Commander Submarine Force, U.S. Pacific Fleet
Commander, Task Force 14 (CTF-14)
Commander, Task Force 34 (CTF-34)
Commander, Task Force 134 (CTF-134)
Although the U.S. Pacific Fleet is primarily a force provider, five numbered fleet and operational commanders report directly to CINCPACFLT. Commander, Task Force 14 (CTF-14) conducts submarine operations throughout the theater.
As Commander, Task Force 134, COMSUBPAC operates, on behalf of the Strategic Command, Pacific Fleet ballistic missile submarines. COMSUBPAC is an operational commander for the Commander in Chief, U.S. Strategic Command (STRATCOM) for strategic deterrent submarine operations.
The Pacific Submarine Force came to Hawaii in 1914 when four F-class boats were towed from San Francisco to Honolulu. They operated out of Honolulu Harbor until they were replaced by four K-class submarines which operated from Kuahua Island in Pearl Harbor from 1915-1917 when they were recalled to the mainland with America's entry into World War I. Submarines returned to Hawaii in 1919 when six R-class boats arrived at Pearl Harbor. The inventory in Hawaii continued to grow and by the outset of World War II, 22 of the 51 American submarines in the Pacific were homported at Pearl Harbor.
The Japanese surprise attack on Pearl Harbor decimated the surface fleet, but left the submarine force intact. It was up to submarines to take the fight to the enemy. By war's end, submarines had supported all major fleet operations and had made 488 war patrols. Pacific Fleet submarines accounted for 54 percent (5 million tons) of all enemy shipping sunk during the war. Success was Costly. Fifty-two submarines with 374 officers and 3,131 enlisted men, were lost and are considered to be still at patrol.
Submarine design and development moved ahead rapidly during the war and continued into the 1950's. In 1958, the era of nuclear power came to the Pacific Fleet with the arrival of USS SARGO (SSN 583). Nuclear power revolutionized submarine operations by combining improved operating capability with increased speed and remarkable endurance.
In 1959, the Navy commissioned USS George Washington (SSBN 598), the first of 41 POLARIS ballistic missile submarines. These ships put strategic deterrence at sea in both the Atlantic and Pacific. Ten POLARIS ships operated out of Guam as part of Submarine Squadron FIFTEEN in the 1960's and 70's.
The next major change in submarine capabilities was in 1978 when USS LOS ANGELES (SSN 688) joined PERMIT and STURGEON class ships operating in the Pacific.
In August 1982, America's newest ballistic missile submarine, USS OHIO (SSBN 726), arrived in the Pacific. Commonly referred to as TRIDENT submarines after the type of missile they carry, these ships are a follow-on to the POSEIDON ships. The eight TRIDENTs of SUBPAC operate out of their home port at Bangor, Washington. The TRIDENT system is the most secure leg of America's strategic triad, offering the ultimate in stealth technology; they are virtually undetectable in the opaque oceans of the world.
The evolution of submarines from purely sea-oriented weapons to multi-mission sea, and land, strike platforms makes them ideally suited to keep peace with a rapidly changing global mission, and they have become increasingly involved in response to regional tensions.
The speed, stealth, endurance and firepower of today's nuclear submarine was demonstrated in 1991 during America's participation in Operation Desert Shield and Operation Desert Storm. Used primarily as surveillance platforms, USS CHICAGO (SSN 721) and USS LOUISVILLE (SSN 724) operated in conjunction with Allied Naval Forces in the Red Sea. On January 19, 1991, USS LOUISVILLE made the transition from passive surveillance to active combatant, becoming the first submarine in history to launch a TOMAHAWK cruise missile against an enemy target. A year and a half later, USS LOUISVILLE wrote another chapter in submarine operations when she became the first attack submarine to work up and deploy with a carrier battle group in the Pacific. A few months later, USS TOPEKA (SSN 754) deployed to waters new to submarine operations as she transited the Strait of Hormuz into the shallow waters of the Persian Gulf.
Today, U.S. Pacific Fleet submarines are operating independently and with aircraft, surface combatants and amphibious ships as well as special warfare forces and navies of other countries in deep, and shallow, waters throughout the Pacific, Indian and Arctic Oceans and the Persian Gulf.
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