Commander, U.S. 4th Fleet and staff gathered at Jacksonville City Hall for a proclamation ceremony by Jacksonville Mayor Lenny Curry, proclaiming May 5 as ‘4th Fleet Day’, May.
U.S. 4th Fleet was first established in in 1943 when Adm. Ernest King announced a redesignation of U.S. Naval operating forces, with even-numbered fleets specified for the Atlantic and odd-numbered fleets in the Pacific.
U.S. 4th Fleet’s mission was to protect the vital allied shipping lanes in the South Atlantic that was being terrorized by German U-boats. It was also responsible to combat surface raiders and blockade runners. It was first headquartered in Brazil, who were the only South American country to actively support the Allied effort.
From 1942 to 1944, under U.S. 4th Fleet, allied forces sank eighteen U-boats and one Italian submarine in the South Atlantic.
Seven years after it was stood up, U.S. 4th Fleet was disbanded with U.S. 2nd Fleet taking over its responsibilities.
On April 28, 2008, then Chief of Naval Operations (CNO) Adm. Gary Roughead announced the reestablishment of U.S. 4th Fleet. Then on May 5, 2008, the memo re-establishing U.S. 4th Fleet was issued. The fleet headquarters were stood up in Mayport, Florida.
Now, U.S. 4th Fleet supports U.S. Southern Command’s joint and combined full-spectrum military operations by providing principally sea-based, forward presence to ensure freedom of maneuver in the maritime domain, to foster and sustain cooperative relationships with international partners and to fully exploit the sea as maneuver space in order to enhance regional security and promote peace, stability, and prosperity in the Caribbean, Central and South American regions.
In the last decade, U.S. 4th Fleet has successfully completed several annual deployments in its Area of Responsibility (AOR) including Continuing Promise (CP), an annual deployment to foster goodwill and demonstrate U.S. commitment and support to Latin America and the Caribbean; Southern Partnership Station (SPS) which conducts joint, multinational and interagency cooperation missions with several partner nations, and PANAMAX an annual partnership-building exercise during which U.S. 4th Fleet serves as the maritime force commander.
PANAMAX is an exercise focused on training exercises to defend the Panama Canal in which U.S. 4th Fleet serves as the maritime force command. The canal is one of the most strategically and economically important waterways in the world.
U.S. 4th Fleet coordinated the U.S. Navy response to the disaster relief operations after 7.0 magnitude earthquake struck Haiti destroying vast areas of the nation’s capital, killing an estimated 230,000 persons, trapping many thousands in wreckage, and leaving over two million without shelter. U.S. 4th Fleet exercised command and control of approximately 15,000 Sailors and Marines and nearly two dozen ships and embarked aircraft in direct support of the larger U.S. government effort.
In November, U.S. 4th Fleet led the U.S. support of the Argentine search for A.R.A. San Juan.
Currently, U.S. 4th Fleet is supporting Counter Transnational Networks (CTN) Operations as part of Operation Martillo. Martillo, Spanish for “hammer”, is a U.S., European and Western Hemisphere partner nation effort targeting illicit trafficking routes in coastal waters along the Central American isthmus. U.S. military participation is being led by Joint Interagency Task Force South.