U.S. Fleet Forces Command History
U.S. Fleet Forces Command (COMUSFLTFORCOM) has a long, distinguished history of service to our country and the U.S. Navy. The command was originally established as Commander-in-Chief, U.S. Atlantic Fleet (CINCLANTFLT) on Jan. 1, 1906, by combining the Navy's North Atlantic and South Atlantic Squadrons.
The Fleet Concept came into being following the Spanish-American War when new bases acquired
in the Caribbean and the Pacific were considered useless unless protected by an adequate fleet.
placed great emphasis on naval readiness for war. During his first
administration, from 1901 to 1905, authorization was obtained from
Congress for 10 new battleships, four armored cruisers and 17 smaller
craft. All battleships were assigned to the Atlantic Fleet and all
armored cruisers and lighter cruisers were assigned to the newly created
U.S. Pacific Fleet.
The First Commander-in-Chief and the Great White Fleet
The first commander of the Atlantic Fleet was Rear Adm. Robley D.
Evans, who assumed command on Jan. 1, 1906, aboard his flagship, the battleship USS Maine (BB 10).
In December 1907,
Rear Adm. Evans led the fleet of 16 first line battleships out of
Hampton Roads in Virginia on the start of the famous world cruise of the Great White
Fleet (1907-1909). President Roosevelt witnessed the departure from his
yacht, the Mayflower. This ceremonious Fleet Review served as a highlight of
the Jamestown Exposition, then held at the site of the present Norfolk
History indicates a continuous use of the title "Commander-in-Chief, Atlantic Fleet" from 1906 until 1923, and again from 1941 to
2002. In a reorganization of the United States Fleet in 1923, that title
was abolished and the title "Commander Scouting Force" was used.
On Feb. 1,1941, General Order 143 reestablished the title and reorganized
the United States Fleet into three separate fleets -- Atlantic, Pacific
and Asiatic. The order further stated each fleet would be under the
command of a full admiral. On Feb. 1, 1941, Rear Adm. Ernest J.
King, in his flagship USS Texas (BB 35) at Culebra, Puerto Rico, hauled
down his two-star flag and hoisted his four-star flag as Commander-in-Chief, United States Atlantic Fleet.
Atlantic Fleet Flagships and Shore Headquarters
From April 1941 to April 1948,
four flagships served as headquarters for the Fleet Commander-in-Chief:
5, 1948, headquarters moved ashore into spaces of the former U.S. Navy
Hospital, Norfolk, on board Naval Support Activity (NSA) Hampton Roads. In 2011, the staff moved across the street to a new three-story, 46,000-square-foot headquarters building.
- USS Augusta (CA 31) from April 1941 to January 1942
- The historic
spar-decked corvette/sloop USS Constellation, which was launched in 1855, from
January 1942 to August 1942
- USS Vixen (PG 53) from August 1942 to May
- USS Pocono (AGC 16) from May 1946 to April 1948
1947 Reorganization and first Commander of U.S. Atlantic Command
The organization of the United States Armed Forces was reviewed with a
view toward reorganization after the turbulent war years. On Dec.
1, 1947, under a reorganization act of the Armed Forces approved by
Congress, the unified United States Atlantic Command was established,
with headquarters co-located to those of U.S. Atlantic Fleet. Adm.
William H.P. Blandy, Commander-in-Chief, U.S. Atlantic Fleet,
became the first Commander-in-Chief, U.S. Atlantic Command, a title that
remained dual-hatted (and would later become triple-hatted) until
another reorganization of the Armed Forces in 1985 under the
Goldwater-Nichols Act, which separated U.S. Atlantic Command from U.S.
Allied Command, Atlantic
In the early 1950s,
the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) decided to establish a
new major command -- Allied Command, Atlantic -- under the command
of a U.S. four-star admiral with headquarters in Norfolk, Va. Since this
was primarily a naval command responsible for allied defense of the
North Atlantic, the decision was made to co-locate this organization
with that of U.S. Atlantic Command and U.S. Atlantic Fleet, to form a
On April 10, 1952, Adm. Lynde D. McCormick,
Commander-in-Chief, U.S. Atlantic Command and U.S. Atlantic Fleet,
assumed the title as the first Supreme Allied Commander, Atlantic. Like
U.S. Atlantic Command, Allied Command Atlantic, remained intact and part
of a tri-hatted command organization until a congressionally mandated
reorganization of the U.S. Armed Forces occurred in 1985, which
separated command of the U.S. Atlantic Fleet from the other two commands
with its own four-star admiral. Adm. Wesley L. McDonald, was
the last U.S. Navy admiral to command all three organizations at the
same time. He relinquished command of U.S. Atlantic Fleet to Adm.
