Navy re-launches Atlantic fleet to eye Russia

Vice Adm. Andrew "Woody" Lewis departs through the Navy ceremonial red carpet after assuming command of U.S. Second Fleet aboard the nuclear aircraft carrier USS George H.W. Bush. The Second Fleet, disestablished in 2011, will provide ships, aircraft and Marine landing forces for operations along the U.S. coast and in the northern Atlantic Ocean. Photo courtesy U.S. Navy

Aug. 26 (UPI) — The U.S. Navy’s Cold War-era Second Fleet was officially re-established Friday to patrol the Atlantic Ocean and help respond to global contingencies as tensions with Russia rise.

The announcement that the Second Fleet would be relaunched was made in May, when NATO and U.S. officials said Russian submarine activity was at its highest levels since the Cold War.

Russia recently sent a spy ship up the east coast of the United States and the country announced plans to develop an underwater nuclear armed drone.

The Second Fleet, disestablished in 2011, will provide ships, aircraft and Marine landing forces for operations along the U.S. coast and in the northern Atlantic Ocean, Navy officials said.

“The Second Fleet will enhance our capacity to maneuver and fight in the Atlantic, and as a result, help to maintain America’s maritime superiority that will lead to security, influence and prosperity for our nation,” Chief of Naval Operations Adm. John Richardson said Friday during a ceremony in Norfolk, Va., aboard the aircraft carrier USS George H.W. Bush.

Vice Adm. Andrew “Woody” Lewis, named commander of the aircraft carrier during the ceremony, said he is “truly honored” to lead this fleet and honor the legacy of its history.

“However, we will not simply pick up where we left off. We are going to aggressively and quickly build this command into an organization with operational capability,” Lewis said. “We will challenge our assumptions, recognize biases, learn and adapt from failures so as to innovate in order to build a fleet that is ready to fight. Ready to fight — so we don’t have to.”

Since its founding, the Second Fleet conducted military exercises with NATO, trained and certified ships and crews for deployment, provided humanitarian assistance and conducted disaster response missions.

The fleet also oversaw the blockade of Cuba during the Cuban Missile Crisis, rescued Americans in Grenada during Operation Urgent Fury in October 1983 and trained and certified half the U.S. fleet for Operations Desert Shield and Desert Storm.


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