Presentation of the USA 6th Fleet

Naval Forces Europe/Sixth Fleet is a US Navy operational unit, headquartered on the command ship Mount Whitney (LCC-20) with its homeport in Gaeta, Italy and operating in the Mediterranean Sea. Naval Forces Europe/Sixth Fleet consists of approximately 40 ships, 175 aircraft and 21,000 people. Sixth Fleet amalgamated its headquarters with United States Naval Forces Europe in the last two years as part of DOD reductions in headquarters, but CNE/C6F still retains both a full four-star admiral and a vice admiral. The principal striking power of Naval Forces Europe/Sixth Fleet resides in its aircraft carriers and their modern jet aircraft, its submarines, and its reinforced battalion of US Marines on board amphibious ships deployed in the Mediterranean.
History and recent operations
The United States has maintained a naval presence in the Mediterranean since the early 19th century, when U.S. Naval forces first engaged the Barbary Pirates to prevent them from interfering with commercial shipping. The earliest squadron was known as the Mediterranean Squadron.

In 1946, President Truman dispatched battleship Missouri to the Eastern Mediterranean to counter Soviet threats to Turkey and Iran. The small fleet maintained in the Mediterranean by U.S. Naval Forces, Eastern Atlantic and Mediterranean was known as Naval Forces Mediterranean and had as its flagship, a destroyer tender, anchored at Naples, Italy. The cruiser USS Dayton relieved the tender USS Shenandoah as flagship and began operating with the fleet. The title of Naval Forces Mediterranean was changed to Commander Sixth Task Fleet and then, in 1950, Commander, Sixth Fleet. Sixth Fleet operated in support of American forces during Operation Blue Bat in Lebanon in 1958.

The Sixth Fleet provided military, logistical and humanitarian assistance to support NATO operations in Kosovo from the beginning of Operation Allied Force. It also participated in Operation Shining Hope and Operation Joint Guardian.


The Sixth Fleet has both US national and NATO responsibilities. The Commander of the Sixth Fleet, Vice Adm. John “Boomer” Stufflebeem, reports to the Commander, U.S. Naval Forces, Europe in the U.S. chain of command and to Joint Forces Command Naples when the Sixth Fleet operates as part of NATO as COMSTRKFORNATO (Commander Striking Forces NATO). Commander, Sixth Fleet is forward deployed on USS Mount Whitney (LCC-20) and (previously on USS La Salle (AGF-3)) in Gaeta, Italy.

The Sixth Fleet is operationally organized into task forces. Each task force is responsible to the Sixth Fleet Commander for specific functions related to assigned units. When strike groups deploy to the Mediterranean from the Atlantic they ‘inchop’ (transfer command) from Second Fleet to Sixth Fleet. When they pass through the Suez canal they inchop to Fifth Fleet.

Task Force 60 Battle Force

Commander, Destroyer Squadron Six Zero (COMDESRON SIX ZERO) was established as the Navy’s newest Destroyer Squadron on the 19 February 2003 homeported in Gaeta, Italy. The establishment of Destroyer Squadron Sixty provided CNE/COMSIXTHFLT with a permanently assigned destroyer squadron commander, increasing the Commander’s options when undertaking national and theater level tasking. The primary mission assigned to Commander Destroyer Squadron Sixty is to conduct prompt, precise, sustained combat or non-combat operations as Commander Task Force 60, Sea Combat Commander, and when directed Maritime Interception Operations Commander.

To accomplish these various missions, CDS 60 employs surface combatants, submarines, aircraft, SEALs, Marines, other services’, and NATO forces assigned to the Sixth Fleet area of operations to ensure sea lines of communications within the United States European Command Area of Responsibility remain open.

Task Force 60 is Sixth Fleet’s Battle Force. When a Carrier Strike Group ‘inchops’ into the Mediterranean it is usually designated TF 60. The Task Force can be comprise of one or more aircraft carriers, each with an accompanying complement of approximately six cruisers and destroyers. On board the aircraft carrier is an air wing of 65 – 85 aircraft. The air wing is the primary striking arm of the Strike Group, and includes attack, fighter, anti-submarine, and reconnaissance aircraft. Ships accompanying the carrier serve as defensive and offensive platforms with duties involving anti-air, surface and submarine warfare. In addition to its major role of controlling the seas, the Strike Group can also project its power over land.
Task Force 61, Amphibious Assault Force

Task Force 61 is the Mediterranean Amphibious Ready Group (MARG). It is composed of approximately three amphibious ships and their embarked landing craft. From these ships, United States Marine ground forces can move ashore by sea and air in amphibious assault of emergency evacuation missions. Once ashore, the ships of Task Force 61 logistically support the ground forces, until the objective of the landing has been accomplished, and the Marine Forces return to the ships.
Task Force 62, Landing Force (Marine Expeditionary Unit)
Task Force 62 is the combat-ready ground force composed of a Marine Expeditionary Unit (MEU) of approximately 1,800 Marines. Transported in Task Force 61 ships, the MEU is equipped with armor, artillery, and transport helicopters that enable it to conduct operations ashore, or evacuate civilians from troubled areas. This MEU is usually from II MEF on the East Coast.
[edit] Task Force 63 Logistics Force

Task Force 63 is the Logistics Force. Composed of oilers, provision ships, and repair ships, its mission is the delivery of supplies at sea, and effecting repairs to other ships and equipment of the Fleet.

Task Force 64 Strategic Missile Deterrence

Task Force 64 consisted of nuclear-powered submarines armed with long-range strategic missiles (SSBN). Until the end of the 1970s these ships were homeported in Naval Station Rota, Spain. The mission is strategic deterrence. It is extremely unlikely that any SSBNs are actually still assigned or operate with CNE/C6F in the Mediterranean.

Task Force 67 Land-Based Maritime Patrol Aircraft
Task Force 67 is composed of land-based maritime patrol aircraft. These aircraft operate over the waters of the Mediterranean in anti-submarine, reconnaissance, surveillance, and mining roles.

Task Force 68, Maritime Force Protection Force
Established March 17, 2005, CTF 68 is to command force protection forces such as construction battalions, mobile mine assembly units, Marine Corps security forces, and Fleet Anti-Terrorism Teams (FAST).
Task Force 66/69 Submarine Warfare
Task Force 66/69 is responsible for planning and coordinating area submarine and anti-submarine warfare operations in the Mediterranean. Specifically, Task Force 69 is composed of attack submarines that provide capability to destroy enemy surface ships and submarines, as well as protect other Sixth Fleet ships from attack.

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