United States Seventh Fleet
|This article needs additional citations for verification. (June 2013)|
|United States Seventh Fleet|
|Branch||United States Navy|
|Part of||United States Pacific Fleet|
|Garrison/HQ||United States Fleet Activities Yokosuka|
|Nickname||'Tonkin Gulf Yacht Club' (Vietnam War)|
|Vice Admiral Robert L. Thomas|
|Admiral Thomas C. Kinkaid|
The Seventh Fleet is a numbered fleet (a military formation) of the United States Navy. It is a permanently forward deployed force headquartered at U.S. Fleet Activities Yokosuka, in Yokosuka, Japan, with units positioned near Japan and South Korea. It is a component force of the United States Pacific Fleet. At present, it is the largest of the forward-deployed U.S. fleets, with 60 to 70 ships, 300 aircraft and 40,000 Navy and Marine Corps personnel.
The Fleet has three major assignments:
- Joint Task Force command in a natural disaster or joint military operation,
- Operational command of all naval forces in the region, and
- Defense of the Korean Peninsula. In 1994, 7th Fleet was assigned the additional responsibility as Commander, Combined Naval Component Command for the defense of South Korea.
- 1 History
- 2 Operations
- 3 Fleet organization
- 4 Forward-deployed Seventh Fleet ships
- 5 Fleet Commanders
- 6 References
- 7 Further reading
- 8 External links
The Seventh Fleet was formed on 15 March 1943 in Brisbane, Australia, during World War II, under the command of Admiral Arthur S. "Chips" Carpender. It served in the South West Pacific Area (SWPA) under General Douglas MacArthur. The Seventh Fleet commander also served as commander of Allied naval forces in the SWPA.
Most of the ships of the Royal Australian Navy were also part of the fleet from 1943 to 1945 as part of Task Force 74 (formerly the Anzac Squadron). The Seventh Fleet—under Admiral Thomas C. Kinkaid—formed a large part of the Allied forces at the Battle of Leyte Gulf, the largest naval battle in history.
After the end of the war, the 7th Fleet moved its headquarters to Qingdao, China. As laid out in Operation Plan 13-45 of 26 August 1945, Kinkaid established five major task forces to manage operations in the Western Pacific: Task Force 71, the North China Force with 75 ships; Task Force 72, the Fast Carrier Force, directed to provide air cover to the Marines going ashore and discourage with dramatic aerial flyovers any Communist forces that might oppose the operation; Task Force 73, the Yangtze Patrol Force with another 75 combatants; Task Force 74, the South China Force, ordered to protect the transportation of Japanese and Chinese Nationalist troops from that region; and Task Force 78, the Amphibious Force, charged with the movement of the III Marine Amphibious Corps to China.
After the war, on 1 January 1947, the Fleet's name was changed to Naval Forces Western Pacific. In late 1948, the Fleet moved its principal base of operations to the Philippines, where the Navy, following the war, had developed new facilities at Subic Bay and an airfield at Sangley Point. Peacetime operations of the Seventh Fleet were under the control of Commander in Chief Pacific Fleet, Admiral Arthur E. Radford, but standing orders provided that, when operating in Japanese waters or in the event of an emergency, control would pass to Commander Naval Forces Far East, a component of General Douglas MacArthur's occupation force.
On 19 August 1949 the force was designated as United States Seventh Task Fleet. On 11 February 1950, just prior to the outbreak of the Korean War, the force assumed the name United States Seventh Fleet, which it holds today.
Seventh Fleet units participated in all major operations of the Korean and Vietnamese Wars. The first Navy jet aircraft used in combat was launched from a Task Force 77 (TF 77) aircraft carrier on 3 July 1950. The landings at Inchon, Korea were conducted by Seventh Fleet amphibious ships. The battleships Iowa, New Jersey, Missouri and Wisconsin all served as flagships for Commander, U.S. Seventh Fleet during the Korean War. During the Korean War, the Seventh Fleet consisted of Task Force 70, a maritime patrol force provided by Fleet Air Wing One and Fleet Air Wing Six, Task Force 72, the Formosa Patrol, Task Force 77, and Task Force 79, a service support squadron.
