Military


Commander, U.S. Pacific Fleet (COMPACFLT)
Commander in Chief, U.S. Pacific Fleet (CINCPACFLT)

CINCPACFLT staff reports administratively to the Chief of Naval Operations, and operationally to the Commander in Chief, U.S. Pacific Command (USCINCPAC). In the Pacific Fleet Chain-of-Command, Type Commanders, Numbered Fleet Commanders (and Operational Commanders) and Regional Commanders within the Pacific Fleet AOR report to CINCPACFLT. CINCPACFLT provides ships, Sailors and Marines in support of several force users within the Department of Defense.

The U.S. Navy's Pacific Fleet covers more than 50% of the earth' surface, encompassing just over 100 million square miles. Each day, Pacific Fleet ships are at sea in the Pacific, Indian, and Arctic Oceans, from the west coast of the U.S. to the Arabian Gulf. The Pacific Fleet encompasses approximately 200 ships, 2,000 aircraft and 250,000 Sailors and Marines. Together they keep the sea lanes open, deter aggression, provide regional stability, and support humanitarian relief activities.

The mission of the Commander in Chief, U.S. Pacific Fleet, is to support the U.S. Pacific Command's theater strategy, and to provide interoperable, trained and combat-ready naval forces to USCINCPAC and other U.S. unified commanders. This mission reflects changes since 1986, when the U.S. Congress passed the Goldwater-Nichols Act of 1986 to engender more cooperation and "jointness" between the armed services. CINCPACFLT's role has transitioned from that of warfighter to that of force provider, sustainer and trainer for the unified commanders. The net effect of this change is that the operational chains of command are now shorter and more direct, while CINCPACFLT and other force providers are able to focus on maintaining readiness.

The Pacific Fleet established its new headquarters at Pearl Harbor on February 1, 1941. Ten months later, on December 7th, America's dreaded "Day of Infamy", ships of the Pacific Fleet were attacked at Pearl Harbor, thrusting America into World War II.

The Pacific Theater raised to glory some of history's finest Naval commanders whose legendary names include Nimitz, Halsey and Spruance. Likewise, America's most decisive blows toward achieving total victory in World War II were struck here. This dark chapter in world history would finally end with the formal surrender of the Japanese aboard USS MISSOURI (BB 63).

Five years of peace following World War II came to an end June 26, 1950, when North Korean troops attacked South Korea. The Pacific Fleet responded by providing air strikes from offshore aircraft carriers and conducting the infamous amphibious assault at Inchon. Control of the seas once again gave allied forces the decisive advantage and a Korean armistice was signed July 27, 1953.

Following a decade of peaceful operations, the Pacific Fleet was again called upon to go to war, this time in Southeast Asia. By mid-1968 the Pacific Fleet was actively engaged in the Vietnam conflict, with 225 ships committed to operations in the South China Sea. In addition to providing air support from aircraft carriers operating off the coast, Pacific Fleet Sailors patrolled the Mekong River in gunboats. The Vietnam cease-fire was signed and implemented on January 27, 1973.

In the post-Vietnam period, the U.S. Pacific Fleet increased operations with friendly and allied navies, thereby ensuring freedom of the seas for all nations. Pacific Fleet responsibilities have expanded to include the Indian Ocean, where aircraft carrier battle groups operate in support of vital U.S. national interests in the volatile part of the world.

On August 4, 1990, the U.S. Pacific Fleet Navy and Marine Corps assets began deploying to the Persian Gulf and North Arabian Sea, in support of Operations DESERT SHIELD and DESERT STORM. More than 50 Pacific Fleet ships, including USS INDEPENDENCE (CV 62), USS MIDWAY (CV 41), USS RANGER (CV 61) and USS MISSOURI (BB 63) battle groups and approximately 20 amphibious ships, were deployed. The ships ad personnel were initially used to support economic sanctions set up against Iraq after it invaded Kuwait. Operation DESERT STORM began January 16, 1991, after Iraq failed to meet a January 15, 1991, deadline to leave Kuwait.

Ships of the USS TARAWA (LHA 1) Amphibious Ready Group (ARG) demonstrated the flexibility of Naval forces in May 1991. While returning from combat duty in the Persian Gulf, the TARAWA ARG served as the centerpiece of humanitarian relief operations in cyclone-devastated Bangladesh. In the summer of 1991, SEVENTH Fleet ships converged on the Philippines to evacuate U.S. military and families after the eruption of Mount Pinatubo.

During Operation RESTORE HOPE, the humanitarian effort to end starvation in Somalia, Naval forces provided essential support from the sea. Naval forces also continued vital presence operations in the volatile Persian Gulf region.




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