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Category Archives: Anniversaries

U.S. 6th Fleet’s 70th Anniversary

The U.S. Navy’s 6th Fleet reached its 70th anniversary Feb. 12, 2020. Its current commanding officer, Vice Adm. Lisa Franchetti, shares her reflections below, accompanied by a selection of images representing 6th Fleet’s ongoing missions in the Europe and Africa areas of operation.

U.S. 6th Fleet Turns 70

By Vice Adm. Lisa Franchetti
Commander, U.S. 6th Fleet
Commander, Naval Striking and Support Forces NATO

Greetings from USS Mount Whitney, flagship of the U.S. 6th Fleet, underway in the Mediterranean Sea!

Today marks a great day in our Navy’s history.  Seventy years ago, on Feb. 12, 1950, the Navy formally established 6th Fleet, building on the storied legacy of U.S. Navy ships that have sailed on the Mediterranean Sea since the early 19th Century. From 1801, with the dispatch of USS Constitution and her sister ships to defeat the Barbary pirates, through today, American sea power has operated throughout this strategic region, which in ancient times was viewed as the center of the world. 

For the past 70 years, 6th Fleet has been a stabilizing force across the region through both our persistent presence and our ability to deliver effects across the full spectrum of maritime operations.

While standing on the bridge wing looking out at the busy waters of the Med, I took a moment to reflect on the strategic environment that led the Navy to establish 6th Fleet 70 years ago, especially in context of Great Power competition we see today.

MINDELO, Cabo Verde (Aug. 7, 2019) Musician 1st Class Joe Schoonmaker, a trombone player assigned to the U.S. Naval Forces Europe Band’s New Orleans brass band “Topside”, performs at the Novos Amigos school while the expeditionary fast transport ship USNS Carson City (T-EPF 7) is in Mindelo Cabo Verde, Aug. 7, 2019. Carson City is deployed to the Gulf of Guinea to demonstrate progress through partnerships and U.S. commitment to West African countries through small boat maintenance assistance, maritime law enforcement engagement, and medical and community relations outreach. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Ford Williams/Released)

The 6th Fleet Command History report from 1950 to 1958 gives us a window into the thought process at the time: “As the war ended and the U.S. sought peace treaties and rapid disarmament, it became increasingly apparent in the Mediterranean, as elsewhere, that Russia, our wartime ally, was to become the main threat to our security and order in the world.”

Although the Navy had hoped to draw down its presence at the end of World War II, our leaders quickly saw the need to keep a maritime force in these waters to protect U.S. interests, support U.S. policies, and serve as a strong southern flank to NATO forces in in Western Europe. Naval Forces Mediterranean was created to deliver this forward operating presence. This new force became Commander 6th Task Fleet, and ultimately, Commander 6th Fleet, and in its NATO hat, Striking and Support Forces SOUTH.

PANTICOSA, Spain (Feb. 4, 2020) Explosive Ordnance Disposal Technicians, from Explosive Ordnance Disposal Mobile Unit 8 (EODMU 8), assigned to Navy Expeditionary Combat Force Europe-Africa/Task Force (CTF) 68, conduct in-water safety checks as part of annual bi-lateral altitude and ice dive training in the Pyrenees Mountains with dives from the Spanish Navy Center for Diving (Centro de Buceo de la Armada, CBA) February 4. CTF 68 provides explosive ordnance operations, naval construction, expeditionary security, and theater security efforts in the 6th Fleet area of responsibility. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Katie Cox/Released)

The stakes were
high. As Adm. Forrest Sherman, Chief of Naval Operations, said in
1950: “The survival of this country depends upon letting the world know we
have the power and the ability to use it if the occasion demands.” 

Given that context, it wasn’t surprising to learn that our mission
today is not all that different from the mission of the Fleet back then, which
was “a twofold mission for peace: first and foremost, to maintain at all times
a high degree of readiness and combat effectiveness; and secondly to spread and
foster good will between the Mediterranean nations and our own.”

The Command History notes that Time magazine referred to 6th Fleet as President Eisenhower’s “steel-grey stabilizer.” Sailors were commonly called “ambassadors in blue.” These descriptions remain accurate today.

