United States Pacific Fleet

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United States Pacific Fleet
Seal of the Commander of the United States Pacific Fleet.svg
The seal of the Commander of the United States Pacific Fleet
Founded1907;112 years ago (1907)
CountryFlag of the United States.svg United States
BranchFlag of the United States Navy (official).svg  United States Navy
TypeTheater command
Size250,000 Navy sailors and Marines
2,000 aircraft
200 ships
Part of United States Indo-Pacific Command
Garrison/HQ Pearl Harbor Naval Base
Engagements World War II
Korean War
Vietnam War
Global War on Terrorism
Commanders
Current
commander
ADM John C. Aquilino
Notable
commanders
James O. Richardson
Husband E. Kimmel
Chester W. Nimitz
Raymond A. Spruance
Cecil D. Haney

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 Indo-Pacific Command. Fleet headquarters is at Pearl Harbor Naval Station, Hawaii, with large secondary facilities at North Island, San Diego Bay on the Mainland.

Pacific Ocean Ocean between Asia and Australia in the west, the Americas in the east and Antarctica or the Southern Ocean in the south.

The Pacific Ocean is the largest and deepest of Earth's oceanic divisions. It extends from the Arctic Ocean in the north to the Southern Ocean in the south and is bounded by Asia and Australia in the west and the Americas in the east.

United States Navy Naval warfare branch of the United States Armed Forces

The United States Navy (USN) is the naval warfare service branch of the United States Armed Forces and one of the seven uniformed services of the United States. It is the largest and most capable navy in the world and it has been estimated that in terms of tonnage of its active battle fleet alone, it is larger than the next 13 navies combined, which includes 11 U.S. allies or partner nations. with the highest combined battle fleet tonnage and the world's largest aircraft carrier fleet, with eleven in service, and two new carriers under construction. With 319,421 personnel on active duty and 99,616 in the Ready Reserve, the Navy is the third largest of the service branches. It has 282 deployable combat vessels and more than 3,700 operational aircraft as of March 2018, making it the second-largest air force in the world, after the United States Air Force.

United States Indo-Pacific Command Unified combatant command of the United States Armed Forces responsible for the Indo-Pacific region

United States Indo-Pacific Command (USINDOPACOM) is a unified combatant command of the United States Armed Forces responsible for the Indo-Pacific region. It is the oldest and largest of the unified combatant commands. Its commander, the senior U.S. military officer in the Pacific, is responsible for military operations in an area which encompasses more than 100 million square miles (260,000,000 km2), or roughly 52 percent of the Earth’s surface, stretching from the waters off the West Coast of the United States to the west coast of India, and from the Arctic to the Antarctic. The U.S. command is also responsible of protecting against an invasion of the United States through the state of Hawaii.

Contents

Origins

A Pacific Fleet was created in 1907 when the Asiatic Squadron and the Pacific Squadron were combined. In 1910, the ships of the First Squadron were organized back into a separate Asiatic Fleet. The General Order 94 of 6 December 1922 organized the United States Fleet, with the Battle Fleet as the Pacific presence. Until May 1940, the Battle Fleet was stationed on the west coast of the United States (primarily at San Diego). During the summer of that year, as part of the U.S. response to Japanese expansionism, it was instructed to take an "advanced" position at Pearl Harbor, Hawaii. Long term basing at Pearl Harbor was so strongly opposed by the commander, Admiral James O. Richardson, 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.

Asiatic Squadron

The Asiatic Squadron was a squadron of United States Navy warships stationed in East Asia during the latter half of the 19th century. It was created in 1868 when the East India Squadron was disbanded. Vessels of the squadron were primarily involved in matters relating to American commerce with China and Japan, though it participated in several conflicts over 34 years of service until becoming the Asiatic Fleet in 1902.

