron and is responsible for the readiness, tactical and administrative responsibilities for seven Arleigh Burke Class Destroyers. The Destroyer Squadron Commodore serves as the Immediate Superior in Command (ISIC) of the ships assigned to the squadron. DESRON FIFTEEN ships are the principal surface forces of Battle Force Seventh Fleet in the Western Pacific and Indian Oceans. In addition to duties as ISIC for the seven ships assigned to the squadron, the DESRON FIFTEEN staff also deploys with the George Washington Carrier Strike Group (CSG). During these deployments, the Commodore serves as Sea Combat Commander (SCC) for the CSG. The SCC responsibilities include Surface Warfare Commander (SUWC), Anti Submarine Warfare Commander (ASWC), Maritime Intercept Operations Coordinator (MIO), Mine Warfare Coordinator (MIW), and Submarine Operational Controlling Authority (SOCA) (responsible for coordinating employment of attack submarines assigned to the CSG). DESRON FIFTEEN has additional assignments in the Seventh Fleet as the Maritime Counter - Special Operations Force Commander (MCSOF), Strike Force ASW Commander (SFASWC) and Deputy Ballistic Missile Defense Commander (BMDC)” (Ref. 685N).
· Destroyer Squadron 21 (Pacific) - Organized March 1, 1943 as a squadron, the officers and crew rapidly developed an 'sprit de corps' knowing that they had been and were going to continue leading the new 2100-ton Fletcher class destroyers into surface engagements. In October 1943, the squadron was ordered north to the Central Pacific to join the fast carrier task forces in the Gilbert and Marshall Islands campaigns with a future leading role in the victorious entrance into Tokyo Bay for the Japanese surrender. Through these years at war, the ships of Squadron Twenty-One left a "legacy of courage and fighting skill." This inspiration combined with a description of the formation and early World War II history of the squadron resulted in the present squadron insignia: a Rampant Lion with a trident, sweeping the seas beneath the Southern Cross and the motto "Solomons Onward." Destroyer Squadron Twenty-One's proud history began in March, 1943, when the first ships of the then-new Fletcher class, having been deployed to Guadalcanal in the southwestern Pacific's Solomon Islands, were organized as Destroyer Squadron Twenty One, part of Admiral William F. Halsey's Third Fleet. Today, the Squadron is continuously active with the John C. Stennis Strike Group. The Rampant Lions of Destroyer Squadron Twenty-One are proud of their heritage and of their vital, current, and future roles in support of our nation's worldwide maritime interests and responsibilities” (Ref. 685Q).
· Destroyer Squadron 23 (Pacific) - Destroyer Squadron 23 was activated May 11, 1943 at the Boston Navy Yard, with Captain M.J. Gilliam in command. The original vessels of the squadron were USS Foote (DD-511), USS Charles Ausburne (DD-570), USS Spence (DD-512), USS Aulick (DD-569), USS Claxton (DD-571), USS Dyson (DD-572), USS Converse (DD-509) and USS Thatcher (DD-514). On June 29, 1943, Destroyer Squadron 23 became part of Admiral William F. Halsey's Third Fleet. Less USS Aulick, Destroyer Squadron 23 assumed duty on patrol and escort in the Southwest Pacific. Destroyer Squadron 23 earned its reputation—and a Presidential Unit Citation—under its second commodore, Captain Arleigh Burke, who assumed command on October 23, 1943. On November 24, 1943, during the Battle of Cape St. George, the squadron engaged six enemy destroyers. In what has been described by tacticians as "near perfect surface actions", the squadron sank four enemy destroyers, and damaged two, one badly, without injury to themselves. In the period November 1943- February 1944, the Little Beavers fought in 22 separate engagements and were credited with destroying one Japanese cruiser, nine destroyers, one submarine, several smaller ships, and approximately 30 aircraft. Destroyer Squadron 23's operations in the Pacific continued through the Liberation of the Philippines. The squadron returned to the United States on October 19, 1945 and were presented the Presidential Unit Citation by Admiral Burke and Secretary of the Navy James Forrestal. In February 1946, the squadron was inactivated and the ships were sent to Charleston, South Carolina for lay-up. On April 4, 1956, the squadron was reactivated as Destroyer Division 231 under the command of Captain E. K. Wakefield, with USS Picking (DD-685), USS Stephen Potter (DD-538), USS Preston (DD-795), and USS Irwin (DD-794). The squadron was rededicated as the "Little Beavers" on December 12, 1956 by Rear Admiral Chester Wood, Commander Cruiser Destroyer Force, U.S. Pacific Fleet in ceremonies at Long Beach, California.USS McClusky (FFG-41) was part of the squadron in 1986. Destroyer Squadron 23 is a flotilla of United States Navy destroyers and frigates based out of San Diego, California”(Ref. 685S).