Maritime threats know no boundaries, and 6th Fleet’s 360 degree view of the world enhances our ability to operate seamlessly across the maritime domain with our Allies and partners alike.

For the past 70 years, 6th Fleet has been a stabilizing force across the region through both our persistent presence and our ability to deliver effects across the full spectrum of maritime operations. On the short list, we’ve cleared mines from the Suez, conducted Non-combatant Evacuation Operations, supported earthquake and other disaster relief efforts, and worked with and as part of NATO to support the resolution of the crisis in Kosovo, as well as in operation Odyssey Dawn in Libya. More recently, we established Aegis Ashore Romania to contribute to the defense of Europe from Ballistic Missile threats from the south, conducted strikes into Syria in response to the Syrian government’s use of chemical weapons on its own people, returned to the arctic with USS Harry S. Truman Carrier Strike Group operating in Norway’s Vestfjord, and worked with 5th Fleet to conduct a combined exercise in the waters off East Africa and the Indian Ocean. 

MEDITERRANEAN SEA (Aug. 27, 2019) The Ohio-class fleet guided-missile submarine USS Florida (SSGN 728) transits the Mediterranean Sea, Aug. 27, 2019. Florida, the third of four SSGN platforms, is capable of conducting clandestine strike operations, joint special operation forces operations, battle space preparation and information operations, SSGN/SSN consort operations, carrier and expeditionary strike group operations, battle management and experimentation of future submarine payloads. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Jonathan Nelson/Released)

Maritime threats know no boundaries, and 6th Fleet’s 360-degree view of the world enhances our ability to operate seamlessly across the maritime domain with our Allies and partners alike.

And although we’ve adapted
our operations and exercises to address the changing security environment of
the past 70 years, one thing has remained constant: the inherent flexibility of
the Navy-Marine Corps team to deliver combat ready forces, when needed and
where needed, providing credible deterrence and response options for our
national leaders.

Like those who came before us, 6th Fleet continues to serve as part of America’s Away Team, using the tools of naval power and presence across the region to deter, defend, and when required, fight and win far from America’s shores. 

As Adm. Mike Gilday, Chief
of Naval Operations, recently said: “Mission one for every Sailor is a ready
Navy…a Navy ready to fight today. That readiness translates into deterrence,
into economic security, and preserves our defensive margin.”

MEDITERRANEAN SEA (May 9, 2018) Algerian National Navy sailors prepare to board the Tunisian navy MNT Khaireddine A700 while participating in visit, board, search and seizure training during exercise Phoenix Express 2018, May 9. Phoenix Express is sponsored by U.S. Africa Command and facilitated by U.S. Naval Forces Europe-Africa/U.S. 6th Fleet, and is designed to improve regional cooperation, increase maritime domain awareness information sharing practices, and operational capabilities to enhance efforts to achieve safety and security in the Mediterranean sea. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Ryan U. Kledzik/Released)

For the past 70 years, 6th Fleet has made readiness our mission.  We’ve translated that readiness and delivered on our motto: “Power for Peace.” Working alongside our capable Joint Force and our Allies and partners, we are ready today, and will be for the next 70 years–and beyond.

To all who have served in 6th Fleet in the past, to all who are serving today, and to our families and friends that make it all possible…from Mount Whitney, Happy Birthday!  I am confident that those standing in our shoes in 2070 will look back with pride on all we have accomplished together. “Power for Peace.”

Happy 244th Birthday, U.S. Navy!

Oct. 13 is the 244th birthday of the United States Navy. As the Navy grows ever more capable with new ships and technologies, we continue to rely on our Sailors, working side by side with the U.S. Marines to protect America’s people, partners and interests around the world.

Secretary of the Navy Richard V. Spencer has a birthday message to the Navy, stressing this year’s birthday celebration theme “No Higher Honor,” which commemorates the Battle of Leyte Gulf, the largest sea battle in modern history.