Carlisle A. H. Trost, USN, on Oct. 4, 1985.
Under the 1985 reorganization
of the U.S. Armed Forces, the admiral filling the post of Commander-in-Chief, U.S. Atlantic Fleet, would also fill the position of Deputy
Commander-in-Chief, U.S. Atlantic Command. This role for CINCLANTFLT
continued until the Secretary of Defense, in 1986, approved a separate
billet for the Deputy Commander-in-Chief, U.S. Atlantic Command. On Sept. 26, 1986, Adm. Frank B. Kelso II, relinquished the Deputy
USCINCLANT post to Maj. General Thomas G. Darling, U.S. Air Force.
1990 - 2000
From Feb. 1, 1991 to Feb. 17, 2000,
the Commander-in-Chief, U.S. Atlantic Fleet was the naval component
commander for the unified Commander-in-Chief, U.S. Southern Command (USSOUTHCOM),
assuming responsibility for all U.S. Navy operational and training
matters in the USSOUTHCOM area of responsibility.
On Feb. 17, 2000,
these responsibilities were reassigned to the Commander, U.S. Naval
Forces Southern Command (formerly Commander, South Atlantic Force),
assuming naval component commander duties for the unified USSOUTHCOM.
However, COMUSNAVSO does not have any permanently assigned afloat
forces. CINCLANTFLT, at the direction of USJFCOM (formerly USCINCLANT),
remains the major force provider for USNAVSO for forces attached in
support of USSOUTHCOM operations and exercises.
On June 1, 1992,
the Commander-in-Chief, U.S. Atlantic Fleet became the naval component
commander for the Commander-in-Chief, U.S. Strategic Command, assuming
responsibility for all U.S. Navy operational and training matters under
Commander-in-Chief, Atlantic Fleet, Concurrent as Commander, U.S. Fleet Forces Command
On Oct. 1, 2001,
the Chief of Naval Operations (CNO) designated CINCLANTFLT as concurrent
Commander, U.S. Fleet Forces Command (COMUSFLTFORCOM); a new command
responsible for overall coordination, establishment, and implementation
of integrated requirements and policies for manning, equipping, and
training Atlantic and Pacific Fleet units during the inter-deployment
On Oct. 1, 2002,
COMUSFLTFORCOM became the Naval component commander for the
newly-formed U.S. Northern Command, assuming responsibility for all U.S.
Navy operational and training matters under Commander, U.S. Northern
Change of Title
On Oct. 24, 2002,
Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld directed that the title of
"Commander-in-Chief" be reserved solely for the President of the United
States. In a message to naval commanders-in-chief, the CNO directed a change of title to that of "commander." This
change affected the U.S. Atlantic Fleet, U.S. Pacific Fleet, and U.S.
Naval Forces Europe.
Establishment of Commander, U.S. Fleet Forces Command
On May 23, 2006,
the CNO issued OPNAV NOTICE 3111, Ser
DNS-33/6U827232, that disestablished the Commander, Fleet Forces Command
(COMFLTFORCOM) and Commander, U.S. Atlantic Fleet (COMLANTFLT) and
renamed COMLANTFLT to Commander, U.S. Fleet Forces Command
(COMUSFLTFORCOM), ordered to carry out the missions currently performed
by COMFLTFORCOM and COMLANTFLT and serve as primary advocate for fleet
personnel, training, requirements, maintenance, and operational issues,
reporting administratively directly to the CNO as an Echelon 2 command.
All forces reporting to COMLANTFLT or COMFLTFORCOM will now report to
COMUSFLTFORCOM effectively immediately.
U.S. Atlantic Fleet Transition Ceremony
On Oct. 31, 2006,
a ceremony was held to officially mark the transition of the United
States Atlantic Fleet and Fleet Forces Command to the United States
Fleet Forces Command. Three of the 37 previous admirals who held the top
post in the Atlantic Fleet attended the ceremony, held aboard the
aircraft carrier USS Theodore Roosevelt (CVN 71). The command will
henceforth be known as Commander, U.S. Fleet Forces Command.