US 4th Fleet Marks 5th Anniversary

U.S. 4th Fleet marked its 5th anniversary since the numbered fleet was reestablished July 12th 2008 during a ceremony held at Naval Station Mayport July 11th.

U.S. 4th Fleet was first established in 1943 as one of the original numbered fleets during World War II.

The United States needed a command in charge of protecting against enemy raiders, blockade runners and submarines in the South Atlantic. U.S. 4th Fleet fulfilled that mission until it was disestablished in 1950, and U.S. 2nd Fleet took over its responsibilities.

On July 12, 2008, then-Chief of Naval Operations (CNO) Adm. Gary Roughead reestablished U.S. 4th Fleet, during a ceremony at Mayport.

Since being reestablished, U.S. 4th Fleet has succesfully completed several annual deployments in its Area Of Responsibility (AOR) including Continuing Promise (CP), an annual deployment to foster goodwill and demonstrate U.S. commitment and support to Latin America and the Caribbean; Southern Partnership Station (SPS) which conducts joint, multinational and interagency cooperation missions with several partner nations, and PANAMAX an annual partnership-building exercise during which U.S. 4th Fleet serves as the maritime force commander. Each year, regional forces participate in one of the world’s largest multinational training exercises focused on defending the Panama Canal, one of the most strategically and economically important waterways in the world.

“While the overarching goal of these exercises is to develop and test command and control of forces at sea, training during this will address the spectrum of maritime operations,” Rear Admiral Sinclair Harris, commander, U.S. Naval Forces Southern Command/Commander U.S. 4th Fleet said.

U.S. 4th Fleet also played a pivotal role in Operation Unified Response, after a 7.0 magnitude earthquake struck Haiti destroying vast areas of the nation’s capital, killing an estimated 230,000 persons, trapping many thousands in wreckage, and leaving over two million without shelter. USS Carl Vinson (CVN 70), USS Bataan (LHD 5), USS Nassau (LHA 4), and USS Carter Hall (LSD 50) were sent to Haiti to support relief operations, with coordination through 4th Fleet.

Currently 4th Fleet is supporting Counter Transnational Organized Crime (C-TOC) Operations as part of Operation Martillo. Martillo – Spanish for “hammer”- is a U.S., European and Western Hemisphere partner nation effort targeting illicit trafficking routes in coastal waters along the Central American isthmus. U.S. military participation is being led by Joint Interagency Task Force South.

“Operation Martillo has been a huge success and demonstrates our clear commitment to work together with our partner nations and interagency community to combat the influence of organized crime and disrupt the flow of illicit drugs into the U.S. More than 80 percent of the narcotics entering Central America makes its way to U.S. markets via maritime littoral routes; with the main conveyance being by speedboats and submersible vessels. By teaming up with our partner nations and allied forces to scrutinize the littorals, our goal is to deny them the ability to transit so that the sea lines are not free for illicit traffic.” Said Harris.

Operation Martillo is part of the U.S. government’s coordinated regional security strategy in support of the White House strategy to combat transnational organized crime and the U.S. Central America Security Initiative.

In 2012, 144,606 kg of cocaine, 25,052 pounds of marijuana, and $3.5 million in cash were seized;339 individuals detained 106 assets seized three semi-submersibles disrupted (sunk or seized)during the course of Operation Martillo.

U.S. Naval Forces Southern Command and U.S. 4th Fleet (COMUSNAVSO/C4F) supports USSOUTHCOM joint and combined full-spectrum military operations by providing principally sea-based, forward presence to ensure freedom of maneuver in the maritime domain, to foster and sustain cooperative relationships with international partners and to fully exploit the sea as maneuver space in order to enhance regional security and promote peace, stability, and prosperity in the Caribbean, Central and South American regions.

Press Release, July 12, 2013