Chief of Naval Operations Adm. John Richardson presided over a ceremony establishing the U.S. 2nd Fleet and appointing Vice Admiral Andrew “Woody” Lewis as Commanding Officer during a ceremony aboard the nuclear aircraft carrier USS George HW Bush (CVN 77), August 24 , at Naval Station Norfolk, Va.
Coat of arms of the 2nd Fleet of the US Navy
“While profoundly consequential, the significance of this establishment can be summed up simply as a dynamic response to a dynamic security environment – a security environment clearly articulated in the National Defense Strategy,” said Richardson. “We first need to understand this competitive security environment and why it demands every ounce of our tenacity, ingenuity and fighting spirit. Then we can focus on the mission and how best to accomplish it; The 2nd Fleet will enhance our ability to maneuver and combat in the Atlantic and, therefore, help maintain America’s maritime superiority which will lead to the security, influence and prosperity of our nation.
Lewis assumed command as the first commander of the restored C2F, after his confirmation by the Senate on June 28. The US 2nd Fleet will be headquartered in Norfolk. All of Lewis’s operational command tours were on the East Coast, giving him an intimate familiarity with Atlantic operations. Most recently, he commanded Carrier Strike Group 12 and deployed with the USS Theodore Roosevelt (CVN 71) in the areas of operations of the US 6th and 5th Fleets.
“I am truly honored to lead this fleet. The US 2nd Fleet has a rich history and we will honor that legacy, ”said Lewis. “However, we won’t just pick up where we left off. We will aggressively and quickly build this command in an organization with operational capabilities. We will challenge our assumptions, recognize biases, learn and adapt from failures in order to innovate in order to build a fleet ready to fight. Ready to fight – so we don’t have to.
The US 2nd Fleet will exercise operational and administrative authority over ships, aircraft and landing forces assigned to the East Coast and North Atlantic. In addition, he will plan and conduct maritime, joint and combined operations as well as train and recommend the certification of combat-ready naval forces for employment and maritime operations around the world. The US 2nd Fleet will fall under the operational control of the US Fleet Forces Command.
The American Second Fleet has its origins in the reorganization of the Navy after World War II in December 1945 and the formation of the American Eighth Fleet under the command of Vice Admiral Marc A. Mitscher. In January 1947, the Eighth Fleet was renamed the Second Task Fleet. Three years later, in February 1950, the command was renamed the US Second Fleet. The area of responsibility of the Second Fleet included the Atlantic coast of South America and part of the west coast of Central America. The Second Fleet was disbanded in 2011 and many of its personnel, assets and responsibilities were merged into US Fleet Forces Command (USFF). Prior to its dismantling in 2011, the Second Fleet oversaw approximately 126 ships, 4,500 aircraft and 90,000 personnel based at US Navy facilities along the US east coast.