MAYPORT, Fla. (NNS) — Chief of Naval Operations Adm. Gary Roughead officially re-established U.S. 4th Fleet and named Rear Adm. Joseph D. Kernan as its commander during a ceremony at Naval Station Mayport July 12.
The ceremony followed the U.S. Naval Forces Southern Command (NAVSO) change of command, during which Kernan relieved Rear Adm. James W. Stevenson Jr.
Kernan, the dual-hatted NAVSO and 4th Fleet commander, is responsible for U.S. Navy ships, aircraft and submarines assigned from east and west coast fleets to operate in the U.S. Southern Command (SOUTHCOM) area of focus, which encompasses the Caribbean, Central and South America and surrounding waters.
“Re-establishing the Fourth Fleet affirms our support for, and our desire to, enhance cooperative relationships with the navies and maritime services in the Caribbean and Central and South America. It recognizes the immense importance of maritime security in the region,” said Roughead.
“Our maritime strategy raises the importance of forming global maritime partnerships by working with international partners as the basis for global maritime security. Re-establishing Fourth Fleet allows us to more effectively employ naval forces to build confidence and trust among nations through collective maritime security efforts that focus on mutual interests.”
Fourth Fleet was first established in 1943 as one of the original numbered fleets. During World War II, the United States needed a command in charge of protecting against raiders, blockade runners and enemy submarines in the South Atlantic. Fourth Fleet fulfilled that mission until it was disestablished in 1950, and U.S. 2nd Fleet took over its responsibilities.
My guess is that this fleet will be doing a lot a drug interdiction work, and will be keeping an eye on Venezuela, Cuba, Nicaragua, and incursions by Eastern Hemisphere Navies.
The fleet will be headquarters at the Mayport Naval Station in Jacksonville, Florida.