· Destroyer Squadron 31 (Pacific) - DESTROYER SQUADRON 31 first appeared in the Organization List of the United States Navy in September 1939. During World War II, COMDESRON 31 ships saw duty as members of the Northeastern Escort Force in Atlantic Fleet convoy escort operations. One squadron ship, USS TRUXTIN (DD 229) was credited with the first sighting of an enemy submarine in the “Short-of-War” period just prior to World War II. On 31 October 1941, another squadron ship, USS REUBEN JAMES (DDG 245) became the first U.S. warship lost to enemy action during World War II when she was torpedoed by a German U-Boat while on convoy escort operations. Disestablished in San Diego, California following World War II, COMDESRON 31 remained inactive until 01 February 1968, when the squadron was reactivated as a unit of the Seventh Fleet operating in waters off Southeast Asia. Deactivated again in early 1970, the squadron was reactivated for a second time on 15 June 1971 and has remained on continuous active duty since then. On 01 September 1985, COMDESRON 31 was designated as the Pacific Fleet Ant-Submarine Warfare (ASW) Squadron and was tasked with enhancing inoperability between U.S. and allied forces. It served as the core for ASW training and has fostered ASW tactical development. While no longer acting as the Pacific Fleet ASW squadron, COMDESRON 31 remains the ASW Surface Component Commander for Commander, ASW Forces Pacific, and is the Fleet Project Team Leader for the Computer Aided Dead Reckoning Tracer (CADRT) Program. COMDESRON 31 shifted homeport to its current location in Pearl Harbor, Hawaii in 1991. COMDESRON 31 is the immediate superior in command (ISIC) for the USS RUSSELL (DDG 59), USS PAUL HAMILTON (DDG 60), USS HOPPER (DDG 70), USS O’KANE (DDG 77), USS CHAFEE (DDG 90), USS CHUNG-HOON (DDG 93), USS CROMMELIN (FFG 37) and USS REUBEN JAMES (FFG 57). As ISIC, COMDESRON 31 is responsible for the direct oversight of the training, maintenance and readiness of these eight surface combatants” (Ref. 685Y).
“From April 1, 1962, Cruiser-Destroyer forces in the Atlantic and Pacific Fleets were organized in Cruiser-Destroyer Flotillas (CRUDESFLOTs). These formations included Cruiser-Destroyer Flotilla One in the Pacific (included Parks), Cruiser-Destroyer Flotilla Three at Long Beach in the Pacific (commanded for a time by Rear Admiral Draper Kauffman), Cruiser-Destroyer Flotilla Two in the Atlantic (included Yosemite), Cruiser-Destroyer Flotilla Four in the Atlantic, which supplied ships for the Task Force Alfa antisubmarine experiment and had USS Shenandoah (AD-26) as flagship for a time. Cornelius S. Snodgrass served as chief of staff for CRUDESFLOT 4 before his retirement in 1974. Cruiser-Destroyer Flotilla Six in the Atlantic (flagship at one point USS Macdonough (DDG-39) and included Yellowstone). Cruiser-Destroyer Flotilla Six included Destroyer Squadron Four with USS Johnson in 1971, seemingly home-ported at the Charleston Naval Base. Cruiser-Destroyer Flotilla Seven was homeported at San Diego, commanded by Admiral Waldemar F. A. Wendt from April 1962, with concurrent duty as Commander, Cruiser-Destroyer Force, Pacific, October-November 1961. CRUDESFLOT SEVEN was also commanded at one point by then Rear Admiral Elmo Zumwalt. In December 1969, Admiral Robert S. Salzer assumed command of Cruiser Destroyer Flotilla 3. Salzar assumed command of Cruiser Destroyer Flotilla 7 in September 1970, and after the disestablishment of that formation on 16 March 1971 returned to command of Cruiser Destroyer Flotilla 3. Other flotillas included Cruiser-Destroyer Flotilla Eight in the Atlantic, which at one point included Destroyer Squadron Twenty-Two, Cruiser-Destroyer Flotilla Nine in the Pacific, Cruiser-Destroyer Flotilla Eleven in the Pacific (with DesDiv 152, DesRon 15?), and Cruiser-Destroyer Flotillas Ten and Twelve in the Atlantic. On 30 June 1973 Cruiser-Destroyer Flotillas were redesignated Cruiser-Destroyer Groups (CRUDESGRUs). The overall responsibility for surface warships on the west coast of the USA is taken by the Commander, Naval Surface Forces Pacific (COMNAVSURFPAC); on the east coast, the same responsibility rests with the Commander, Naval Surface Forces Atlantic (COMSURFLANT). Previously under this system, when deployed, a Cruiser-Destroyer Group Commander would normally have been assigned to command a Carrier Battle Group (CVBG). Cruiser-Destroyer Groups were superseded by Carrier strike groups from 1 October 2004.
