Joint Task Force Odyssey Dawn (JTF-OD)
Joint Task Force Odyssey Dawn (JTF-OD) was established to provide operational and tactical command and control of U.S. military forces supporting the international response to the unrest in Libya. In response to a call for action by the Libyan people and the Arab League, the President of the United States had called for a limited military action with coalition partners under United Nations Security Council Resolution 1973, to end the violence against Libyan citizens. These operations began on 19 March 2011 as part of Operation Odyssey Dawn. As of 20 March 2011, 5,100 Sailors, Marines, Soldiers, Airmen and civilians were involved in Operation Odyssey Dawn.
As of 20 March 2011, Commander, US Naval Forces Europe-Commander, US Naval Forces Africa led JTF-OD from the USS Mount Whitney (LCC/JCC 20) in the Mediterranean Sea. The force was split into two component commands, the Joint Forces Air Component Command (JFACC), headquartered in Germany with US Air Forces Africa, and the Joint Forces Maritime Component Command (JFMCC), led by the Commander, 6th Fleet.
The JFACC consisted initially of a number of detached elements from around Europe and the United States, as well as active and reserve component elements forming the 313th Air Expeditionary Wing. Air operations from 20 March 2011 on were coordinated by the 317th Air Operations Center, US Air Forces Africa's AOC, which was colocated with US Air Forces in Europe's 306th Air Operations Center. US Air Forces in Europe had been tasked to provide support to US Air Forces Africa and the Seventeen Air Force during operations since the latter's activation.
Forces assigned to the JFMCC were initially: Expeditionary Strike Group 5 (ESG5); Navy Tactical Air Control Center 21; 5 US Navy ships; 3 US Military Sealift Command vessels; 3 US submarines; 28 Navy and Marine Corps aircraft (to include P-3, EP-3, EA-18G, AV-8B, KC-130J, MV-22, CH-53 and MH-60), elements of the 26th Marine Expeditionary Unit; explosive ordnance disposal teams, and a maritime expeditionary security squadron. Navy Tactical Air Control Center 21 had provided command and control for all strike aircraft on 19 March 2011. Also, while all of these forces were assigned to the Command, not all were actively deployed in support of operations. Those actively committed at the beginning of operations were the USS Mount Whitney (JCC/LCC 20), USS Kearsarge (LHD 3), USS Ponce (LPD 15), USS Barry (DDG 52), USS Stout (DDG 55), USS Florida (SSGN 728), USS Providence (SSN 719), and the USS Scranton (SSN 756).
In addition to US Forces, an international coalition was also formed and operated as part of Operation Odyssey Dawn. Some partners, such as Belgium, Denmark, and the Netherlands, actively operated under the control of US authorities. Others, such as Canada, France, and the United Kingdom launched their own operations in coordination with US efforts in support UN Security Council Resolution 1973, and later Resolution 1970.
On 23 March 2011, NATO agreed to take control of maritime efforts to enforce an arms embargo against Libya. This mission, called Operation Unitied Protector, did not initially involve a major US precense. The majority of US naval forces remained as part of the JFMCC continuing to operate as part of Operation Odyssey Dawn. Negotiations on a possible NATO takeover of all operations regarding Libya, including the no-fly zone and operations to protect civilians, also began.
By 24 March 2011, the USS Stout had returned to base at the Agusta Bay Port Facility in Italy. The USNS Robert E. Perry (T-AKE 5) and the USNS Kanawha (T-AO 196) remained in port at Souda Bay in Greece. The USNS Lewis and Clarke (T-AKE 1) was said to be out in the Mediterranean at that time to supply ships actively support operations. The USS Monterey (CG-61) in port in Denmark, was also said to be available to support operations.
On 31 March 2011, NATO formally integrated all remaining air operations pertaining to air operations over Libya under its command and control, with all of these operations becoming part of Operation Unified Protector. The air operations included enforcement of both the no-fly zone and operations to protect civilians. The United States involvement in operations relating to Libya remained termed Operation Odyssey Dawn.
31 March 2011 also marked the deployment of personnel from US Army Africa (USARAF) to the Joint Task Force Odyssey Dawn headquarters aboard USS Mount Whitney. This marked the first time USARAF personnel had deployed to participate combat mission.
On 27 April 2011, the Bataan Amphibious Ready Group (ARG) and the embarked 22nd Marine Expeditionary Unit (MEU) relieved the Kearsarge ARG and its embarked 26th MEU in the US 6th Fleet area of responsibility. The Bataan ARG deployed 3 months ahead of schedule to relieve the Kearsarge ARG. The Bataan ARG consisted of the USS Bataan (LHD 5), USS Mesa Verde (LPD 19), and USS Whidbey Island (LSD 41). Embarked on the ARG were the 26th MEU, along with detachments from Naval Beach Group Two (CNBG) 2, Tactical Air Control Squadron (TACRON) 21, Fleet Surgical Team Six (FST) 8, Helicopter Squadron Twenty Two (HSC) 28, Beach Master Unit (BMU) 2, Assault Craft Unit (ACU) 2 and ACU-4.
On 31 March 2011, NATO formally integrated all remaining air operations pertaining to air operations over Libya under its command and control, with all of these operations becoming part of Operation Unified Protector. Joint Task Force Odyssey Guard was inactivated and replaced by Combined Joint Task Force Unified Protector as the command element for operations over and around Libya.
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