Chief of Naval Operations Adm. Mike Gilday, who is joined by Commandant of the Marine Corps Gen. David H. Berger has the following birthday message to the fleet:

Transcript of their
remarks:

CNO: THE NAVY’S
WATCH TO PROTECT FREEDOM OF THE SEAS WITH HONOR, COURAGE, AND COMMITMENT BEGAN
244 YEARS AGO. AS WE CELEBRATE ACROSS THE FLEET, WE RENEW OUR COMMITMENT TO BE
READY; TO REMEMBER THOSE WHO FORGED OUR LEGACY; AND TO HONOR OUR FAMILIES AND
LOVED ONES WHO STAND BESIDE US.

CMC: WE CELEBRATE
WITH YOU AS SAILORS AND MARINES REMAIN READY IN EVERY FLEET AND OPERATE TOGETHER
AS AN INTEGRATED NAVAL FORCE.

CNO: WITH 290 SHIPS, ABOUT A THIRD OF WHICH ARE UNDERWAY TODAY, YOUR NAVY AND MARINE CORPS ARE AMERICA’S AWAY TEAM. WE ENABLE PROSPERITY 24/7/365 – AT HOME AND ABROAD – BY ENSURING PEACE, STABILITY AND SECURITY. 

CMC: HAPPY 244TH
BIRTHDAY NAVY.

CNO: SEE YOU IN
THE FLEET, SHIPMATES.

Becoming One Navy Team

On the 71st anniversary of President Harry S. Truman’s signing of the Executive Orders 9980 and 9981, mandating equality of treatment and opportunity for all persons in the armed services and federal government regardless of race, color, religion or national origin, Chief of Naval Operations Adm. John Richardson addresses the essential role diversity plays in helping the U.S. Navy remain the world’s most decisive and lethal naval force:

Team, today marks a historic day for our Navy and our military.

71 years ago, on this day in 1948, President Truman signed Executive Orders 9980 and 9981, stating for the first time that there shall be equality of treatment and opportunity for all persons in the armed services and federal government regardless of race, color, religion or national origin.

John Henry Turpin

71 years ago, we took a crucial step in building the strength of our Navy team. We honored, recognized, and codified the contributions of our people of color who fought for our Independence, who fought to keep our union together, who went ashore on D-Day, who fought across the Pacific with us.

Famous units like the Buffalo Soldiers, the Navajo Wind Talkers, the Army’s 442nd Regimental Combat team, and the Tuskegee Airmen. Famous people like Chief Gunner’s Mate John Henry Turpin, David Farragut, hero of the Civil War, and the Navy’s first admiral, Native American Ernest Evans, and the millions of others who served.

David Glasgow Farragut

71 years ago, we decided that what bound us together were our values as Americans. What mattered was a person’s honor, courage, and commitment to serve our nation — not the color of our skins.

Today, the Navy works hard every day to become that service. That place where you belong, if you believe what America stands for and want to defend it by living a life of integrity, accountability, initiative, and toughness. By serving something bigger than ourselves.

Ernest E. Evans

Today, we are stronger because we respect each other’s different ways to contribute to the mission, and never forget what connects and unites us.

Today, we continue to recognize the dignity and contribution of all in our Navy Team. We are ready to put our lives in each other’s’ hands.

By getting the best of us all — together — the U.S. Navy will remain the world’s most decisive and lethal naval force.

Let’s get to it.

Happy 126th Birthday Chiefs – Chief On!

By Master Chief Petty Officer of the Navy (MCPON) Russell Smith

In the beginning there was no birthday, no Mess, no initiation process. There were only Sailors, salty with experience and a deep conviction to bridge the gap between the vision their officers had and the Sailors who executed the mission. Recognizing a seam, Chief Petty Officers were created to provide the kind of pragmatic leadership and guidance that enlisted Sailors could understand and relate to, enabling our Navy to move forward as the operating environment began to evolve beyond the simple age of sail and traditional Sailor skills.