When a destroyer squadron deploys, for instance as part of a Carrier Strike Group, overall command is transferred to the Naval Component Commander of the local Regional Command (e.g. COMNAVCENT or Commander US Naval Forces, Central Command). Formerly, as during World War II, a full-strength DesRon (as it was abbreviated at the time) comprised two Destroyer Divisions or DesDivs of four ships each, plus a squadron flagship; these were operational as well as administrative units” (Ref. 685):
List of cruiser-destroyer groups – Ref. 937
U.S. Pacific Fleet
· Cruiser-Destroyer Group 1 or ComCruDesGru 1 (redesignated Carrier Strike Group Fifteen on 1 October 2004)/USS Constellation Battle Group: USS Lake Erie and USS Chosin)/ USS Carl Vinson (CVN-70); DESRON-1; Carrier Air Wing Seventeen; NAS North Island.
· Cruiser-Destroyer Group 3 or ComCruDesGru 3 (former CruDesFlot 11//USS Abraham Lincoln Battle Group: USS Princeton and USS Chancellorsville)/USS Carl Vinson Battle Group: USS Shiloh, USS California and USS Arkansas) Carrier Strike Group Three (formerly CarGru 3); USS John C. Stennis (CVN-74); DESRON-21; Carrier Air Wing Nine; Naval Base Kitsap.
· Cruiser-Destroyer Group 5 or ComCruDesGru 5 (former CruDesFlot 9/Nimitz, the guided-missile cruiser Princeton, and Destroyer Squadron 23)/USS Kitty Hawk Battle Group: USS Cowpens and USS Antietam). Commander Carrier Group Five/ Carrier Strike Group 5, (CSG-5 or CARSTRKGRU 5), is a U.S. Navy carrier strike group assigned to the Pacific Fleet operating with the 7th Fleet forward Deployed. The aircraft carrier USS George Washington (CVN-73) is the group's flagship(former /USS Independence Battle Group: USS Bunker Hill and USS Mobile Bay). As of 2012, other group components include Carrier Air Wing Five, USS Shiloh (CG 67), USS Cowpens (CG 63), and the ships of Destroyer Squadron 15.. The group is based at U.S. Fleet Activities Yokosuka, Yokosuka, Japan; a U.S. carrier has been based there since 1973. The group also fulfills the functions of Battle Force, Seventh Fleet (Task Force 70) and Surface Combatant Force, Seventh Fleet (Task Force 75). http://www.ccsg5.navy.mil
“Carrier Strike Group Four was redesignated alongside the other groups in 2004, but has since been redesignated Commander Strike Force Training Atlantic. Carrier Strike Group Six was established from Carrier Group Six with USS John F. Kennedy (CV-67) at Naval Station Mayport in 2004, but seems to have since been disestablished. Carrier Strike Group Fifteen has been disestablished, and its flagship, the carrier Ronald Reagan, was re-assigned to Carrier Strike Group Seven” (Ref. 937).
“On 1 August 2011, the U.S. Navy announced that Carrier Strike Group Nine will change its permanent duty station from Naval Station Everett to Naval Base San Diego effective 14 December 2012. The aircraft carrier USS Ronald Reagan (CVN-76) will be re-assigned as the flagship for Carrier Strike Group Nine following the de-activation of Carrier Strike Group Seven. Abraham Lincoln will shift its homeport from Everett, Washington, to Newport News, Virginia, for its Refueling and Complex Overhaul in August 2012” (Ref. 937 & 937A).
“The deactivation of Carrier Strike Group Seven effective 30 December 2011 reflects the U.S. Navy's future budgetary reductions and the reduced availability of its operational carrier fleet and carrier air wings” (Ref. 937; 937C & 937D).
“In 1996 two carrier battle groups were sent to the Taiwan area during the Third Taiwan Straits Crisis. Later ships of the Pacific Fleet, notably the Ticonderoga-class cruiser USS Mobile Bay (CG-53) provided support to the entry of INTERFET in East Timor in 1999” (Ref. 313G).