Pacific Squadron

The Pacific Squadron was part of the United States Navy squadron stationed in the Pacific Ocean in the 19th and early 20th centuries. Initially with no United States ports in the Pacific, they operated out of storeships which provided naval supplies and purchased food and obtained water from local ports of call in the Hawaiian Islands and towns on the Pacific Coast. Throughout the history of the Pacific Squadron, American ships fought against several enemies. Over one-half of the United States Navy would be sent to join the Pacific Squadron during the Mexican–American War. During the American Civil War, the squadron was reduced in size when its vessels were reassigned to Atlantic duty. When the Civil War was over, the squadron was reinforced again until being disbanded just after the turn of the 20th century.

The United States Fleet was an organization in the United States Navy from 1922 until after World War II. The acronym CINCUS, pronounced "sink us", was used for Commander in Chief, United States Fleet. This was replaced by COMINCH in December 1941, under Executive Order 8984, when it was redefined and given operational command over the Atlantic, Pacific, and Asiatic Fleets, as well as all naval coastal forces. Executive Order 9096 authorized the offices of the CNO and COMINCH to be held by a single officer; Admiral Ernest J. King was first to do so, and in 1944 was promoted to the five-star rank of fleet admiral.

The Pacific Fleet was formally recreated on 1 February 1941. On that day General Order 143 split the United States Fleet into separate Atlantic, Pacific, and Asiatic Fleets.

Composition of the Pacific Fleet in December 1941

USS Pennsylvania USS Pennsy BB-38 1934.jpg
USS Pennsylvania
USS Lexington USS Lexington (CV-2) launching Martin T4M torpedo planes, in 1931 (NH 82117).jpg
USS Lexington

On 7 December, the Fleet consisted of the Battle Force, Scouting Force, Base Force, Amphibious Force (ComPhibPac), [1] Cruiser Force (COMCRUPAC), Destroyer Force (COMDESPAC), and the Submarine Force (COMSUBPAC). [2] Also in Hawaii was the Fourteenth Naval District, commanded by Rear Admiral Claude C. Bloch.

ComPhibPac, also seen as COMPHIBPAC, was the official U.S. Navy abbreviation for "Commander, Amphibious Forces, Pacific Fleet."

Destroyer Force, United States Pacific Fleet, usually known as COMDESPAC, was a type command of the United States Pacific Fleet from 1940 until the Destroyer Force was combined with Cruisers, Pacific Fleet and in 1975 type command functions of both were transferred to Commander, Naval Surface Forces Pacific. The Pacific Fleet Destroyer Force comprised the Destroyers of the fleet (DD) operating in Pacific Fleet area of responsibility. The Commander, Destroyers, Pacific Fleet supervised the assignments, basing, maintenance of the destroyers, the training of crews and reported to the Commander in Chief, United States Pacific Fleet (CinCPac), on Destroyer operations.

COMSUBPAC principal advisor to the Commander, United States Pacific Fleet

Commander, Submarine Force, U.S. Pacific Fleet (COMSUBPAC) is the principal advisor to the Commander, United States Pacific Fleet (COMPACFLT) 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 Battle Force consisted of Battleships, Battle Force, made up of three Battleship Divisions:

COMBATPAC was the title, from 1922 to 1944, of the United States Navy officer who commanded the battleships of the larger United States Battle Fleet in the Pacific.

BatDiv

A BatDiv or BATDIV was a standard U.S. Navy abbreviation or acronym for "battleship division." The Commander of a Battleship Division was known, in official Navy communications, as COMBATDIV, such as COMBATDIV ONE.

USS <i>Pennsylvania</i> (BB-38) Pennsylvania-class battleship

USS Pennsylvania (BB-38) was the lead ship of the Pennsylvania class of super-dreadnought battleships built for the United States Navy in the 1910s. The Pennsylvanias were part of the standard-type battleship series, and marked an incremental improvement over the preceding Nevada class, carrying an extra pair of 14-inch (360 mm) guns for a total of twelve guns. Named for the state of Pennsylvania, she was laid down at the Newport News Shipbuilding and Drydock Company in October 1913, was launched in March 1915, and was commissioned in June 1916. Equipped with an oil-burning propulsion system, Pennsylvania was not sent to European waters during World War I, since the necessary fuel oil was not as readily available as coal. Instead, she remained in American waters and took part in training exercises; in 1918, she escorted President Woodrow Wilson to France to take part in peace negotiations.

