Former top SEAL to command Navy's reestablished 4th Fleet
Rear Adm. Joseph D. Kernan, the Navy's former top SEAL and current commander of the Naval Special Warfare Command, has been tapped by the Pentagon to head the reestablished 4th Fleet.
Adm. Gary Roughead, the chief of Naval Operations, announced Kernan's appointment today to head the fleet which will be responsible for naval forces operating in the Caribbean and Central and South America.
"Re-establishing the 4th Fleet recognizes the immense importance of maritime security in the southern part of the Western Hemisphere," Roughead said in a statement this afternoon, "and signals our support and interest in the civil and military maritime services in Central and South America."
Roughead said U.S. naval strategy relies on having a good working relationship with international partners "as the basis for global maritime security."
He said the new fleet will show a commitment to the region and will serve "to build confidence and trust among nations" in the region "through collective maritime security efforts that focus on common threats and mutual interests."
The new fleet, to be headquartered in Mayport, Fla., will become operational July 1, the Pentagon said. But its establishment will not involve any increase in forces assigned to Mayport.
Kernan will be the first Navy SEAL to serve as a numbered fleet commander.
The 4th Fleet, first established in 1943, was a major U.S. Navy command in the South Atlantic during World War II. Its mission was to protect the U.S. against raiders, blockade runners and enemy submarines.
The fleet was disestablished in 1950 and its responsibilities shifted to the 2nd Fleet.
The other U.S. naval fleets and their areas of operation are:
• Second Fleet, in the Atlantic.
• Third Fleet, in the Eastern Pacific.
• Fifth Fleet, in the Arabian Gulf and Indian Ocean.
• Sixth Fleet, in the Mediterranean.
• Seventh Fleet, in the Western Pacific.
During World War II, there also were an 8th, 10th and 12th fleet.
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