“In December 1998, ships of the USS Carl Vinson (CVN-70) Carrier Battle Group and Carrier Air Wing 11 participated in Operation Desert Fox, striking key military targets in Iraq with a combination of attack aircraft and cruise missiles, launched from USS Antietam (CG-54), USS Princeton (CG-59), USS Paul Hamilton (DDG-60) and other Pacific Fleet ships” (Ref. 313V).
“Between 25–27 March 2006, Carrier Strike Group Nine participated in a series of anti-submarine warfare exercises (ASW) in Hawaiian waters while en route to the U.S. Seventh Fleet's area of responsibility. In addition to the strike group, the exercise also included the nuclear-powered attack submarines Seawolf, Cheyenne, Greeneville, Tucson, and Pasadena, as well as land-based P-3 Orion aircraft from Commander Patrol and Reconnaissance Wing 2 and associated patrol squadrons VP-4, VP-9, and VP-47” (Ref. 313G; 313R & 313S).
“Following the terrorist attacks on New York and Washington, D.C., on Sept. 11, 2001, Pacific Fleet units again answered the call. On October 7, less than a month after the attack, aircraft from USS Carl Vinson (CVN-70) and surface ships conducted the first strikes on terrorist strongholds in Afghanistan, launching Operation Enduring Freedom. The following year, dozens of Pacific Fleet ships served in the Arabian Sea, including USS Kitty Hawk (CV-63), USS Constellation (CV-64), USS John C. Stennis (CVN-74) and USS Abraham Lincoln (CVN-72).
In January 2003, the Pacific Fleet deployed a seven-ship Amphibious Task Force West, led by USS Boxer (LHD-4) and USS Bonhomme Richard (LHD-6), to the U.S. Central Command. In February, the Pacific Fleet also deployed the USS Kitty Hawk Battle Group there, to serve alongside the USS Abraham Lincoln and USS Constellation battle groups in Operation Iraqi Freedom. More recently, the Pacific Fleet has taken a larger role in providing humanitarian relief throughout the region. USS Abraham Lincoln helped victims of the Dec. 26, 2004, tsunami that devastated coastal areas from Indonesia to Africa. That operation led the U.S. Pacific Fleet to establish Pacific Partnership, an annual humanitarian assistance initiative that provides medical, dental, veterinary, engineering and agricultural civic action programs throughout Southeast Asia and the South Pacific to promote interoperability between host nations and partner nations. Pacific Partnership promotes sustainable improvements in the quality of life for the citizens of host nations while improving the partner nations' collective ability to respond to a natural disaster” (Ref. 313V).
“Indonesians from the village of Tjalang, Sumatra, Indonesia, rush towards a SH-60 Seahawk helicopter, assigned to Helicopter Anti-Submarine Squadron 2, as the helicopter touches down to drop off food supplies, Jan. 8, 2005. Helicopters assigned to Carrier Air Wing 2 and sailors from the aircraft carrier USS Abraham Lincoln are supporting Operation Unified Assistance, the humanitarian effort in the wake of the tsunami that struck Southeast Asia. (U.S. Navy photo by Petty Officer 2nd Class Philip A McDaniel)
“More recently, the Pacific Fleet has taken a larger role in providing humanitarian relief throughout the region. USS Abraham Lincoln helped victims of the December 26, 2004, tsunami that devastated coastal areas from Indonesia to Africa. That operation led the U.S. Pacific Fleet to establish Pacific Partnership, an annual humanitarian assistance initiative that provides medical, dental, veterinary, engineering and agricultural civic action programs throughout Southeast Asia and the South Pacific to promote interoperability between host nations and partner nations. Pacific Partnership promotes sustainable improvements in the quality of life for the citizens of host nations while improving the partner nations' collective ability to respond to a natural disaster.
In 2006, USNS Mercy (T-AH-19) visited the Philippines, Bangladesh, Indonesia and Timor-Leste (East Timor), providing much-needed medical service to thousands of people in those nations. In 2007, USS Peleliu (LHA-5) deployed on a similar Pacific Partnership mission, providing medical and dental services as well as engineering work in the Philippines, Vietnam, the Solomon Islands, the Marshall Islands and Papua New Guinea. In 2008, as part of the Maritime Strategy, USNS Mercy returned to Pacific Partnership for a humanitarian/civic assistance mission to the Philippines, Vietnam, the Federated States of Micronesia, Timor-Leste and Papua New Guinea.