ROTA, Spain (March 11, 2019) Master Chief Petty Officer of the Navy (MCPON) Russell Smith speaks to Sailors aboard the Arleigh Burke-class guided-missile destroyer USS Carney (DDG 64). (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 1st Class Sarah Villegas/Released)
ROTA, Spain (March 11, 2019) Master Chief Petty Officer of the Navy (MCPON) Russell Smith speaks to Sailors aboard the Arleigh Burke-class guided-missile destroyer USS Carney (DDG 64). (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 1st Class Sarah Villegas/Released)

Over the years our Mess has grown and adapted to both the operating environment of our vessels and the Sailors who choose our way of life. Over successive generations, our Sailors have become smarter, more fit and a better demographic representation of the Nation we serve. We began as the sole purveyors of experience, the ones you needed to hear from before tackling any complex deckplate evolution — the lessons of sweat and blood were “our” currency, our relevance, and we taught many a junior Sailor and many a junior Officer how to avoid the worst mistakes and safely navigate to mission success.

In turn, Chief Petty Officers have found greater opportunity, and a corresponding desire by the Navy to fold Chief Petty Officers into more complex roles of leadership and management. In 1958, the pay grades of E8 and E9 were created to specifically retain the talent and expertise that was deemed crucial to the future success of our Navy; less than a decade later, Master Chief Gunner’s Mate Del Black would become the first Master Chief Petty Officer of the Navy, signaling a level of leadership and Navy-wide involvement that just 30 years before could not possibly have been conceived of. Chief Petty Officers raised the bar, elevated the game and catapulted our Navy towards new and greater success.

Shortly before the USS Cole was attacked, she got underway for deployment with an entirely enlisted Bridge Watch Team — proving that crew’s mettle and ultimately enabling those who survived the initial attack to save their ship and their shipmates. We have enlisted performing in a myriad of ways that those “old salts” sitting around and sharing information in those famous photos from the late 1800s could never have imagined. And yet, as a Mess, our mission remains the same — bound genetically to our core responsibility within the Navy to primarily represent the equity of experience. Technical experts, knowledgeable and learned in the nuances of our trade, operators who guide both the young Sailors we are charged with preparing for combat, as well as those young Officers whose lead we will follow in combat.

PACIFIC OCEAN (Feb. 21, 2019) Senior Chief Damage Controlman Jeff Tobey, from Kittering, Maine, assigned to the amphibious assault ship USS Boxer (LHD 4), instructs Electrician’s Mate 2nd Class Clayton Saving, from Carthage, Missouri, in the hangar bay during a main space fire drill. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Keypher Strombeck/Released)
PACIFIC OCEAN (Feb. 21, 2019) Senior Chief Damage Controlman Jeff Tobey, from Kittering, Maine, assigned to the amphibious assault ship USS Boxer (LHD 4), instructs Electrician’s Mate 2nd Class Clayton Saving, from Carthage, Missouri, in the hangar bay during a main space fire drill. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Keypher Strombeck/Released)

A special faith and trust has been reposed in us as we occupy this unique and unparalleled strata of leadership — other services and other nations have senior enlisted leaders, but the United States Navy Chief Petty Officers are cut from a different cloth, raised to perform in collegial fashion to stitch the disparate parts of our Navy together, to leverage the power of our Mess to make the Navy greater than the sum of our parts.

We should take the opportunity to reflect on where this latest year of growth and development has taken us, and as a Mess decide how to best calibrate and align ourselves to the true north of our forebearers — making those who sailed before us proud of the legacy of selfless, uncelebrating service they entrusted to us. Every day we walk aboard our ship, squadron, station or unit we should feel an unabated sense of urgency to prove our value and serve our Sailors, to realize our strengths, and then humbly yet confidently wield that influence and knowledge to prepare our Sailors for combat — and lead them to victory once it begins.

At the end of today, and at the end of every day, I would ask each of you — as I ask of myself — to spend a few moments in quiet contemplation on those expectations levied upon us. To ask, as in that penultimate moment of “Saving Private Ryan” — did I “earn this?”

Happy 126th Birthday Chiefs – Chief On!

SECNAV Spencer’s 2018 Veterans Day Message

By Secretary of the Navy Richard V. Spencer

One hundred years ago, the guns fell silent across Europe on the 11th hour, of the 11th day, of the 11th month, of 1918. The armistice, which ended World War One, finally ended the most horrific warfare the world had ever seen and the world began its slow march to recovery that continues to this day.

