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Naval Air Force, U.S. Pacific Fleet [COMNAVAIRPAC]
Commander Naval Air Forces (COMNAVAIRFOR / CNAF)

Commander Naval Air Force, U.S. Pacific Fleet (COMNAVAIRPAC) is the direct representative of and the principal advisor to the Commander in Chief, U.S. Pacific Fleet for the operation, support and administration of naval aviation in the Pacific.

COMNAVAIRPAC' mission is to support the U.S. Pacific Fleet and the Unified Commands by providing combat ready U.S. Naval Aviation Forces which are fully trained, properly manned, interoperable, well maintained and supported. We provide Naval aviation leadership and expertise.

All aircraft carriers, naval aircraft and aviation activities assigned to the Pacific Fleet are under the administrative control of COMNAVAIRPAC. This includes over 50,000 military personnel, 7,500 reservists, three thousand civilian employees, 1,600 state-of-the-art aircraft which are organized into 79 squadrons, and six aircraft carriers. As tasked by the Commander in Chief, U.S. Pacific Fleet, COMNAVAIRPAC's sphere of influence includes the Pacific and Indian Oceans...an area of some 100 million square miles, from the Arctic to the Antarctic, and from the Mississippi River to the Arabian Gulf.

The original existence of Commander Air Pacific was a direct outgrowth of problems associated with the rapid expansion of the Navy and naval air forces during World War II, the requirements of supporting air combat units widely deployed in the Pacific Ocean area, and the increasing importance of aviation as an element of naval striking power. These were in the background of discussions in a letter from Commander in Chief, U.S. Pacific Fleet in which Admiral Chester W Nimitz reviewed the experience of the past months and outlined some of the requirements for carrying on the war in the Pacific. He reviewed the various commands which had been established to meet the expanded requirements of war, and the extent to which they and previously existing aviation commands were creating a cumbersome organization in which several commands had similar responsibilities for supporting different types of aviation units. He considered the consolidation of their administrative functions not only necessary for an efficient command structure but essential to the economical use of men and material and to their effective deployment.

To accomplish these ends, he recommended establishment of a new command, which he called Air Pacific Fleet, to function as a Type Commander for fleet aircraft, to prepare general policy and doctrine for the operation of aviation units, to recommend the types, characteristics and numbers of aircraft required, and to carry out the strategic distribution of all air units in the Pacific area. He further recommended that subordinate commands be established within smaller geographic areas, specifically on the West Coast, to assist in performing these tasks. The eventual structure of the new air command developed pretty much along the lines recommended.

On July 29, 1942, Admiral Ernst King approved the recommendation and ordered issuance of directives to establish it. He titled the new command Commander U.S. Naval Air Forces, Pacific Fleet, short title, COMNAVAIRPAC. The necessary Pacific Fleet directive was issued in August. It established the new command effective September 1, 1942 on which date the offices of Commander Carriers, Pacific Fleet and Commander Patrol Wings, Pacific Fleet were abolished. In May 1949, Vice Admiral Harold B. Sallada and his staff moved their headquarters from Pearl Harbor, Hawaii to COMNAVAIRPAC's present location at Naval Air Station, North Island.

Commander Naval Air Forces (COMNAVAIRFOR / CNAF)

On 1 October 2001, CNO designated CINCLANTFLT as Commander Fleet Forces Command (CFFC). CFFC is responsible for coordinating, establishing and implementing integrated requirements and policies for manning, training, and equipping Atlantic and Pacific Fleet units during the inter-deployment training cycle. Subsequently, COMNVAIRPAC was established as the aviation Fleet TYCOM, Commander Naval Air Forces (CNAF), and as such, is the principle advisor to CFFC on all aviation issues impacting fleet requirements such as modernization needs, manning, training, initiatives and operational concept development. CNAF, in coordination with CFFC, acts as the spokesmen for naval aviation in providing guidance to OPNAV N78/43 in the development and execution of requirements.




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