In 2009, USNS Richard E. Byrd (T-AKE 4) traveled for the first time to Samoa, Tonga and Kiribati and returned for a second visit to the Solomon Islands and the Republic of the Marshall Islands, staying in each country for 10 to 14 days to deliver a variety of medical, dental, veterinary, preventive health, engineering and community relations programs. In 2010, Pacific Partnership again involved USNS Mercy, which visited Vietnam, Cambodia, Indonesia and Timor-Leste. Visits by USS Blue Ridge (LCC-19) at Palau and HMAS Tobruk at Rabaul, Papua New Guinea, were also part of Pacific Partnership 2010.
The amphibious transport dock ship USS Cleveland (LPD-7), served as the operation platform for the Pacific Partnership 2011 mission, which included visits to Tonga, Vanuatu, Papua New Guinea, Timor-Leste and the Federated States of Micronesia. Over the years, Pacific Partnership missions have included personnel and units and civilian volunteers from many other nations.
In March 2011, the Pacific Fleet led U.S. support for Japan in the wake of the devastating 9.0 earthquake and subsequent tsunami that destroyed much of the Tohoku region. The U.S. military engaged in two dynamic operations focused on assisting the government of Japan and Japan Self Defense Forces: humanitarian assistance and disaster response as part of Operation Tomodachi and closely monitoring events related to the Fukushima nuclear power plant in order to provide consequence management assistance if requested. More than 20,000 personnel, 140 aircraft, and 20 ships from the U.S. military were involved in Operation Tomodachi” (Ref. 313V).
Assigned to Naval Air Facility Misawa (NAFM), Chief Naval Air Crewmen Kyle Wilkinson of Baldwinsville, N.Y. assists in removing debris during a cleanup effort at the Misawa Fishing Port. Approximately 92 Sailors from NAFM volunteered in the relief effort, assisting Misawa City employees and members of the local community. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Devon Dow)
“In May 2011, U.S. Pacific Fleet's USS Carl Vinson (CVN-70), completing a deployment in support of U.S. Central Command, buried Osama bin Laden at sea after the mastermind of the Sept. 11, 2001, terror attacks on America was killed in a Navy SEAL raid.
Today the Pacific Fleet remains the world's largest naval command, extending from the West Coast of the United States, into the Indian Ocean, encompassing three oceans, six continents, and more than half the Earth's surface.
The approximately 180 ships and submarines, 1,500 aircraft, and 140,000 Sailors and civilians of the Pacific Fleet continue to be a credibly led, combat-ready and surge-ready Fleet prepared in peace, crisis or war. The U.S. Pacific Fleet is a purposeful presence, building trust and cooperation with our partners to advance Asia-Pacific regional security and prosperity” (Ref. 313V).
“As of 2012, the Pacific Fleet consists of the numbered Third and Seventh Fleets, as well as Naval Air Force, Pacific; Commander, Naval Surface Forces Pacific and Naval Submarine Force, Pacific. The naval shore commands Commander Naval Forces Korea; Commander Naval Forces Japan; and Commander Naval Forces Marianas are also under the authority of the Pacific Fleet” (Ref. 313G).
“The top leadership post in the U.S. Pacific Fleet has borne four different titles since the fleet was established in February 1941. Thirty-three naval officers have been in command, and are listed here in reverse chronological order” (Ref. 313W):
U.S. 3rd Fleet
“The 3rd Fleet took over the duties of 1st Fleet and the Pacific Anti-Submarine Warfare Force, and the fleet is responsible for naval activities in the eastern and northern Pacific Ocean. The main task of the Third Fleet is to patrol and to control the waters of the central and eastern Pacific. In peacetime the Third Fleet has no ARG and the carriers in the area are on their way to the Seventh Fleet or conduct training cruises after an overhaul for example” (Ref. 313D).
Third Fleet (COMTHIRDFLEET)
“Third Fleet is one of five numbered fleets in the U.S. Navy. The Second and Sixth Fleets serve in the Atlantic and Mediterranean, respectively. The Pacific Fleet is composed of the Third and Seventh Fleets. Seventh Fleet units serve throughout the western Pacific and Indian Ocean region, while Fifth Fleet units serve throughout the Persian Gulf and Middle East.
Naval forces trained by the Third Fleet Commander normally deploy to the Western Pacific/Indian Ocean for duty with Commander, Seventh Fleet and to the Arabian Gulf region for duty in support of Commander, U.S. Naval Forces Central Command. Forces certified as "ready to deploy" at the conclusion of Third Fleet training depart fully prepared to face the full range of missions from humanitarian and peacekeeping operations to full engagement in major regional conflicts.