We remember this war on November 11th and we remember the toll it took on nations across Europe and in every corner of the globe, but here in the United States we also use this day as an opportunity to remember those brave young Americans who left their homes and families to fight as the popular song went “Over There” they laid their lives on the line to people they’d never ever seen in far-off countries they’d never been and they made the critical difference, which helped bring the fighting to a close.

This was not the first time American troops had gone overseas to the aid of another nation nor would it be the last.

Throughout the 20th century and into the 21st, it was American Sailors, Marines, Soldiers, Airmen and Coast Guardsmen who stepped forward to defend the freedom in World War Two, Korea, Vietnam, the Gulf, Afghanistan, Iraq and many other challenges around the globe. And so on November 11th, we honor them as well.

The 11th day of the 11th month marks not just the anniversary of one war where American troops made the difference, but a day to remember all of the generations of warriors that came before them and after we know this is Veterans Day.

And this Veterans Day, I hope you’ll join me in thanking someone who served whether mother, father, brother, sister, aunt, uncle, neighbor or friend, and also remember those who still keep the watch and stand guard for freedom on this very day. Take a moment not only to thank them, but ask them to share with you why they chose to defend global safety and security.

We owe them a debt that can never fully be repaid, but which always must be remembered.

To the Men and Women of NAS Oceana, Happy 75th Birthday!

By Capt. Chad P. Vincelette
Commanding officer, Naval Air Station Oceana

Victory in World War II remained in doubt when the U.S. Navy commissioned something it desperately needed 75 years ago – an East Coast Navy base to prepare aviators to fight.

Naval Auxiliary Air Station Oceana was born on Aug. 17, 1943, out of a need for aviators to work up for deployments away from the crowded Naval Air Station Norfolk, where airspace and airfield facility restrictions was an issue for tactical flying units.

Known at the time as Potter’s Farm, about 328 acres of land belonging to John W. and Dean S. Potter was purchased for $35,000 in 1940. Considered remote at the time, Oceana was the perfect location for an auxiliary field. The town’s only industry being a sawmill operation, three or four small food stores, a restaurant, three gas stations and a post office within one of the food stores.

Fast forward 75 years, and not only is Virginia Beach and surrounding area a vibrant tourist destination, the men and women of what is now Naval Air Station Oceana are still accomplishing that original mission – preparing aviators to fight.

The team at NAS Oceana is also a key contributor to the Chief of Naval OperationsFour Lines of Effort for maintaining maritime superiority – focusing on warfighting, achieving high-velocity learning at every level, strengthening our One Navy Team for the future and expanding and strengthening our network of partners.

The more than 10,000 Sailors and 5,800 civilian employees are the lifeblood of Oceana’s contribution to these Four Lines of Effort, and are directly responsible for training our aviators and maintaining the world’s most capable and lethal naval aircraft.

NAS Oceana and its outlying Naval Auxiliary Landing Field Fentress in Chesapeake are the backbone of our east coast naval air forces, conducting, on average, more than 100,000 air operations a year.

Oceana is the sole East Coast master jet base. Its carrier air wings and strike-fighter squadrons have quick and easy access to the most advanced flight simulators and world-class intermediate aircraft maintenance facilities. And our aviators are only minutes away from the 94,000 square miles of offshore air-to-air combat training ranges and NALF Fentress for carrier landing practice. This proximity maximizes the amount of training that our Navy can achieve with each gallon of jet fuel.

F/A-18F Super Hornets attached to Strike Fighter Squadron (VFA) 213 land in Naval Air Station Oceana. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class David Mora Jr./Released)

 

When deployed, our air wing and squadron personnel can be confident that their families are safe and taken care of. They have access to Oceana’s outstanding support services, provided by Fleet and Family Services, the childcare center, NEX and commissary, religious ministries, and MWR and youth programs.

Plus, there is the great quality of life that Hampton Roads offers: Affordable housing, fantastic schools, a strong economy and access to outstanding recreational venues.

None of this would be possible without the commitment and support of the community and the invaluable partnerships with the State of Virginia and cities of Virginia Beach and Chesapeake. They are truly our shipmates when it comes to fulfilling the important mission of NAS Oceana.