USS <i>Arizona</i> (BB-39) large ship sunk during the attack on Pearl Harbor

USS Arizona was a Pennsylvania-class battleship built for and by the United States Navy in the mid-1910s. Named in honor of the 48th state's recent admission into the union, the ship was the second and last of the Pennsylvania class of "super-dreadnought" battleships. Although commissioned in 1916, the ship remained stateside during World War I. Shortly after the end of the war, Arizona was one of a number of American ships that briefly escorted President Woodrow Wilson to the Paris Peace Conference. The ship was sent to Turkey in 1919 at the beginning of the Greco-Turkish War to represent American interests for several months. Several years later, she was transferred to the Pacific Fleet and remained there for the rest of her career.

USS <i>Nevada</i> (BB-36) US Navy battleship launched in 1914

USS Nevada (BB-36), the second United States Navy ship to be named after the 36th state, was the lead ship of the two Nevada-class battleships. Launched in 1914, Nevada was a leap forward in dreadnought technology; four of her new features would be included on almost every subsequent US battleship: triple gun turrets, oil in place of coal for fuel, geared steam turbines for greater range, and the "all or nothing" armor principle. These features made Nevada, alongside its sister ship Oklahoma, the first US Navy "standard-type" battleships.

These nine battleships were intended to counterbalance the ten battleships of the Imperial Japanese Navy. At the time of the attack on Pearl Harbor, Pennsylvania was in dry dock undergoing maintenance, and Colorado was in the midst of a refit at Bremerton Navy Yard, Washington. Arizona was mated with Nevada and Oklahoma at that time.

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.: [3]

When the attack took place, all three carriers were absent - Saratoga was in San Diego collecting her air group following a major refit, Enterprise was en route back to Hawaii following a mission to deliver aircraft to Wake Island, while Lexington had just departed on a similar mission to Midway.

USS Richmond USS Richmond (CL-9) port side June 1944.jpg
USS Richmond

The Scouting Force included Cruiser Division Three, Cruiser Division Nine and Submarines, Scouting Force. [4]

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. [5] 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.

In December 1941, the fleet consisted of nine battleships, three aircraft carriers, 12 heavy cruisers, eight light cruisers, 50 destroyers, 33 submarines, and 100 patrol bombers.[ citation needed ] This was approximately the fleet's strength at the time of the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor. That day, the Japanese Combined Fleet carried out the attack on Pearl Harbor, drawing the United States into World War II in the Pacific. The Pacific Fleet's Battle Line took the brunt of the attack, with two battleships destroyed, two salvageable but requiring lengthy reconstruction, and four more lightly to moderately damaged, forcing the U.S. Navy to rely primarily on aircraft carriers and submarines for many months afterward.

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). [6] The West Loch disaster occurred at Pearl Harbor on 21 May 1944.

Post 1945

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. [7]

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.

On 7 March 1984, the Secretaries of Transportation and Navy signed a Memorandum of Agreement which created the Maritime Defense Zones (MDZ). [8] The Pacific MDZ is an echelon three Navy command under the Commander U.S. Pacific Fleet. The Pacific MDZ has responsibility for coastal defense up to 200 nautical mile s (370 km; 230 mi) around the U.S. West Coast, Aleutian Islands, and Hawaii during times of hostility. On 1 October 1990, Commander U.S. Naval Forces Alaska (COMUSNAVAK) was established as the Naval Component Commander to Commander, Alaskan Command (COMALCOM). Since its inception, COMUSNAVAK has grown to become responsible for coordinating all Navy activity in the Alaska and Aleutian area, for detailed planning and coordination for the Naval portion of the Joint and Combined Exercise Northern Edge, and coordinates high-visibility U.S. Navy ship visits throughout Alaska in support of public relations and recruiting initiatives.

