Task Force 20
|Task Force 20 (TF-20)|
|Active||1946 – 2012|
|Country||United States of America|
|Branch||United States Navy|
|Part of||United States Second Fleet|
|Garrison/HQ||Naval Station Norfolk, Virginia|
Task Force 20 was a task force for the now-deactivated United States Second Fleet, as well as a now-inactive task force for the United States Fleet Forces Command. In its Second Fleet role, TF-20 served as that fleet's Battle Force. In its subsequent role in the Fleet Forces Command, TF-20 served in a training role for U.S. naval units preparing to deploy to the United States Sixth Fleet in the East Atlantic Ocean and Mediterranean Sea, as well as the United States Fifth Fleet in the Indian Ocean and the Persian Gulf.
Task Force 20 was one of the task force designators assigned to the United States Fleet Forces Command in the Atlantic, and was previously one of the task force designators assigned to the United States Second Fleet. According to Norman Polmar, writing in Ships and Aircraft of the U.S. Fleet, the designator was reserved for the Second Fleet's Battle Force, and the commander of that force was to be Commander, Second Fleet. This was the documented case from 1978–87, and from probably much earlier. The task force was probably intended primarily at that time to undertake attacks on Soviet Navy bases on the Kola Peninsula in the event of a general war.
From 21–27 November 1946, USS Missouri (BB-63) was en route to Davis Strait as part of Task Group 20.2, which also included the cruiser Little Rock and destroyer USS Fechteler. Between 27 November and 4 December, she participated in cold-weather exercises in Davis Strait, between Greenland and East Baffin Island, as part of Task Group 20.2. An incident during that cruise involving the USS Little Rock. She was off the port side firing 5-inch star shells for illumination, to spot icebergs, when there was a misfire. According to standard procedure the gunner began to point the barrel toward the water to wait out a hangfire. However, the round cooked off halfway down. The round hit the Missouri on the signal bridge, killing Coxswain Robert Fountain and starting a fire involving an acetylene tank which was lashed to the railing. One or two officers' cabins were destroyed as well. Missouri did not get back to Norfolk until 13 December 1946. Commander Carrier Group 6 served as CTG 20.2 for a Mediterranean deployment aboard USS America (CV-66) in April 1984.
In late October 1983, USS Independence (CV-62)'s battle group (Carrier Group Four), assigned to the Second Fleet, became the core of Task Group 20.5, the carrier task group that would support the Invasion of Grenada. On 25 October 1983, aircraft from Independence's embarked air wing flew missions supporting the invasion.
The post of Commander, Task Force 20, which was an additional post for the fleet's commander during the fleet's existence, has been maintained as a three-star vice admiral's position who also concurrently serves as the deputy commander of Fleet & Joint Operations, the deputy commander of U.S. Fleet Forces Command and the director of Combined Joint Operations From The Sea, Centre of Excellence. Task Force 20 was commanded by Vice Admiral David H. Buss) from 30 September 2011 until its disestablishment on 24 August 2012.
In effect, the tasks of the Second Fleet commander and staff were reassigned to Commander, Task Force 20 until Fleet Forces Command was reorganized on 14 September 2012. The Commander, Fleet Forces Command said on his blog that 'It was for these reasons that I approved the establishment of two DCOM billets, the 3-Star DCOM for Fleet and Joint Operations (DCOM-FJO) and the 2-Star DCOM for Fleet Management/Chief of Staff (DCOM-FM/COS). These two individuals will report directly to me for their respective portfolios. Recognizing the significant increase in direct report subordinate commands, I will also dual-hat the DCOM-FJO as Commander, Task Force 20 (CTF 20), with delegated command responsibilities for SECOND Fleet's subordinate commands (Commander Strike Force Training Atlantic (CSFTL), 4 x CSG, ESG-2) and Second Fleet’s existing Task Forces and Task Groups.'
- Polmar, Ships and Aircraftof the US Fleet, Fourteenth Edition, 1987, ISBN 978-0-87021-649-7, 18.
- USS Missouri Association
- U.S. Navy, Task Force 20, accessed October 2011
- Commander, Fleet Forces Command blog, 1 May 2011 blog entry, accessed October 2011
- "USFF Commanders Guidance Brief to Senior Staff 17 Sep_FINAL". Scribd.com. 17 September 2012. Retrieved 2012-04-15.
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