Third Fleet's area of responsibility includes approximately fifty million square miles of the eastern and northern Pacific ocean areas including the Bering Sea, Alaska, the Aleutian Islands and a sector of the Arctic. Major oil and trade sea lines of communication within this area are critically important to the economic health of the United States and friendly nations throughout the Pacific Rim region.
The U.S. Third Fleet is assigned a number of missions and responsibilities. Third Fleet's primary mission is one of conflict deterrence, but in the event of general war, it would conduct prompt and sustained combat operations at sea to carry out the U.S. Pacific Fleet strategy in the theater. Such operations would be executed well forward and early in a conflict to carry out the primary wartime mission of Third Fleet -- the defense of the western sea approaches to the United States, including Alaska and the Aleutian Islands.
In addition, Commander, Third Fleet is designated as a Joint Task Force (JTF) Commander. In that capacity, the Commander and his staff may be assigned responsibilities for command of joint U.S. forces deployed in response to a specific event or contingency. As such, the JTF Commander reports via a joint chain of command to a unified commander. The Commander-In-Chief, U.S. Pacific Command is the unified commander in the Pacific theater.
In peacetime, Third Fleet continually trains Navy and Marine Corps forces for their expeditionary warfare mission. In keeping with the Department of the Navy strategic concept "Forward... from the Sea," these forces provide the flexibility and immediate response necessary to react to any emerging crisis from humanitarian and peacekeeping missions to major regional conflicts. These forces are prepared to provide the critical first response in a transition between peacetime operations and escalating regional tensions. If required, these forces carry the power and capabilities necessary to establish and hold an initial foothold to allow larger joint operations to follow on a large scale in the event a major conflict ensues. Finally, when the conflict is resolved, those naval expeditionary forces remain on the scene to help shape the peace and ensure compliance. Third Fleet training has been designed to ensure that deploying forces are fully prepared for joint operations. All training is conducted within a joint environment - employing joint terminology, doctrine, procedures, command and control - to ensure that forces are ready to join with other branches of the U.S. armed forces under a joint command structure” (Ref. 313D1).
“The Third Fleet was originally formed during World War II on 15 March 1943 under the command of Admiral William F. “Bull” Halsey, and was responsible for much of the campaigning in the Pacific in World War II and the fleet responsible for naval activities in the eastern and northern Pacific Ocean.
He opened his headquarters ashore in Pearl Harbor, Hawaii was established on 15 June 1944. Admiral Husband E. Kimmel was in command of the Pacific Fleet and Admiral Bloch commanded the local Naval District at Pearl at the time of the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor” (Ref. 313D; 313D1 & 313D2).
“The fleet operated in and around the Solomon Islands, the Philippines, Taiwan, Okinawa and the Ryukyu Islands with the USS New Jersey and, from May 1945 to the end of the war, the USS Missouri as its flagship. It also operated in Japanese waters launching attacks on Tokyo, the naval base at Kure and the island of Hokkaidō as well as bombardments of several Japanese coastal cities” (Ref. 313D & 313D2).
“Embarked aboard his flagship Missouri, Admiral Halsey led his fleet into Tokyo Bay on 29 August 1945. On 2 September, the documents of surrender of the Japanese Empire ending the war were signed on her decks. Third Fleet remained in Japanese waters until late September when its ships were directed to sail for the West Coast of the United States. On 7 October 1945 Third Fleet was designated a reserve fleet and decommissioned from active status” (Ref. 313D; 313D1 & 313D2).
“On 1 February 1973, following a reorganization of the Pacific Fleet, the Third Fleet was recommissioned as an active fleet and assumed the duties of the former First Fleet and Pacific Anti-Submarine Warfare Force located at Ford Island, Hawaii. Third Fleet trains naval forces for overseas deployment and evaluates state-of-the-art technology for fleet use. Additionally, Third Fleet could deploy in the event of a major conflict” (Ref. 313D; 313D1 & 313D2).
The Third Fleet's area of responsibility during the 1980s
“On 26 November 1986, Commander, Third Fleet shifted his flag from his headquarters ashore to resume status as an afloat commander for the first time since World War II, aboard USS Coronado. In August 1991, Third Fleet’s commander, his staff and the command ship Coronado shifted homeports to San Diego, California. In September 2003, Commander, Third Fleet shifted his flag from the command ship Coronado to headquarters ashore at Point Loma, San Diego, California.
On February 1, 1973, following a reorganization of the Pacific Fleet, the United States Third Fleet was recommissioned as an active fleet and assumed the duties of the former First Fleet and Pacific Anti-Submarine Warfare Force located at Ford Island, Hawaii. Third Fleet trains naval forces for overseas deployment and evaluates state-of-the-art technology for fleet use. Additionally, Third Fleet could deploy in the event of a major conflict.