Over the next decade the Seventh Fleet responded to numerous crisis situations including contingency operations conducted in Laos in 1959 and Thailand in 1962. During September 1959, in the autumn of 1960, and again in January 1961, the Seventh Fleet deployed multiship carrier task forces into the South China Sea. Although the Pathet Lao and North Vietnamese supporting forces withdrew in each crisis, in the spring of 1961 their offensive appeared on the verge of overwhelming the pro-American Royal Laotian Army.
Once again the fleet moved into Southeast Asian waters. By the end of April 1961 most of the Seventh Fleet was deployed off the Indochinese Peninsula preparing to initiate operations into Laos. The force consisted of the Coral Sea and Midway carrier battle groups, antisubmarine support carrier Kearsarge, one helicopter carrier, three groups of amphibious ships, two submarines, and three Marine battalion landing teams. At the same time, shorebased air patrol squadrons and another three Marine battalion landing teams stood ready in Okinawa and the Philippines to support the afloat force. Although the administration of President John F. Kennedy already had decided against American intervention to rescue the Laotian government, Communist forces halted their advance and agreed to negotiations. The contending Laotian factions concluded a cease-fire on 8 May 1961, but it lasted only a year.
During the Vietnam War, Seventh Fleet engaged in combat operations against enemy forces through attack carrier air strikes, naval gunfire support, amphibious operations, patrol and reconnaissance operations and mine warfare. After the 1973 cease-fire, the Fleet conducted mine countermeasure operations in the coastal waterways of North Vietnam. Two years later, ships and aircraft of the Fleet evacuated thousands of U.S. citizens and refugees from South Vietnam and Cambodia as those countries fell to opposing forces. Between 1950 and 1970, the U.S. Seventh Fleet was also known by the tongue-in-cheek nickname "Tonkin Gulf Yacht Club". Most of the fleet's operations were conducted from the Tonkin Gulf at the time. The badge was unofficial but it quickly became very popular.
Since Vietnam, the Seventh Fleet has participated in a joint/combined exercise called Team Spirit, conducted with the Republic of Korea armed forces. With capability to respond to any contingency, Fleet operations are credited with maintaining security during the Asian Games of 1986 and the Seoul Olympics of 1988. During 1989, Seventh Fleet units participated in a variety of exercises called PACEX, the largest peacetime exercises since World War II.
Gulf War and 1990s
In response to the 2 August 1990 Iraqi invasion of Kuwait, President George H. W. Bush ordered Commander, U.S. Seventh Fleet to assume additional responsibilities as Commander, U.S. Naval Forces Central Command. The Fleet Commander departed Yokosuka, Japan immediately, heading for the Persian Gulf, and joined the remainder of his staff aboard the flagship Blue Ridge on 1 September 1990. During Operation Desert Shield and Operation Desert Storm, Naval Forces Central Command exercised command and control of the largest U.S. Navy armada since the Second World War. At the peak of combat operations, over 130 U.S. ships joined more than 50 allied ships to conduct maritime intercept operations, minesweeping and combat strike operations against enemy forces in Iraq and Kuwait.
Naval Forces Central Command included six aircraft carrier battle groups, two battleships (Missouri and Wisconsin), two hospital ships, 31 amphibious assault ships, four minesweeping vessels and numerous combatants in support of allied air and ground forces. After a decisive allied victory in the Gulf War, Commander U.S. Seventh Fleet relinquished control of Naval Forces Central Command to Commander, Middle East Force on 24 April 1991 and returned to Yokosuka, Japan to resume his Asia-Pacific duties.
In 1996, two aircraft carrier battle groups were sent to the Taiwan Straits under Seventh Fleet control to demonstrate U.S. support for Taiwan during the Third Taiwan Strait Crisis. The Nimitz battle group (CCDG 5?) made a high speed transit from the Persian Gulf, while Carrier Group Five, led by Independence, sortied from its Japanese homeports.
Of the 50-60 ships typically assigned to Seventh Fleet, 18 operate from U.S. facilities in Japan and Guam. These forward-deployed units represent the heart of Seventh Fleet, and the centerpieces of American forward presence in Asia. They are 17 steaming days closer to locations in Asia than their counterparts based in the continental United States. It would take three to five times the number of rotationally-based ships in the U.S. to equal the same presence and crisis response capability as these 18 forward deployed ships. On any given day, about 50% of Seventh Fleet forces are deployed at sea throughout the area of responsibility.