If you go by the past performance and history, I believe NAS Oceana will continue to play a vital role in the future readiness of our Navy and the overall defense of our nation. Happy birthday to the men and women of NAS Oceana!

Logo for the 75th anniversary of NAS Oceana

 

 

CNO Adm. Richardson’s 4th of July Message

Team,

242 years ago today, our Founders came together and ratified the Declaration of Independence. On that day, the great democratic experiment that is the United States began.

On this day, it is a worthy thing to review some of the words that launched our great nation. On this day, we should take some time to think about what those words say, what the United States means.

On this day, we still take inspiration from the words of that day:

“We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.”

“We, therefore, the Representatives of the United States of America, in General Congress, Assembled, appealing to the Supreme Judge of the world for the rectitude of our intentions, do, in the Name, and by Authority of the good People of these Colonies, solemnly publish and declare, That these united Colonies are, and of Right ought to be Free and Independent States…”

“And for the support of this Declaration, with a firm reliance on the protection of Divine Providence, we mutually pledge to each other our Lives, our Fortunes, and our sacred Honor.”

Thanks to all of you, especially those deployed forward today, who are giving so freely of your lives, fortunes, and sacred honor to protect this fragile thing: freedom.

J. M. Richardson, ADM, USN
Chief of Naval Operations

Editor’s note: This blog was originally published July 4, 2018, on Adm. Richardson’s Facebook page.

Carl Vinson Carrier Strike Group: Celebrating 75 Years of U.S. 3rd Fleet after Historic Vietnam Visit

By Rear Adm. John Fuller
Commander, Carl Vinson Carrier Strike Group

Carl Vinson Strike Group patrols the Western Pacific as U.S. 3rd Fleet marks its 75th anniversary. We are demonstrating America’s commitment to regional security, stability and prosperity.

This deployment marks the second time this strike group deployed to the Indo-Pacific region under an initiative called Third Fleet Forward. Of note, the Carl Vinson Strike Group is the first carrier group in recent history to remain under U.S. 3rd Fleet’s control beyond the international dateline. These deployments provide the Pacific Fleet (PACFLT) commander options to the traditional practice of U.S. 7th Fleet operationally controlling all U.S. Navy ships west of the international dateline and enables PACFLT the opportunity to better leverage the capabilities of its two subordinate fleets.

U.S. 3rd Fleet operating in the Western Pacific is not new. The command’s origins trace back to its formation as a forward-deploying unit under Adm. William “Bull” Halsey Jr., during World War II. Although the size and nature of 3rd Fleet’s mission has changed since that time, Carl Vinson’s current deployment symbolizes a return to 3rd Fleet’s roots. The strike group’s historic four-day port visit to Da Nang, Vietnam is a tangible symbol that 3rd Fleet’s legacy carries on.

Adm. William F. Halsey Jr. (second from left) and Vice Adm. John S. McCain Jr. aboard USS Missouri BB-63 just before the Japanese surrender, circa September 1945. (U.S. Navy photo/Released)
Adm. William F. Halsey Jr. (second from left) and Vice Adm. John S. McCain Jr. aboard USS Missouri BB-63 just before the Japanese surrender, circa September 1945. (U.S. Navy photo/Released)

 

It was an incredible honor to fulfill an agreement between our top leaders by serving as the first carrier strike group to visit Vietnam in more than 40 years. The visit helped improve the bilateral relationship through people-to-people interactions that will forge stronger ties for years to come. Developing new cooperative relationships in the Indo-Pacific region is critical to stability, and the Carl Vinson Strike Group under 3rd Fleet’s command was pivotal.

U.S. 7th Fleet also played a leading role during the Vietnam visit. Vice Adm. Phillip Sawyer, 7th Fleet’s commander, led the U.S. delegation during formal meetings with key leaders and the U.S. 7th Fleet Band performed free public concerts, showcasing music as a universal language. The Third Fleet Forward construct allowed both numbered fleets to complement one another in Vietnam just as it does at sea.

Rear Adm. John Fuller (right), commander of Carl Vinson Strike Group, accepts a plaque from Vietnamese Rear Adm. Do Quoc Viet, commander, Navy Region 3 while aboard USS Carl Vinson (CVN 70), March 6, 2018.
Rear Adm. John Fuller (right), commander of Carl Vinson Strike Group, accepts a plaque from Vietnamese Rear Adm. Do Quoc Viet, commander, Navy Region 3 while aboard USS Carl Vinson (CVN 70), March 6, 2018.

