Destroyer Squadron SIX
[ex Naval Surface Group Four]
The mission of COMDESRON SIX is to put combat ready ships to sea in support of Fleet operations. Destroyer Squadron Six is dedicated to support operations in the United States Southern Command's area of responsibility. COMDESRON SIX is the US Navy's Executive Agent for combating and countering narco-terrorism, and the development of tactics and procedures to assist in our nation's war on drugs.
Destroyer Squadron 28 (Naval Reserve Force) was Commissioned in Newport, Rhode Island on 1 December 1971 and was comprised of ten Naval Reserve Force destroyers. It was redesignated Surface Squadron Two on 01 June 1980, when Regular Navy Ships began to return to Newport.
On 24 November 1981, the Chief of Naval Operations established Commander, Naval Surface Group FOUR. The new command assimilated all elements of SURFRON TWO, the Shore Intermediate Maintenance Activities, and Atlantic Fleet Engineering Training Scholarship at Newport. By the late 1980s Naval Surface Group Four in Newport, Rhode Island consisted of 14-17 ships and three shore based activities. In February 1993, Commander, Naval Surface Group FOUR was redesignated as Commander, Destroyer Squadron SIX. The squadron consisted of seven Naval Reserve Force ships in three homeports: Norfolk, VA; Mayport, FL; and Pensacola, FL.
In April 1994, Commander, Destroyer Squadron SIX changed homeport to Pascagoula, Mississippi and subsequently was dual hatted as Commander, Naval Surface Group Pascagoula. In January 1996, as a result of Atlantic Fleet Reorganization, Commander, Naval Surface Group Pascagoula was renamed Commander, Regional Support Group Pascagoula. In April of 1998, as the result of another Atlantic Fleet Reorganization, COMDESRON SIX shifted operational control to Commander, Western Hemisphere Group, and was redesignated as a Tactical Squadron. In December of 1999, COMDESRON SIX was redesignated as a Tactical/Readiness Squadron under the operational control of Commander, Naval Surface Group TWO.
FFG-56 USS Simpson was directed to shift homeports from Norfolks VA to Mayport FL as of July 2001. This change in homeports involved an administrative transfer from COMDESRON TWO TWO to COMDESRON SIX as of March 2001.
Beginning July 2004,COMDESRON 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. By the end of 2004 COMDESRON SIX was left without assigned vessels, following the decomissioning of CG 47 Ticonderoga and
UNITAS Atlantic Phase concluded in Montevideo, Uruguay, 17 November 2004 after two weeks of seminars and training operations involving more than 2,000 people, 10 ships, two submarines and 11 aircraft from Uruguay, Argentina, Brazil, Spain and the United States. The Navy task group, led by Commander, Destroyer Squadron (CDS) 6 Capt. Dave Costa, included Mayport, Fla.,-based frigate USS DeWert (FFG 45), Pascagoula, Miss.,- based USS John L. Hall (FFG 32) and embarked helicopter detachments. This year, for the first time, UNITAS incorporated a U.S. Air Force unit into the traditionally maritime exercise. The 5th Special Operations Squadron provided real-time search and rescue support, and anti-air defense training opportunities to the surface force. At sea, the combined national task groups engaged in a robust series of multiple warfare training exercises. Each participating nation agreed to an aggressive schedule of training and exercises to be conducted during the 10-day at-sea phase.
For six months, participating nations, under the leadership of Commander, U.S. Naval Forces Southern Command (COMUSNAVSO) Rear Adm. Vinson E. Smith, and Commander of the Uruguayan Fleet Rear Adm. Oscar Debali, were intricately involved in the planning process of UNITAS 46-05. Not limited to the Navy's active component participation, COMUSNAVSO and CDS-6 Reservists supported their gaining command in Uruguay. Integrating foreign and U.S. militaries, U.S. Navy and U.S. Air Force and active-duty forces with reserve components, UNITAS continues to offer a platform for building coalition, fostering professional understanding and ultimately increasing the readiness of all participants.
Captain Dave Costa, Commander Destroyer Squadron Six (CDS 6), took a unique approach to the zero based review underway in the Naval Reserve. In January 2005 Captain Costa hosted Desron Six reserve component Commanding Officers at CDS 6 headquarters in Pascagoula to brief them on a dramatic shift in the CDS 6 active component, and thus reserve component mission.
"DESRON Six's mission has transformed considerably in the past few months, the reservist's that will be supporting the active component will come from these units, I want each CO to be thoroughly versed in the transition theory and process, and to be able to answer the questions of the reservists as to why their mission changed and what it means for their future. Complete active-reserve component integration is our goal." said Costa.
Destroyer Squadron Six is the Navy's executive agent for Counter Narco Terrorism and is focused on operations and exercises within the U.S. Southern Command Area of Responsibility. Where CDS 6 reservist once focused on the maintenance of squadron ships, the new mission dictates that the manning and training be focused on the new mission. CDS-6 reservists are now fully focused on providing operational support to exercises and operations in SOUTHCOM AOR to include the augmentation of the DESRON SIX, COMUSNAVSO, and various multi-national staffs.
"Manpower changes are being implemented to increase the CDS 6 reserve component's focus, adding officers and operationally oriented enlisted, while eliminating unneeded skill sets." Said Commodore Costa. "DESRON Six took full of advantage of the zero base review, with a new mission, new support requirements soon follow. Over the next several months DESRON Six will require significant reserve component support as we plan and execute five major SOUTHCOM exercises."
Rear Admiral Edward "Sonny" Masso, Deputy Commander Naval Surface Forces Command was also in attendance. He offered advice to the CO's on how to embrace these changes, and emphasized the importance of the new role the Naval Reserve now plays in supporting humanitarian operations and combat threats.
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