Following the end of the Cold War, the two major military scenarios in which the Seventh Fleet would be used would be in case of conflict in Korea or a conflict between People's Republic of China and Taiwan (Republic of China) in the Taiwan Strait.
It was reported on 10 May 2012 that USS Freedom (LCS-1) would be dispatched to Singapore in the northern spring of 2013 for a roughly 10-month deployment. On 2 June 2012 the U.S. and Singaporean Defense Ministers announced that Singapore has agreed 'in principle' to the US request 'to forward deploy up to four littoral combat ships to Singapore on a rotational basis.' Officials stressed however that vessels will not be permanently based there and their crews will live aboard during ship visits.
The Seventh Fleet is organized into specialized task forces.
Task Force 70 — TF 70 the Battle Force of 7th Fleet and is actually made up of two distinct components: Surface Combatant Force 7th Fleet, composed of cruisers and destroyers, and Carrier Strike Force 7th Fleet, made up of at least one aircraft carrier and its embarked air wing. The Battle Force is currently centered around Carrier Strike Group Five, the carrier USS George Washington and Carrier Air Wing 5 (CVW-5).
Task Force 71 — TF 71 includes all Naval Special Warfare (NSW) units and Explosive Ordnance Disposal Mobile Units (EODMU) assigned to 7th Fleet. It is based in Guam. Task Force 71 was based in Fremantle, Western Australia in 1941-42, operating submarines under Rear Admiral Charles A. Lockwood. He was relieved by Rear Admiral Ralph W. Christie on 7 March 1943. During the first half of 1965, the Seventh Fleet operationally controlled the Vietnam Patrol Force (Task Force 71), the American component of the Operation Market Time effort. The Naval Advisory Group, headquartered in Saigon, served as the liaison between the fleet, Commander U.S. Military Assistance Command, Vietnam, and the South Vietnamese Navy. On 31 July 1965, formal control of the U.S. Operation Market Time force passed from the Seventh Fleet to the Naval Advisory Group, which in turn activated the Coastal Surveillance Force (Task Force 115). The fleet continued to provide logistic and administrative support. The command function was further refined on 1 April 1966 when Naval Forces, Vietnam, was established, relieving the Naval Advisory Group of responsibility for Market Time operations.
Task Force 71 operated the Search and Rescue/Salvage Operations for Korean Air Lines Flight 007 shot down by the Soviets off Sakhalin Island on Sept. 1, 1983. On the day of the shootdown, Rear Admiral William A. Cockell, Commander, Task Force 71, and a skeleton staff, taken by helicopter from Japan, embarked in USS Badger (stationed off Vladivostock at time of the flight) on 9 September for further transfer to the destroyer Elliot to assume duties as Officer in Tactical Command (OTC) of the Search and Rescue (SAR) effort. Surface search began immediately and on into the 13 day of September. U.S. underwater operations began on September 14. No longer any hope of finding survivors, on September 10, 1983, Task Force 71 mission had been reclassified "Search and Salvage" operation from a "Search and Rescue". On October 17, 1983, Rear Admiral William Cockell was relieved of command of the Task Force and its Search and Salvage mission, and Rear Admiral Walter T. Piotti, Jr., was placed in command.
There were three U.S. search and salvage ships involved—the Coast Guard cutter USCGC Munro, the rescue salvage ship USS Conserver, and the Fleet Tug USNS Narragansett. There were also three Japanese tugs chartered through the U.S. Navy’s Far East Salvage Contractor (Selco), these were the Ocean Bull, the Kaiko-Maru 7, and the Kaiko-Maru 3. Aside from these vessels, there were the U.S. naval combatants and logistical support ships. These were the USS Elliot, USS Badger, USS Sterett, USNS Hassayampa, USS Callaghan, USS Brooke, USS Meyerkord, USS Towers, USS Stark and the USS Wichita. In addition to the above ships, there were numerous Japanese Maritime Safety Agency patrol boats and South Korean vessels involved.
Task Force 71 also used to fulfill the function of Command and Coordination Force, Seventh Fleet. The Seventh Fleet Command Ship is the USS Blue Ridge, based at U.S. Fleet Activities Yokosuka, Yokosuka, Japan. In 2004, Blue Ridge entered dry dock and the responsibility was transferred temporarily to USS Coronado. Blue Ridge returned to duty 27 September 2004.
