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Naval Surface Group TWO
[Western Hemisphere Group Group (COMWESTHEMGRU)]
Commander Task Force 28 (CTF 28)
Commander Task Force 40 (CTF 40)

Commander Naval Surface Group Two was established 18 February 2000 and Western Hemisphere Group Group (COMWESTHEMGRU) was disestablished the same day. It is responsible for tasking of Navy assets assigned to Western Hemisphere Group (ISIC) and those ships and aircraft assigned to United States Southern Command (SOUTHCOM) in support of maritime operations in Gulf of Mexico and the waters around South America and the Caribbean.

Commander, Naval Surface Group TWO (CNSG-2) serves as Immediate Superior-in-Command for Commander, Destroyer Squadron Fourteen located in Mayport, FL and Commander, Destroyer Squadron Six located in Pascagoula, MS. CNSG-2 provides support and oversight of unit level and integrated training and readiness for the group. In addition, SNSG-2 maintains administrative functions and material readiness support for the ships and squadrons assigned to the group. CNSG-2 reports to Commander, Naval Surface Force, U.S. Atlantic Fleet.

To assist the commander in the administration and operation of his command, the CNSG-2 staff gathers and evaluates detailed and accurate information on all phases of the existing inter-deployment training cycle (IDTC). The Staff prepares plans, schedules, directives and reports based upon such information or in compliance with directives received from higher authority, and executes decisions of the commander through appropriate directives. The Staff disseminates information to subordinate commanders. Forward information and reports to higher authority rapidly, accurately, and completely, and supervises and evaluates the execution of the commander's directives by subordinate commands.

Western Hemisphere Group exercised command over 18 ships, 11 of which were based at Mayport, three Destroyer Squadrons and operational control over Navy air/surface assets performing Counter-drug operations. Western Hemisphere Group was responsible for sustained maritime operations in the waters around South America and the Caribbean region in support of national interests and unified commanders. Established in September 1995, they also act as the Caribbean Area Logistics Coordinator in support of fleet operations and national objectives.

The COMWESTHEMGRU operation center monitored WESTHEMGRU ships, two Destroyer Squadron staffs and a Coast Guard Squadron operating in the Atlantic. Additionally, it provides support to an average of 5-7 additional ships and three aircraft squadrons under the Operational Control of CTF 40, involving coordination of WESTEHEMGRU detachments in Pascagoula, Miss. and Puerto Rico. WESTHEMGRU supports execution of Senior Officer Present Afloat (SOPA) Mayport duties and responsibilities. Particularly during Hurricane season, the Command Center acts as a central clearing house for information and sortie planning. Additionally, the Command Center provides around the clock access to operational information for fleet ships and staffs at Mayport Naval Station. The command cadre coordinates emergent repair parts delivery and technical assistance for WESTHEMGRU ships deployed worldwide as well as those in the local operating area. It responds to and drafts emergent operational messages for diverse issues such as hurricane response, Force Protection guidance, and operational reports. The Command Center watch is knowledgeable on ship's schedules and able to coordinate changes as the situation requires. It also provides weather forcasts and information affecting Group plans and operations for TF 40 and TF 28 units.

The operation center watch standers also monitor and direct exercises/operations (such as Independent Deployer Exercises (INDEX's) working up WESTHEMGRU ships for deployments). INDEX is a culmination of training evolutions designed to make sure the various ships are ready for their respective missions. After ships have completed their basic and intermediate phases of training, completion of this advance phase will certify them for deployment.

Operational Control (OPCON) for ships and aircraft supporting Caribbean Contingency Force missions is exercised by Commander Task Force 28 (CTF 28). In late 1949 ships of Task Force 28 led an experimental cold weather cruise north of the Arctic Circle. The results of this cruise proved valuable in research on operating under severe cold weather conditions. Task Force 28 was involved in Operation UPHOLD DEMOCRACY, the movement of forces to Haiti to support the return of Haitian democracy. The U.S.-led Multinational Force for Haiti (MNF) began on September 19, 1994 with the approval of the UN Security Council. The Maritime Administration activated 14 of its Ready Reserve Force vessels, this time to support UPHOLD DEMOCRACY in Haiti. The ships transported military cargo from various U.S. ports to Port-au-Prince, Haiti.

Navy assets assigned to Western Hemisphere Group [WESTHEMGRU] includes ships and aircraft assigned to United States Southern Command (SOUTHCOM) in support of maritime operations in Gulf of Mexico and the waters around South America and the Caribbean. Operational Control (OPCON) for ships and aircraft supporting SOUTHCOM missions is exercised by Commander Task Force 40 (CTF 40).

Navy ships and aircraft performing counter-drug operations in waters surrounding South America and Caribbean are operationally attached to Commander Task Force 40 (CTF 40) and under tactical control of Joint Interagency Task Force East. Through integration with the Director of Joint Inter-agency Task Force East (JIATF East) and Commander, U.S. Coast Guard Atlantic Area, Navy units are significant participants in counter-drug operations. Navy aircraft and ships assist the Coast Guard in the detection, monitoring and interdiction of illegal drugs transiting from South America through Central America, hindering the flow of drugs into the U.S.

At Naval Station Roosevelt Roads, alternating P-3C Orion and E-2C Hawkeye squadrons use their aircraft to detect and monitor vessels attempting to smuggle narcotics th-rough the Caribbean basin. Stemming the flow of narcotics is accomplished through the collaborative efforts between the squad-rons, the Joint Inter-agency Task Force East and the Tactical Support Center (TSC) located within the Atlantic Fleet Weapons Training Facility (AFWTF). TSC personnel stand watch 24-hours a day, seven days a week, in the effort to stop drugs from entering the United States. They communicate with Navy air assets, gather intelligence and work closely with JIATF East.




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