Destroyer Squadron THREE ONE
Task Group 12.6 (CTG 12.6)
Destroyer Squadron 31 has the dual missions of serving as the Immediate Superior in Command to assigned surface combatants, and performing as a sea going Warfare Commander or Major Command asset. As an Immediate Superior in Command, Destroyer Squadron 31 develops the employment schedules, monitors and assesses training, and reports on the readiness status of squadron ships to the Type Commander and numbered Fleet Commander. As an afloat Major Commander, Commander Destroyer Squadron 31 is variously assigned by a numbered Fleet Command as a Battle Group Warfare Commander or as an independent multi-ship Major Commander at sea.
Commander, Destroyer Squadron 31 acts as principal advisor to COMASWFORPAC on surface ASW matters. As directed, Destroyer Squadron 31 conducts surface & coordinated Theater USW OPS. When operating in a theater USW role, CTG 12.6 units will be under CTF 12 OPCON. TACON may be passed to TG/ARG commander when mutually agreed.
DESTROYER SQUADRON 31, under CAPT Wilder D. BAKER, first appeared in the Organization List of the United States Navy in September 1939. During World War II, COMDESRON 31 ships saw duty as members of the Northeastern Escort (later Support) Force in Atlantic Fleet convoy escort operations. One squadron member, USS TRUXTUN was credited with the first sighting of an enemy submarine in the "Short-of-War" period just prior to World War II. On 31 October 1941, another squadron ship, USS REUBEN JAMES became the first U.S. warship lost to enemy action during World War II, when she was torpedoed by a German U-Boat while on convoy escort operations.
Disestablished in San Diego, California following the war, COMDESRON 31 remained inactive until 01 February 1968, when it was reactivated as a unit of the Seventh Fleet operating in the waters of Southeast Asia. Deactivated briefly in early 1970, the squadron was reactivated for a second time on 15 June 1971 and has remained since on continuous active duty, completing twelve deployments to the Western Pacific, Indian Ocean and Persian Gulf. COMDESRON 31 shifted homeports to Pearl Harbor, Hawaii in 1991.
On 1 September 1985, USS HEWITT (DD 966) and other members of Destroyer Squadron THIRTY-ONE became the first Pacific Fleet Anti-Submarine Warfare Squadron. The squadron's basic mission was to locate and track submarines in the Eastern Pacific, to develop USW tactics and training, and to serve as a ready response force under Commander, THIRD Fleet. COMDESRON 31 was designated as the Pacific Fleet Anti-Submarine Warfare Squadron and was tasked with developing interoperability between U.S. and Allied forces. It has served as the core force for Undersea Warfare (USW) training and has fostered USW tactical development. COMDESRON 31 also serves as the USW ready response force under Commander, Anti-Submarine Warfare Force, U.S. Pacific Fleet.
From April 1993 to December 1994, COMDESRON 31 made three deployments to the Arabian Gulf in support of Maritime Intercept Operations and Operations DESERT STORM, SOUTHERN WATCH and VIGILANT WARRIOR. While in the Gulf, COMDESRON 31 also coordinated and conducted thirteen multi-lateral exercises with naval units from ten different allied and Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) nations.
In October 1995, COMDESRON 31 assumed duties as Intermediate Superior in Command for five ships; USS CROMMELIN (FFG 37), USS LEFTWICH (DD 984), USS FLETCHER (DD 992), USS RUSSELL (DDG 59) and USS PAUL HAMILTON (DDG 60). In addition to direct oversight of the training, maintenance and readiness of these ships, the staff has operated with units of USS KITTY HAWK (CV 63) Battle Group, serving as Undersea Warfare and Maritime Intercept Commander during RIMPAC96, JTFEX 97-2 and from October 1996 through April 1997 in the Persian Gulf.
Since this Arabian Gulf deployment, COMDESRON 31 has assumed the duties as Officer In Tactical Command of several USW exercises, and in October and November of 1997 embarked USS RUSSELL (DDG 59) and deployed to Canada for MARCOT 97, a bilateral inter-operability exercise with the Canadian Navy. In March 1998 USS LEFTWICH (DD-984) was decommissioned, and is currently moored in WESTLOC, Hawaii. USS LEFTWICH was the first Spruance class destroyer to be decommissioned. Currenty, Commodore Frank Guest and his stafff are embarked on the USS FORT MCHENRY (LSD 43), homeported out of Sasebo Japan, and fulfilling the duties as Officer in Tactical Command of CARAT 98. CARAT which stands for Cooperation Afloat Readiness and Training Exercise is an annual series of bi-lateral exercises with the military forces of the countries of Brunei, Indonesia, Malaysia, Singapore and Thailand.
As of November 1998, COMDESRON 31 was aligned with COMCRUDESGRU 3, and the Lincoln Battle Group. The Battlegroup included DDG 60 PAUL HAMILTON, DD 992 FLETCHER, and FFG 37 CROMMELIN.
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