Task Force 72 — TF 72 is the Patrol-Reconnaissance Force of the Seventh Fleet. It may be located at Naval Support Facility Kamiseya, Japan. It is mainly composed of anti-submarine warfare (ASW) aircraft and maritime airborne surveillance platforms such as P-3 Orion and EP-3 reconnaissance planes operating on land bases. Toward the end of the Korean War, Commander Task Force 72 transferred his flag to USS Pine Island on 7 March and detachments of VP-42 also left USS Salisbury Sound for that seaplane tender. That same day Task Force Seventy-Two was established as the Formosa Patrol Force under Rear Admiral Williamson in Pine Island.
Task Force 73/Commander, Logistics Group Western Pacific — 7th Fleet's Logistics Force composed of supply ships and other fleet support vessels. Headquartered in Singapore.
Task Force 74 — TF 74 was the designation used for the Enterprise battle group in 1971. Today, it is the Fleet Submarine Force responsible for planning and coordinating submarine operations within 7th Fleet's area of operations.
Task Force 75 — Designation of the Surface Combatant Force assigned to Seventh Fleet responsible for the cruisers and destroyers that are not assigned as escorts to aircraft carriers. Rear Admiral Rembrandt C. Robinson, U.S. Navy, at age 47, was Commander Cruiser Destroyer Flotilla Eleven and Commander, Cruiser Destroyer Group Vietnam, Seventh Fleet (CTF 75). Admiral Robinson was killed in a helicopter crash in the Gulf of Tonkin on May 8, 1972, during a late night landing approach to his flagship, the guided missile light cruiser USS Providence (CLG-6). The Seventh Fleet's flagship used to be frequently a cruiser. This cruiser, for example USS Oklahoma City (CG-5), would be assigned the designation of Task Group 70.1 when acting as fleet flagship and also act as part of Task Force 75 when carrying out Naval gunfire support.
From 19 January 1981 to 22 January, USS Barbel and Grayback (SSG-574) participated in ASWEX 81-3U off the coast of the Philippines, an exercise in shallow water ASW. The submarines opposed the transit of the oiler USNS Navasota (T-AO-106), which was escorted by the destroyers John Young (CTF 75 embarked) and Elliot, and frigates Gray, Whipple, Lang, Ramsey and through the narrow straits.
Task Force 76 — Amphibious Assault task force mainly responsible for supporting Marine landing operations. It is composed of units capable of delivering ship-to-shore assault troops, such as Tarawa-class and Wasp-class amphibious assault ships, and landing craft. Rear Admiral Richard Landolt currently commands TF 76.
Task Force 77 — 7th Fleet Mine Warfare Force composed of mine countermeasure, mine hunter, and mine control ships as well as mine countermeasure helicopters (MH-53). This task force is only activated during specific combat operations and was filled by the Commander of Mine Warfare Command. Mine Warfare Command has now been disestablished and replaced by Navy Mine and Antisubmarine Warfare Command, Naval Base Point Loma, Calif.
Task Force 78 — In 1973, Task Force 78 served as the mine clearance force that cleared Haiphong Harbour in Operation End Sweep. Major elements of the U.S. Navy mine warfare force, including Mobile Mine Command (MOMCOM), Mine Warfare Support Group (MWFSG), and HM-12 were airlifted by C-5A to NAS Cubi Point in the Philippines. These specialists formed the nucleus of Task Force 78, under the command of Rear Admiral Brian McCauley, for Operation End Sweep. Commander, Mine Force, U.S. Atlantic Fleet had reported to Vice Admiral James L. Holloway III, Commander, Seventh Fleet, in September 1972 as Commander Task Force 78. TF 78 was officially activated in November 1972. However, it became clear more helicopters were needed. Responding to a Navy request for assistance, Commanding General, Fleet Marine Force Pacific (CG FMFPAC) directed that HMH-463 deploy from MCAS Kaneohe Bay, Hawaii, to NAS Cubi Point, to join Task Force 78. On 27 November 1972, with the efficient support of Col Bill Crocker's MAG-24, HM-463 embarked at Pearl Harbor aboard USS Inchon (LPH-12), which was en route from Norfolk to augment Seventh Fleet Amphibious Forces and to participate in End Sweep.