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, the USS Enterprise Battle Group, the USS Carl Vinson Battle Group, two battleship surface action groups formed around USS New Jersey and USS Missouri, and a Japanese Maritime Self-Defence Force task force.[ citation needed ]Missouri and New Jersey performed a simultaneous gunfire demonstration for the aircraft carriers Enterprise and Nimitz during PACEX. The highlight of PacEx for Missouri was a port visit in Pusan, Republic of Korea. [9]

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 and USS Enterprise-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. [10]

Around 10 September 1990, [11] USS Princeton and the USS Reuben James visited Vladivostok. 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 Battle Group preparing to deploy to the Persian Gulf.

During Operation Fiery Vigil in June 1991, the following vessels participated in the sealift phase of the evacuation: the Abraham Lincoln battle group (COMCARGRU 3 embarked): USS Abraham Lincoln, USS Long Beach, USS Lake Champlain, USS Merrill, USS Gary, USS Ingraham, USS Roanoke, Amphibious Ready Group Alpha (COMPHIBRON 3 embarked): USS Peleliu, 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) Further operations included JTF Marianas (August–September 1992) and JTF Hawaii (September–October 1992).

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 as Commander, Naval Forces), the Kitty Hawk battle group, an amphibious task unit including USS Tripoli, USS Juneau, USS Rushmore, and MV Lummus, and three ships from MPSRON TWO (MV Anderson, MV Bonnyman, and MV Phillips). 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 Kitty Hawk, and thence to Commander, Amphibious Group Three. Finally Commander, Amphibious Squadron 3 became COMNAVFOR on 15 January with the departure of COMPHIGRU THREE after the completion of the MPF offload. (CNA, 1994, 168)

In 1995 Pacific Fleet surface ships were reshuffled. [12] 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.

Commander, Naval Surface Forces Pacific probably directed ..

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 provided support to the entry of INTERFET in East Timor in 1999.

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. [13] [14]

As of 2011, the Pacific Fleet has authority over:

Naval shore commands over which PACFLT has authority:

See List of units of the United States Navy

Commanders

See also

Notes

  1. Orbat.com/Niehorster, Administrative Order of Battle 7 December 1941
  2. 7 December, ComSubPac was Admiral Thomas Withers, Jr., who relieved Wilhelm L. Friedell that fall. Blair, Clay, Jr. Silent Victory (New York: Bantam, 1976), pp.83 & 223.
  3. Destroyers, Battle Force Destroyer Flotilla 1
  4. Cruisers, Battle Force, U.S. Pacific Fleet, 7.12.1941
  5. Orbat.com/Niehorster, Amphibious Force, U.S. Pacific Fleet
  6. Blair, pp.877-8.
  7. Hal M. Friedman, 'Arguing over the American Lake: Bureaucracy and Rivalry in the U.S. Pacific, 1945-47' Texas A&M University Press, 2009, ISBN   1603441255, 105-108.
  8. Jeffrey Hartman, 'Guarding Alaska: A Memoir of Coast Guard Missions on the Last Frontier', iUniverse, 2012, ISBN   1475924771, 9781475924770, p.104
  9. See Missouri Command History
  10. Center for Naval Analysis, Joint Task Force Operations since 1983, CRM94-42, July 1994
  11. "Still Asset Details for DNSC9102252". DefenseLink. Archived from the original on 4 July 2007. Retrieved 22 April 2007.
  12. Kitsap Sun, Pacific Fleet Changes, July 25, 1995
  13. "USS Abraham Lincoln II (CVN-72)". Dictionary of American Naval Fighting Ships . Navy Department, Naval History and Heritage Command . Retrieved 12 January 2017.
  14. Photographer’s Mate Airman Tim Roache and Journalist 2nd Class Michael Cook (17 March 2006). "Lincoln Carrier Strike Group Conducts Undersea Warfare Training". NNS060317-06. USS Abraham Lincoln Public Affairs. Retrieved 24 December 2010.
  15. Commander, Naval Surface Forces, Atlantic (COMNAVSURFPAC) is a post within the United States Pacific Fleet. As Naval Surface Forces, Pacific, it is a military formation, but the organization is often known as COMNAVSURFPAC. Its headquarters are on the West Coast of the United States.

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