US Navy’s 7th Fleet marks 75th anniversary

US 7th Fleet commander on March 15 kicked off a series of celebrations to mark the 75th anniversary of the 7th Fleet at the place where the command was formed 75 years ago.

“7th Fleet Sailors have flown, sailed, operated and lived in the Indo-Pacific for 75 years,” said Vice Adm. Phil Sawyer, Commander, US 7th Fleet, during a ceremonial speech at MacArthur Chambers in Brisbane, Australia. “While conflict is not inevitable, security doesn’t happen by itself either, and that’s why we’ll continue to prepare for any situation that requires our forces.”

US 7th Fleet was formed on Mar. 15, 1943 in Brisbane Australia during World War II under the command of Adm. Arthur S. “Chips” Carpender. As command historian Chief Cryptologic Technician (Technical) Kevin Murphy explained, it was 7th Fleet’s second commander, Vice Adm. Thomas Kinkaid, who fostered the climate of joint service cooperation and improved relationships with partners and allies that made 7th Fleet successful.

“Carpender and [Gen. Douglas] MacArthur were on completely divergent courses,” Murphy said. “Kinkaid helped smooth relations between the Army and Navy in the Pacific, directly impacting the success of operations in New Guinea and the Philippines.

Lt. Cmdr. Jerry Tzeng, the US 7th Fleet South Asia desk officer, said those lessons are still being honed today. “We still do more than 110 exercises and drills with other services and countries so that we can operate together seamlessly and have those kinds of successes during regional crises,” said Tzeng. “Last year alone, we saw great success in bilateral and trilateral cooperation across all task forces, including ANNUALEX, Cobra Gold, Key Resolve, Malabar and Talisman Saber.”

In Yokosuka, Japan, the 7th Fleet staff celebrated their own contributions to 7th Fleet history with an outdoor potluck.

“You make a difference every day,” said Deputy Commander, U.S. 7th Fleet Joey Dodgen. “We are the most prepared, highly trained and the most capable force in the Indo Pacific. Our carriers, amphibious assault ships, aircraft and most importantly, our people, are ready today to face regional challenges and lead our Navy’s forces in this theater, just as the officers and Sailors of 7th Fleet have done for 75 years. So thank you for all that you do.”

Cryptologic Technician (Technical) 1st Class Petty Officer Kevin C. Tipton Jr., the U.S. 7th Fleet Sailor of the Year, said he was honored to be part of the history and crew of a 7th Fleet, and pointed to his accomplishments as proof of the fleet’s professional and career opportunities.

“Being forward-deployed to 7th Fleet has been an amazing experience, both in terms of quality of life, diversity of port calls for me and cultural education for me and my family,” said Tipton. “I’ve been to 10 countries in the last two years. I would recommend a 7th Fleet billet to any Sailor, and can’t wait to take the lessons I’ve learned here to my next duty station.”