The ceasefire was signed on 23 January 1973, and the day afterwards, major components of TF 78 deployed from Subic Bay to Haiphong. These included four ocean minesweepers (MSO), USS Inchon, and four amphibious ships, 'including two with docking capabilities to handle the minesweeping sleds towed by the CH-53Ms. During the six months of Operation End Sweep, ten ocean minesweepers, nine amphibious ships, six fleet tugs, three salvage ships, and nineteen destroyers operated in Task Force 78 in the vicinity of Haiphong.'
As of 2010, Commander Naval Forces Korea, an administrative liaison unit between USFK, the ROK Navy, and Seventh Fleet, has been assigned the TF 78 designation. Naval Forces Korea is headquartered at Yongsan and has a base at Chinhae, Commander Fleet Activities Chinhae.
Task Force 79 — The Marine expeditionary unit or Landing Force assigned to the fleet, consisting of at least a reinforced Marine battalion and its equipment. This unit is separate from the Marine Expeditionary Unit (MEU) normally embarked in USS Bonhomme Richard Amphibious Readiness Group (ARG). Marine units serving in 7th Fleet are normally drawn from III Marine Expeditionary Force based in Okinawa, Japan.
Forward-deployed Seventh Fleet ships
U.S. Fleet Activities Yokosuka, Japan
- Destroyer Squadron 15: Curtis Wilbur, John S. McCain, Fitzgerald, Stethem, Lassen, McCampbell and Mustin.
- Blue Ridge
U.S. Fleet Activities Sasebo, Japan
- USS Bonhomme Richard (LHD-6)
- USS Denver (LPD-9)
Apra Harbor, Guam
|•Vice Adm. Arthur S. Carpender||(15 March-26 November 1943)|
|•Vice Adm. Thomas C. Kinkaid||(26 November 1943 - 20 November 1945)|
|•Vice Adm. Daniel E. Barbey||(20 November 1945 - 2 October 1946)|
|•Vice Adm. Charles M. Cooke, Jr.||(2 October 1946 - 28 February 1948)|
|•Vice Adm. Oscar C. Badger II||(28 February 1948 - 28 August 1949)|
|•Vice Adm. Russell S. Berkey||(28 August 1949 - 5 April 1950)|
|•Rear Adm. Walter. F. Boone||(5 April - 20 May 1950)|
|•Vice Adm. Arthur D. Struble||(20 May 1950 - 28 March 1951)|
|•Vice Adm. Harold. M. Martin||(28 March 1951 - 3 March 1952)|
|•Vice Adm. Robert P. Briscoe||(3 March - 20 May 1952)|
|•Vice Adm. Joseph. J. Clark||(20 May 1952 - 1 December 1953)|
|•Vice Adm. Alfred M. Pride||(1 December 1953 - 9 December 1955)|
|•Vice Adm. Stuart H. Ingersoll||(19 December 1955 - 28 January 1957)|
|•Vice Adm. Wallace M. Beakley||(28 January 1957 - 30 September 1958)|
|•Vice Adm. Frederick N. Kivette||(30 September 1958 - 7 March 1960)|
|•Vice Adm. Charles D. Griffin||(7 March 1960 - 28 October 1961)|
|•Vice Adm. William A. Schoech||(28 October 1961 - 13 October 1962)|
|•Vice Adm. Thomas H. Moorer||(13 October 1962 - 15 June 1964)|
|•Vice Adm. Roy L. Johnson||(15 June 1964 - 1 March 1965)|
|•Vice Adm. Paul P. Blackburn||(1 March - 9 October 1965)|
|•Rear Adm. Joseph W. Williams, Jr.||(9 October - 13 December 1965)|
|•Vice Adm. John J. Hyland||(13 December 1965 - 6 November 1967)|
|•Vice Adm. William F. Bringle||(6 November 1967 - 10 March 1970)|
|•Vice Adm. Maurice F. Weisner||(10 March 1970 - 18 June 1971)|
|•Vice Adm. William P. Mack||(18 June 1971 - 23 May 1972)|
|•Vice Adm. James L. Holloway III||(23 May 1972 - 28 July 1973)|