 

While transiting the South China Sea prior to the port call in Da Nang, we hosted guests from the Philippines, Indonesia, Malaysia and Vietnam. One of the most heartwarming comments was how such young people – our Sailors – are able to do such sophisticated things. Our visitors gained a better understanding of our Sailors’ character after observing flight operations and interacting with crew members throughout the ship. During various tours and events in Da Nang, the Vietnamese people observed the same. Visitors learned what I know: platforms don’t build maritime cooperation; machines don’t forge relationships that can withstand the test of time – Sailors do. Sailors show our presence and reassure friends and allies. Sailors at sea under 3rd Fleet’s command proudly carry the mission forward.

Congratulations to U.S. 3rd Fleet for 75 years of honorable and dedicated service.

7th Fleet’s 75th Anniversary

By Vice Adm. Phil Sawyer
Commander, U.S. 7th Fleet

U.S. 7th Fleet was established by a single naval message with the effective date of March 15, 1943. And now, 75 years later, we are the U.S. Navy’s largest fleet in the Indo-Pacific. We continue to be defined by our forward-deployed presence, our many partnerships with like-minded navies and by the security we provide to this dynamic and vital region.

Seventh Fleet was created to address a need for regional presence at the advent of America’s involvement in World War II. Since 1943, 7th Fleet has fought in nearly every conflict in this region and beyond, from Cold War hot spots to our nation’s immediate response to the attacks of Sept. 11, 2001. We have also responded to many natural disasters over the years, an added advantage of our longstanding presence in the region.

As 7th Fleet commander, I am committed to making sure our Sailors, ships, submarines and aircraft are ready when our nation calls us to action. At any given time, there are up to 70 ships, 140 aircraft and about 40,000 Sailors and Marines in the region. This includes forward-deployed forces that operate out of Japan and Guam, as well as rotationally deployed forces based in the United States.

DA NANG, Vietnam (Mar. 5, 2018) Vice Adm. Phillip G. Sawyer, commander, U.S. 7th Fleet, speaks to members of the press on the pier after a welcome ceremony in Da Nang, Vietnam.  (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Devin M. Monroe/Released)
DA NANG, Vietnam (Mar. 5, 2018) Vice Adm. Phillip G. Sawyer, commander, U.S. 7th Fleet, speaks to members of the press on the pier after a welcome ceremony in Da Nang, Vietnam.  (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Devin M. Monroe/Released)

 

As I mentioned, 7th Fleet was born 75 years ago. I didn’t mention that it was in Brisbane, Australia. At that time, our fleet was rebuilding from Pearl Harbor, learning in the unforgiving crucible of war and facing a formidable foe. We found a home amongst our allies in Brisbane. Under the supreme leadership of General MacArthur, admirals Carpenter and then Kinkaid turned Seventh Fleet into a powerful fighting force, one that helped turn the tide of war toward peace. We will always be grateful to Brisbane, and to all Brisbanites, for sheltering our Navy’s revival at a time when we were at our most vulnerable.

Our headquarters moved several times since then, ultimately settling in Yokosuka, Japan. We do our best work – I do my best work – alongside allies, partners and friends. Our shared commitment to providing security has enabled stability; and this stability has promoted the rising tide of prosperity that continues to sweep the Indo-Pacific. That commitment endures today in the face of rising, unpredictable challenges, posed by revisionist powers and other persistent threats. But security does not happen by itself. It must be provided by likeminded nations and by the constant presence of their navies at sea.

