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Destroyer Squadron 14

One of the Navy's oldest U.S. destroyer squadron organizations. Commander Destroyer Squadron 14 (CDS 14) is the Navy's largest destroyer squadron and is assigned to the Commander Naval Surface Group Two (CNSG-2), whose mission is to conduct maritime operations in support of national interests and unified commanders. COMDESRON 14 is the undersea and surface warfare commander for the USS AMERICA (CV 66) Battle Group (USABATGRU).

As a Regional Support Organization (RSO) and Training and Readiness Squadron, CDS 14 responsibilities are three-fold. As the Immediate Superior in Command (ISIC) of a dozen assigned surface ships homeported in Mayport, Florida and Pascagoula, Mississippi, CDS 14 executes direct oversight of assigned ships during the Maintenance, Unit Level Training and Intermediate Training Phases and discretionary oversight of assigned units while they are deployed in support of scheduled deployments, homeland defense and the Global War on Terrorism.

As ISIC, CDS-14's mission is to provide administrative guidance, exercise operational control, and maintain the highest level of combat readiness. As such, COMDESRON 14 oversees their tactical proficiency and readiness in order to ensure that they are ready to deploy to the Europe, South America, Caribbean Sea, Middle East, EASTPAC and other oceans of the world. CDS 14 is prepared to serve as the Sea Combat Commander, Undersea Warfare Commander, Surface Warfare Commander, Helicopter Element Coordinator, and Tomahawk-Strike Warfare Coordinator in support of tactical objectives during exercises and deployments.

Destroyer Squadron 14's history can be traced back to November 1920, when it began as a reserve organization in Philadelphia, PA. The squadron's last Commodore before being disestablished in 1931 was the future Fleet Admiral William F. ("Bull") Halsey. Early in World War II, Destroyer Squadron 14 was reestablished as a unit in the Pacific Fleet and performed duty in the Aleutian Area. During the "Battle of Komondarskie" when confronted by a Japanese force of eleven ships, three destroyers of DESRON 14 daringly attacked the enemy to cover the withdrawal of other U. S. units. Destroyer Squadron 14 units also participated in the Gilbert, Marshall Island and Borneo operations.

The Squadron was decommissioned at the end of World War II and was recommissioned in October 1946 and homeported in Newport, Rhode Island. In June 1959, the Squadron's homeport was changed to Mayport, Florida, becoming the first Destroyer Squadron ever homported there. In January 1969, Destroyer Squadron 14 deployed to the Eastern Pacific for duty with the Seventh Fleet and saw action off the coast of Vietnam.

During mid to late 1970's Destroyer Squadron 14 participated in various Fleet exercises, and deployed to South America as part of UNITAS XVII. On 4 April 1978, the Squadron's mission was re-defined to include only operational duties as DESRON 14 became an Atlantic Fleet tactical DESRON. Between 1978 and 1985, COMDESRON 14 continued extensive sea-going operations including Mediterranean deployments in 1979, 1982 and a South American UNITAS deployment in 1983. In October 1985, the Squadron participated in BALTOPS 85 operations, which marked the first time that a battleship and AEGIS cruiser participated in this multi-national exercise. In June 1986, the Squadron departed for Indian Ocean 2-86 deployment. Although originally scheduled for Indian Ocean operations, the battle group remained in the Central and Eastern Mediterranean.

COMDESRON 14 assumed duties as transit commander for Middle East Forces (MEF) in 1987 and became the first destroyer squadron assigned to Commander Middle East Force with the purpose of being the Escort Group Commander for "EARNEST WILL" transit operations of newly reflagged Kuwaiti tankers. DESRON 14 was awarded the Navy Unit Commendation as a result of this pioneering effort under combat conditions. The next deployment followed from 25 April to 25 October 1988 afforded the opportunity to operate in both the Atlantic and Indian Oceans, and the Mediterranean and the Baltic Seas. From 5 December 1988 to 8 January 1989, COMDESRON 14 assumed duties as Transit Commander for MEF 1-89, transiting from Charleston, S.C. to Bahrain in the Persian Gulf. COMDESRON 14 served again as Transit Commander for MEF 2-89 from 22 March to 11 April 1989 and then deployed once again to South America, participating in UNITAS 30-89.

In the 1990's, COMDESRON 14 conducted numerous training exercises for units about to deploy to the Middle East passing on the many lessons learned in the Middle East Force/Central Command Theater of Operations. In September of 1990, COMDESRON 14 was ordered to advance its deployment by five months to the Central Command area in support of Operation Desert Shield. During combat operations as part of Battle Force Yankee, the squadron served as the Red Sea Surface Action Group (SAG) Commander and Maritime Interdiction Force Commander. In 1992, COMDESRON 14 was again awarded the Navy Unit Commendation for its participation in Operation Desert Storm.

In the decade since the end of Desert Storm, COMDESRON 14 deployed to the Mediterranean twice and once to Red Sea once. COMDESRON FOURTEEN departed its east coast homeport of Mayport, Florida on August 10, 1993 on a regularly scheduled six month deployment to the Mediterranean as an element of the USS America (CV-66) Joint Task Group. While at Sea, ships and aircrafts of the America Joint Task Group provided a U.S. presence and are employed in operations Deny Flight and Sharp Guard in Bosnia-Herzogovenia. COMDESRON FOURTEEN'S mission in the Mediterranean was to support Operations Joint Task Four America through employment and training as assgned ships and helicopters. The staff was comprised of eight officers and seven enlisted personnel. This exceptionally versatile staff can execute its mission embarked in an aircraft carrier, cruiser or destroyer.