|•Vice Adm. George P. Steele||(28 July 1973 - 14 June 1975)|
|•Vice Adm. Thomas B. Hayward||(14 June 1975 - 24 July 1976)|
|•Vice Adm. Robert B. Baldwin||(24 July 1976 - 31 May 1978)|
|•Vice Adm. Sylvester Robert Foley, Jr.||(31 May 1978 - 14 February 1980)|
|•Vice Adm. Carlisle A.H. Trost||(14 February 1980 - 15 September 1981)|
|•Vice Adm. M. Staser Holcomb||(15 September 1981 - 9 May 1983)|
|•Vice Adm. James R. Hogg||(9 May 1983 - 4 March 1985)|
|•Vice Adm. Paul F. McCarthy, Jr.||(4 March 1985 - 9 December 1986)|
|•Vice Adm. Paul D. Miller||(9 December 1986 - 21 October 1988)|
|•Vice Adm. Henry H. Mauz, Jr.||(21 October 1988 - 1 December 1990)|
|•Vice Adm. Stanley R. Arthur||(1 December 1990 - 3 July 1992)|
|•Vice Adm. Timothy W. Wright||(3 July 1992 - 28 July 1994)|
|•Vice Adm. Archie R. Clemins||(28 July 1994 - 13 September 1996)|
|•Vice Adm. Robert J. Natter||(13 September 1996 - 12 August 1998)|
|•Vice Adm. Walter F. Doran||(12 August 1998 - 12 July 2000)|
|•Vice Adm. James W. Metzger||(12 July 2000 - 18 July 2002)|
|•Vice Adm. Robert F. Willard||(18 July 2002 - 6 August 2004)|
|•Vice Adm. Jonathan W. Greenert||(6 August 2004 - 12 September 2006)|
|•Vice Adm. William Douglas Crowder||(12 September 2006 - 12 July 2008)|
|•Vice Adm. John M. Bird||(12 July 2008 - 10 September 2010)|
|•Vice Adm. Scott R. Van Buskirk||(10 September 2010 - 7 September 2011)|
|•Vice Adm. Scott Swift||(7 September 2011 - 31 July 2013)|
|•Vice Adm. Robert Thomas Jr.||(31 July 2013 - Present)|
- "U.S. 7th fleet forces". US Navy. Retrieved 2012-12-14.
- Edward J. Marolda, By Sea, Air, and Land, Chapter 2, U.S. Navy
- Tonkin Gulf Yacht Club
- US sailors to stay offshore in Singapore deal: Officials, Agence France Press via The Straits Times, June 2, 2012
- History of United States Naval Operations in World War II: Breaking the Bismarcks barrier, 22 July 1942-1 May 1944, p.68
- By Sea, Air, and Land, Chapter 3, U.S. Navy
- Shootdown, R.W. Johnson, Viking, N.Y. 1985,pg.194
- KAL 007: the Cover-up, David Pearson, Summit Books, 1987, N.Y.,ppg. 237,239
- Ships and Aircraft of the U.S. Fleet, 18th Edition, 2005, 37.
- US Navy Historical Center, Korean War Naval Chronology, January–April 1953, accessed March 2008
- United States Navy , accessed 7 May 2009
- Admiral James L. Holloway III, 'Aircraft carriers at war,' Naval Institute Press, 2007, ISBN 978-1-59114-391-8, 328. Note that Admiral Holloway appears to have made a mistake with the identification of the CH-53M squadron referred to on page 327. The squadron referred to appears to have been HM-12.
- Lt. Col. John Van Nortwick, 'Endsweep', Marine Corps Gazette, May 1974, via http://www.amcm.org
- Admiral James Holloway, Aircraft carriers at war, 2007, 329.
- Edward J. Marolda. Ready Seapower: A History of the U.S. Seventh Fleet. (Washington, DC: Naval History & Heritage Command, Department of the Navy, 2011. xv, 195 pp. ISBN 9780945274674).
- Edward J. Marolda, By Sea, Air, and Land: An Illustrated History of the U.S. Navy and the War in Southeast Asia (Washington: Naval Historical Center For sale by the U.S. G.P.O., Supt. of Docs., 1994). ISBN 0160359384. Online version, with "a tiny sampling" of the photos and maps of the original publication