TOKYO BAY, Japan (May 13, 2016) The Arleigh Burke-class guided-missile destroyer USS Barry (DDG 52) transits past Mt. Fuji as it arrives at Fleet Activities Yokosuka in Japan. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Jason Kofonow/Released)
TOKYO BAY, Japan (May 13, 2016) The Arleigh Burke-class guided-missile destroyer USS Barry (DDG 52) transits past Mt. Fuji as it arrives at Fleet Activities Yokosuka in Japan. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Jason Kofonow/Released)

 

We will continue to do this based on shared values and principles that transcend episodic differences, and support the rules-based order. These same principles have paved the way toward reconciliation and peace many times. 75 years ago, no one envisioned that generations of Seventh Fleet Sailors would live in Yokosuka, Japan, or sail with Japan’s Maritime Self Defense Force, yet now we do. And 40 years ago, few would’ve predicted a U.S. aircraft carrier strike group visiting Vietnam. Yet I stood with many Vietnamese sons and daughters just last week, as we sang our national anthems aboard USS Carl Vinson.

DA NANG, Vietnam (March 5, 2018) The Nimitz-class aircraft carrier USS Carl Vinson (CVN 70) arrives in Da Nang, Vietnam for a scheduled port visit. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Devin M. Monroe/Released)
DA NANG, Vietnam (March 5, 2018) The Nimitz-class aircraft carrier USS Carl Vinson (CVN 70) arrives in Da Nang, Vietnam for a scheduled port visit. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Devin M. Monroe/Released)

 

Our Sailors have lived in the Indo-Pacific for the past 75 years far away from our nation’s shores. Their stories are canonized in the enduring examples of service members willing to sail into harm’s way and support our regional partners when called upon. Their families begin here, their children were raised here, and their aspirations are intertwined with the places they visit and the people they meet here. Every day I marvel at the strength of a community born in wartime and tested by adversity. Families that not only survive, but thrive when their loved ones deploy for months at a time. That’s not just our heritage, but a legacy we will pass on to forward-deployed families for posterity.

As we reflect on this legacy, no one should doubt Seventh Fleet’s readiness today. No one should doubt our obligations to defend our allies. No one should doubt our resolve to fly, sail and operate anywhere international law allows.

Happy 75th birthday, 7th Fleet!

Anniversary graphic

Happy 242nd Birthday, U.S. Navy!

The 242nd birthday of our Navy on Oct. 13 honors the brave men and women who conduct a wide range of combat, training, humanitarian, rescue and other missions worldwide, protecting our interests, promoting our security, and helping to shape our nation’s history and culture.

Secretary of the Navy Richard V. Spencer’s birthday message

To our Sailors, civilians, families and friends:

As we commemorate 242 years of the United States Navy stranding the watch, we can look back on our history as a source of pride and inspiration; we can also look forward towards the future with confidence as we shape the Navy of tomorrow.

The Navy of tomorrow, like the Navy of today, must be capable of continuous deterrence through sustained forward presence, all the while being ready to deliver combat-ready forces to win conflicts and wars around the clock and around the globe. In that spirit, this year’s birthday theme: “Sea Power to Protect and Promote” is fitting. We are resolute in our commitment to protect our Nation, win nits wars and protect our allies; and we are always forward deployed to promote our national interests and deter would-be enemies. In today’s environment, we must remain vigilant and focused on our mission, our Core Values and the concept of accountability at every level to guide us forward.

I challenge every one of you to join me in shaping a Navy of tomorrow that is worthy of the legacy we celebrate today. My wife Polly and I are forever grateful for all that you, your families, and your loved ones do for our nation. Happy birthday, shipmates. God bless you and God bless the United States Navy.

Chief of Naval Operations Adm. John Richardson’s birthday message

Team,

Today, we pause to reflect on our U.S. Navy’s 242 years of dedication and service. Tracing our origins back to the Continental Navy in 1775, the U.S. Navy has stood the watch in every corner of the globe, protecting America from attack and promoting our interests around the world.

The security environment today is fast-paced, complex, and increasingly competitive – the perfect conditions for our naval forces to succeed! The men and women of the U.S. Navy have our best days when we draw inspiration from the Sailors that have gone before. Our history is rich with heroes that fought at Coral Sea, Midway and Guadalcanal 75 years ago. Today, we strive to operate and fight with the same integrity, accountability, initiative and toughness, as they demonstrated.

Dana and I are privileged to be a part of such an amazing team of Sailors, civilians and families. Thanks to each and every one of you for your commitment to our Navy and our nation.

Happy birthday, shipmates!