In 1994, COMDESRON 14 served as commander of BALTIC OPERATIONS 1994, a multi-national exercise involving 22 ships from 15 nations. During 1995 Destroyer Squadron Fourteen (DESRON 14) conducted pre-deployment work-ups and deployed to the Mediterranean Sea as part of the USS AMERICA (CV 66) Battle Group (USABATGRU). During their deployment, DESRON 14 has taken part in several multi-national naval exercises and assisted in the Bosnian peace process. COMDESRON 14 deployed to the Mediterranean as part of the USS AMERICA (CV-66) Battlegroup in August 1995 where its ships participated in strikes against Serbian held areas in Bosnia and coordinated naval preparations for the deployment of NATO forces there in December 1995. COMDESRON 14 was subsequently awarded a Meritorious Unit Commendation and the NATO Medal for the Bosnia operations.

In September 1995, the U.S. Atlantic Fleet reorganized and COMDESRON 14 became the Immediate Superior in Command (ISIC) for USS CARNEY (DDG-64), USS JOHN RODGERS (DD-983), USS O'BANNON (DD-987) and USS UNDERWOOD (FFG-36).

On September 1, 1998 COMDESRON 14 once again reorganized as a Tactical Destroyer Squadron (TACDESRON). Relinqueshing her duties as an ISIC in order to concentrate on tactical proficiency and warfighting. From October of 1998 to July 1999, COMDESRON 14 validated the TACDESRON concept with several exercises, literally around the world. The first was a short notice "fly-away" deployment to the Black Sea where they provided the leadership, warfighting skills and quick response to conduct Exercise Sea Breeze 98 which involved eleven nations and twenty-seven ships. Since then, COMDESRON 14 has served as the Atlantic Fleet's Opposition Force Commander in Joint Task Force Exercises, provided for the pre-deployment training of seven independent deploying warships, and became the Fleet's experts in Net-Centric ASW in ASWEX '99 for Commander Second Fleet and Third Fleet's Battle Experiment "Echo".

From 11-21 January 1999 personnel from Destroyer Squadron (DESRON) 14 joined 2nd Fleet staff aboard USS Mount Whitney (LCC 20) to further develop the Navy's Net-Centric Anti-Submarine Warfare (ASW) concept. Net-Centric ASW applies modern technology to link warriors, sensors and operators into a network for the purpose of providing accurate and timely tactical information and recommendations to ASW forces. The Net-Centric concept uses Internet protocol and secure encryption methods to exchange information. The goal is to exchange tactically significant information as easily as surfing the Internet at home. A Net-Centric ASW center was established to support the United Kingdom's Anti-Submarine Warfare Exercise (ASWEX) `99. During the exercise, DESRON-14 operated off the coast of Virginia. The U.K. task group, which included maritime forces from France, Spain and the Netherlands, operated in the southwestern approaches of the English Channel.

DESRON-14 Sailors spent several weeks preparing for the exercise. Four of the days were dedicated to becoming proficient with sophisticated Tactical Decision Aids (TDA) that were used during the exercise. These TDAs processed environmental data, noise data, and sensor capabilities to develop the best plans for both warships and maritime patrol aircraft to locate opposing submarines. In the Eastern Atlantic, the UKTG relayed environmental data, contact data and tactical plans to DESRON-14 and processed through the computerized Tactical Decision Aids (TDA). The tactical data and exercise recommendations derived from the UKTG raw inputs, TDA outputs and recommendations from various experts were evaluated by DESRON 14 staff and then provided to the UKTG commander. ASWEX `99 provided both a successful demonstration of the ASW Net-Centric concept and a baseline for continued development. It proved high-speed analysis tools, focused training and state-of-the-art connectivity can minimize the limitations of being geographically separated. DESRON 14 plans to continue their education in the development and testing of Net-Centric ASW warfare while staying on the cutting edge of technology.

On August 1, 1999, COMDESRON 14 became the Immediate Superior in Command (ISIC) for eight Mayport warships. In September and October of 2000, the DESRON deployed again to South America for Unitas 41-00. In 2001, COMDESRON 14 conducted several independent deployment training exercises and lead U.S. force during the Atlantic Phase of Unitas 42-01.

Beginning July 2004, CDS 14's mission expanded to include overseeing the Training and Readiness for 10 ships homeported in Mayport FL and 3 ships homeported in Pascagoula MS. This included one cruiser and four frigates formerly assigned to COMDESRON SIX.

Upon completion of Post-Deployment Maintenance periods and Unit Level Training, CDS 14 provides surge ready assets to conduct independent and ESG/CSG deployments to SECONDFLT, THIRDFLT, FIFTHFLT and SIXTHFLT areas of responsibility in support of global naval presence, counter drug operations, and homeland defense.

As an Immediate Superior in Command (ISIC) of 13 warships, CDS 14 oversees the tactical proficiency, administrative support, and material readiness of these ships in order to ensure they are ready to deploy to the Mediterranean Sea, Caribbean, Persian Gulf, and other oceans of the world.

In addition to serving ISIC for these 13 ships, CDS 14 serves as Hurricane Sortie Commander for Pascagoula MS and also serves as COMSECONDFLT Coordinating Authority for Anti-Terrorism and Force Protection. In addition to these roles, CDS 14 has the added responsibility of providing medical, career counselor, religious, manpower management and equal opportunity support to 13 ships homeported in Pascagoula MS and Mayport FL. This number was reduced to a dozen in August 2005 with the decomissioning of DD-987 O'Bannon.




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