NORFOLK, Va. (WAVY) — A ceremony aboard the USS George H.W. Bush Friday morning marked the return of a U.S. Navy fleet that was once deactivated.
When the Second Fleet was disestablished in 2011 as a cost-saving measure, the fleet and many of its personnel became part of U.S. Fleet Forces. Chief of Naval Operations, Adm. John Richardson, announced the Second Fleet’s return during a change of command ceremony in May.
Richardson said in May the Second Fleet is a “dynamic response to the dynamic security environment.”
Vice Adm. Andrew Lewis — who has recently served as commander of Carrier Strike Group 12 — will assume command of the reestablished Second Fleet, which will be headquartered in Norfolk.
The fleet supported many important operations including the Cuban Missile Crisis, Operation Desert Shield, Operation Desert Storm, Operations Enduring Freedom, and Operation Iraqi Freedom.
It also provided humanitarian and disaster relief to Hurricane Katrina and Haiti earthquake victims.
Leaders say the fleet’s new formation is in response to a dynamic security environment, specifically China and Russia.
“We as a Navy, a nation, have not had to confront such peer competitors since the Cold War ended three decades ago,’ said Admiral Christopher Grady.
The Navy on Thursday unveiled a new crest for the Second Fleet that features a motto of “Ready to Fight.” The Navy says the motto “personifies the spirit and dedication of the command.”
“We’re not looking for a fight, but the best way to avoid a fight is to develop the most powerful, most deadly, and competitive Navy possible,”
They also say their allies and alliances overseas are excited about the re-establishment.
Operations will take place in the Atlantic, specifically North Atlantic where ice caps are changing the landscape.
The fleet will coordinate with the 4th Fleet in Florida and the 6th Fleet in Italy.
Lewis said in a statement Thursday, “Building from our rich legacy, we wanted to pay homage to the old 2nd Fleet by including some aspects of the original crest – the eagle, the trident, the shield, and the map in the background – but the new crest signifies our mission going forward, which addresses a new security environment and the modern warfighter.”
Rep. Scott Taylor (R-Va.), who served as a Navy SEAL, released a statement on the fleet’s reactivation on Friday:
“Today marks an important chapter in our Navy’s history and future, as we enter an era of renewed great power competition among world powers such as Russia and China. The 2nd Fleet will once again stand the watch along our East Coast and the Atlantic to safeguard the homeland by further enhancing our ability to respond to global events. I would like to extend my congratulations to Vice Admiral Lewis as he assumes command and to the Sailors who will add to the next chapter of 2nd Fleet’s rich history to ensure America remains “Ready to Fight.”