Carrier Group Two
Currently assigned to Commander Second Fleet, COMCAGRU TWO is tasked with preparing the USS Harry S Truman (CVN 75) Battle Group to conduct naval and joint operations in support of national policy objectives. Commander, Carrier Group TWO was originally commissioned as Carrier Division TWO on Sept. 30, 1937 to serve as Commander and Immediate Superior in Chain of Command of the soon-to-be delivered USS YORKTOWN (CV 5) and USS ENTERPRISE (CV 6), the first U.S. Navy ships designed from the keel up as aircraft carriers.
The mission of CARDIV TWO was, primarily, supervision of the training of the two carrier and their assigned air groups with the ultimate goal of furnishing fleet aviation support to the Battle Force. Additionally, a constant search for, and evaluation of, new tactics for Naval aviation was pursued. Through the years this mission evolved considerably as the carrier no longer served as the supporting element of the Battle Group, but, instead, the initial presence and major striking power of the United States. With this expansion of mission, the responsibilities of the carrier division commander during fleet operations changed from command of a supporting element to command of the force itself, changing the command name to Commander, Carrier Group TWO.
The ensuing years brought greater responsibilities for Commander, Carrier Group TWO as carrier aviation continued to develop as an arm of U.S. power projection. The carrier that served as the staff's flagships reads like a "Who's Who" of United States history, including YORKTOWN, ENTERPRISE, USS FRANKLIN (CV 13), USS LEXINGTON (CV 16), USS WASP, USS ESSEX, USS BENNINGTON, USS BOXER, USS ANTIETAM, USS PRINCETON, USS TARAWA, USS LEYTE, USS CORAL SEA, USS ROOSEVELT, USS INTREPID, USS RANDOLPH, USS INDEPENDENCE (CV 61), USS CONSTELLATION (CV 64), USS SARATOGA (CV 60), USS JOHN C. STENNIS (CVN 74) and USS JOHN F. KENNEDY (CV 67).
Underway on board the flagship ENTERPRISE during the attack at Pearl Harbor, CARDIV TWO patrolled the Hawaiian Islands;ands to prevent the return of the Japanese Forces by conducting five bombing attacks on submarines and sinking one. In April 1942, while still embarked in ENTERPRISE, the staff rendezvoused with USS HORNET (CV 8), escort group for Doolittle's famous B-25C bombing raid against Tokyo. The remainder of World War II saw action for CARDIV TWO onboard her flagship, USS FRANKLIN (CV 13). The ships of the division operated in support of the Pacific Campaign from Guam, through the Philippines, Okinawa, Iwo Jima and ultimately Japan, until the Rising Sun finally surrendered, ending the hostilities.
The CARDIV TWO flag transferred to ENTERPRISE, LEXINGTON and HANCOCK (CV 19) at various times due to heavy casualties sustained by FRANKLIN throughout the war, including a suicide bomber attack in October 1944. An interesting war diary entry for Aug. 15, 1945 reads, "After two strikes had been launched against the Tokyo area, the task group received orders from CTF 38 to suspend all offensive air operations."
In July 1964, following a six-month Mediterranean deployment, COMCARDIV TWO, embarked in USS ENTERPRISE (CVN 65), was designated Commander Task Force ONE with USS LONG BEACH (CGN 9) and USS BAINBRIDGE (DDGN 25) also assigned. Nuclear Task Force ONE, as the operation came to be known, began a circumnavigation of the globe which would include 57 days under way and 7 days inport. During the historic cruise, air and firepower demonstrations and at-sea exercises were conducted with countless countries, including Morocco, Liberia, Kenya, Pakistan, New Zealand, Australia, Argentina and Brazil.
During the Vietnam Conflict, Commander Carrier Division TWO, embarked in USS SHANGRI LA (CVA 38), USS FORRESTAL (CVA 59) and USS AMERICA (CVA 66), spent many a line period in the Gulf of Tonkin directing combat air operations against North Vietnamese Forces as the Yankee Station Commander. While on station in Southeast Asia, CARDIV TWO developed ALFA Strike tactics for coordinating attack carrier strikes. The staff also directed Sea Dragon operations, and initiated combat flight deck operations flexibility, especially at night, to further disrupt enemy personnel and material flow to the south. During this time, FORRESTAL experienced a tragic and devastating Flight Deck fire that killed 134 personnel.
The 1980s were also a particularly busty operational period for COMCARGRU TWO. During the 1986 Mediterranean deployment with USS CORAL SEA (CV 43) as flagship, the F/A-18 Hornet was introduced to the fleet. Subsequently, battle group aircraft led Operation El Dorado Canyon strikes against Libyan targets.
COMCARGRU TWO demonstrated the importance of 'training to fight' as she embarked in KENNEDY on Aug. 15, 1990 for a surge combat deployment in response to the Iraqi invasion of Kuwait. Of note, the KENNEDY Battle Group deployed for Operation DESERT SHIELD/DESERT STORM only five days after notification even though she had dispersed her air wing throughout the continental United States for training and just off-loaded stores and material in preparation for a routine yard period. Directing the largest\ battle force to go into action since World War II, COMCARGRU TWO and its three aircraft carriers were the first three carrier battle force to operate in the Red Sea.
COMCRAGRU TWO served as Commander, Joint Task Force 120 in 1994 in support of United Nations Resolutions against the military junta in Haiti. Embarked in USS SAIPAN (LHA 2) and USS WASP (LHD 4) for Operation Support Democracy, COMCARGRU TWO was instrumental in the eventual peaceful reinstitution of the democratically-elected Haitian government.
Fleet Battle Experiment Hotel (FBE-H) was conducted by units of the 2nd Fleet and personnel of the Navy Warfare Development Command (NWDC) from 28 August to 12 September 2000 off the Virginia Capes and in the Gulf of Mexico. This was the eighth in a series of fleet battle experiments designed to evaluate new naval warfare concepts and technological capabilities. FBE-H was under the direction of Vice Adm. William J. Fallon, 2nd Fleet commander and Rear Adm. Robert G. Sprigg, Navy Warfare Development Command commander. Under U.S. Joint Forces Command's overarching experiment, "Millennium Challenge 00," FBE-H ran concurrently with the U.S. Army's Joint Contingency Force Advanced Warfighting Experiment, the U.S. Air Force Joint Contingency Force Experiment 2000 and the U.S. Marine Corps' Millennium Dragon. The focus of FBE-H was the application of network centric operations in gaining and sustaining access in support of follow on joint operations. Access denial is expected to be the focus of any potential adversary's strategy. Specifically, FBE-H will further develop NWDC's draft Access Concept entitled "Poseidon's Presence."
Participating units included Carrier Group 2, Destroyer Squadron 2, USS Harry S Truman (CVN 75) and Carrier Air Wing 3 (CVW 3), USS San Jacinto (CG 56), USS Arleigh Burke (DDG 51), USS Mitscher (DDG 57), USS Porter (DDG 78), USS Alexandria (SSN 757), USS Norfolk (SSN 714), USS Augusta (SSN 710), USS Stump (DD 978), USS Deyo (DD 989), USS O'Bannon (DD 987), USS Carr (FFG 52) and HMS Cardiff. Mine warfare forces include the Mine Warfare Command, Mine Countermeasures Squadron 2, USS Scout (MCM 8), USS Devastator (MCM 6), USS Chief (MCM 14), Helicopter Mine Countermeasures Squadron 15, as well as Very Shallow Water, Special Warfare, and Explosive Ordnance Disposal Detachments. Two research vessels from the Office of Naval Research will also support the experiment.
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