On November 26, 1986, Commander, Third Fleet shifted his flag from his headquarters ashore to resume status as an afloat commander for the first time since World War II, aboard USS CORONADO (AGF-11)” (Ref. 313D; 313D1 & 313D2).
In September, 2003, Commander, Third Fleet shifted his flag from the command ship USS Coronado (AGF-11) to headquarters ashore at Point Loma, San Diego, Calif.” (Ref. 313D2).
The Third Fleet's area of responsibility, 2009.
USS Ronald Reagan (CVN-76) - Fleet Activities Yokosuka, Japan - 64th C
“The naval review took place 9–12 June 2010, and it involved 21 naval ships and more than 8,000 naval personnel from Canada, France, Japan, Australia, New Zealand, and the United States” (Ref. 313D & 313D5).
“The primary means of carrying out Commander, Third Fleet missions are Nimitz class aircraft carriers in which USS Carl Vinson (CVN-70) and Carrier Strike Group One was the newest addition to the Third Fleet. Other west coast aircraft carriers:
USS Carl Vinson (CVN-70) - Carl Vinson departed Naval Air Station, North Island (NASNI), San Diego, California on 16 January 2019, for Kitsap, Bremerton, Washington, her new home port, arriving Kitsap, Bremerton, Washington on 20 January 2019, underway in the Eastern Pacific from 16 to 19 January 2019. Carl Vinson departed Kitsap, Bremerton, Washington on 28 February 2019 and entered the Dry Dock at Puget Sound Naval Shipyard and Intermediate Maintenance Facility for a 15-month Drydocking Planned Incremental Availability (DPIA) - 58th C
USS Theodore Roosevelt (CVN-71) - NASNI, San Diego, California - 59th C and Carrier Strike Group Nine.
“In addition, Commander, Third Fleet is designated as a Joint Task Force (JTF) commander. In that capacity, the commander and his staff may be assigned responsibilities for command of joint U.S. forces deployed in response to a specific event or contingency. As such, the JTF commander reports via a joint chain of command to a unified commander. Commander, U.S. Pacific Command is the unified commander in the Pacific theater.
In peacetime, Third Fleet continually trains Navy and Marine Corps forces for their expeditionary warfare mission. In keeping with the Department of the Navy strategic concept "Forward... from the Sea", these forces provide the flexibility and immediate response necessary to react to any emerging crisis from humanitarian and peacekeeping missions to major regional conflicts. These forces are prepared to provide the critical first response in a transition between peacetime operations and escalating regional tensions. If required, these forces carry the power and capabilities necessary to establish and hold an initial foothold to allow larger joint operations to follow on a large scale in the event a major conflict ensues.
Finally, when the conflict is resolved, those naval expeditionary forces remain on the scene to help shape the peace and ensure compliance. Third Fleet training has been designed to ensure that deploying forces are fully prepared for joint operations. All training is conducted within a joint environment—employing joint terminology, doctrine, procedures, command and control—to ensure that forces are ready to join with other branches of the Military under a joint command structure” (Ref. 313D).
Task force units
COMMANDER, ANTI-SUBMARINE WARFARE FORCE, U.S. THIRD FLEET (CTF-34/TASWC)
“The mission of Commander, Anti-Submarine Warfare Force THIRD Fleet is to execute CTF-34s theater Anti-Submarine Warfare role as CTF-34/TASWC and fulfill a training support role to plan and conduct theater ASW exercises and tactics to support Fleet training requirements and the Fleet ASW Improvement Program. CTF-34/TASWC provides tactical command and control of assigned ASW assets during operations and exercises” (Ref. 313D6).
“Commander Submarine Force, U.S. Pacific Fleet is the principal advisor to the Commander, U.S. Pacific Fleet for submarine matters. The Pacific Submarine Force (SUBPAC) includes attack, ballistic missile and auxiliary submarines, submarine tenders, floating submarine docks, deep submergence vehicles and submarine rescue vehicles throughout the Pacific.
The Force provides anti-submarine warfare, anti-surface ship warfare, precision land strike, mine warfare, intelligence, surveillance and early warning and special warfare capabilities to the U.S. Pacific and strategic deterrence capabilities to the U.S. Strategic Command.
The Force’s mission is to provide the training, logistical plans, manpower and operational plans and support and tactical development necessary to maintain the ability of the Force to respond to both peacetime and wartime demands.
The Pacific Submarine Force came to Hawaii in 1914 when four F-class boats were towed from San Francisco to Honolulu. They operated out of Honolulu Harbor until they were replaced by four K-class submarines that operated from Kuahua Island in Pearl Harbor from 1915-1917 when they were recalled to the mainland with America’s entry into World War I. Submarines returned to Hawaii in 1919 when six R-class boats arrived at Pearl Harbor. The inventory in Hawaii continued to grow and by the outset of World War II, 22 of the 51 American submarines in the Pacific were homeported at Pearl Harbor.
The Japanese surprise attack on Pearl Harbor decimated the surface fleet, but left the submarine force intact. It was up to submarines to take the fight to the enemy. By war’s end, submarines had supported all major fleet operations and made 488 war patrols. Pacific Fleet submarines accounted for 54 percent (5 million tons) of all enemy shipping sunk during the war. Success was costly. Fifty-two submarines with 374 officers and 3,131 enlisted men were lost and are considered to be still on patrol.
Submarine design and development moved ahead rapidly during the war and continued into the 1950s. In 1958, the era of nuclear power came to the Pacific Fleet with the arrival of USS Sargo. Nuclear power revolutionized submarine operations by combining improved operating capability with increased speed and remarkable endurance.
In 1959, the Navy commissioned USS George Washington, the first of 41 POLARIS ballistic missile submarines. These ships put strategic deterrence at sea in both the Atlantic and Pacific.
The next major change in submarine capabilities was in 1978 when USS Los Angeles joined PERMIT and STURGEON class ships operating in the Pacific.
In August 1982, America’s newest ballistic missile submarine, USS Ohio, arrived in the Pacific. Commonly referred to as TRIDENT submarines after the type of missile they carry, these ships are a follow-on to the POSEIDON ships. The TRIDENTS of SUBPAC operate out of their homeport of Bangor, Wa. The TRIDENT system is the most secure leg of America’s strategic triad, offering the ultimate in stealth technology; they are virtually undetectable in the opaque oceans of the world.
The evolution of submarines from purely sea-oriented weapons to multi-mission sea and land strike platforms makes them ideally suited to keep pace with a rapidly changing global mission, and they have become increasingly involved in response to regional tensions.
The speed, stealth, endurance and firepower of today’s nuclear submarines were demonstrated in 1991 during America’s participation in Operation Desert Shield and Operation Desert Storm. Used primarily as surveillance platforms, USS Chicago and USS Louisville operated in conjunction with Allied Naval Forces in the Red Sea. On January 19, 1991, USS Louisville made the transition from passive surveillance to active combatant, becoming the first submarine in history to launch a Tomahawk cruise missile against an enemy target.
A year and a half later, USS Louisville wrote another chapter in the history of submarine operations when in July 1992 she became the first attack submarine to work up and deploy with a carrier battle group in the Pacific. A few months later, USS Topeka deployed to waters new to submarine operations as she transited the Strait of Hormuz into the shallow waters of the Persian Gulf.
Throughout the rest of the 1990s, U.S. Pacific Fleet submarines were routinely operating independently and with aircraft carrier battle groups, surface combatants, amphibious ships and special operating forces and navies of other countries in deep and shallow waters throughout the Pacific, Indian and Arctic Oceans and the Arabian Gulf. However, submarine operations went from routine patrols to aggressive strike on August 20, 1998. Submarine and surface ships of the USS Abraham Lincoln Battle Group launched Tomahawk cruise missiles against Sudan and terrorist training camps in Afghanistan 13 days after terrorists bombed the U.S. embassies in Kenya and Tanzania. Then on December 16, 1998, USS Columbus (as part of the USS Carl Vinson Battle Group) participated in cruise missile attacks against military targets in Iraq in Operation Desert Fox.
Following the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks, USS Key West was within the Fifth Fleet Operating Area and was the first ship to arrive off the coast of Pakistan, firing Tomahawk cruise missiles into Afghanistan in support of Operation Enduring Freedom.
When Operation Iraqi Freedom commenced in March 2003, USS Cheyenne became the first U.S. warship to fire Tomahawk cruise missiles into Baghdad. Three other SUBPAC submarines, USS Louisville, USS Columbia, and USS Key West, also participated in the very successful strike mission responsible for the early successes of coalition forces.
The legacy of the Pacific Submarine Force, established in World War II, continues today. Armed with the finest ships in the world, manned by the most professional Sailors, the Pacific Submarine Force will continue to ensure America’s critical access to the world’s ocean trade routes, provide credible defense against any hostile maritime forces, and project power from the sea to the shore when needed” (Ref. 313D7).