United States Fleet

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United States Fleet
US Navy Ensign.gif
Ensign of the U.S. Navy
CountryUS Navy Ensign.gif United States
BranchAnimated Flag of the United States Navy.gif United States Navy
RoleOperational Naval Force
Part ofUnited States Navy (1922-46)‎
Fleet HQWashington DC, USA.
FirstAdmiral Hilary Pollard Jones, Jr.
LastFleet Admiral Ernest Joseph King.

The United States Fleet was an administrative naval command of the United States Navy established on 6 December 1922 and was operational until 10 October 1945.


Inter-War Period-Establishment

The General Order of 6 December 1922 combined the U.S. Pacific Fleet and the U.S. Atlantic Fleet to form the United States Fleet. The main body of its ships, the Battle Fleet, was stationed in the Pacific Ocean and the "Scouting Fleet" was stationed in the Atlantic Ocean. In addition, the "Control Force", protecting the Atlantic sea lanes, and the "Fleet Base Force" were included. Remaining independent of the United States Fleet were the Asiatic Fleet, the Naval Forces in Europe, the "Special Service Squadron", and all U.S. Navy submarines. During 1930, the Battle Fleet and Scouting Fleet were renamed the Battle Force and the Scouting Force. The Submarine Force was also placed under control of the CINCUS. The Control Force was abolished in 1931. The Special Service Squadron and the Asiatic Fleet were retained, both still apparently independent of the U.S. Fleet.

World War II-Reorganization

With the start of World War II in Europe the U.S. Navy began to plan for the possibility of war in the Atlantic as well as the Pacific. On 1 February 1941, General Order 143 was issued, abolishing the "United States Fleet" organization. In its place, the U.S. Atlantic Fleet and the U.S. Pacific Fleet were re-established, each under its own commander-in-chief. The Asiatic Fleet remained an independent organization as before. The additional title of Commander-in-Chief United States Fleet was given to one of the three fleet commanders in the event of two or more fleets operating together. Except for this provision, the individual commanders-in-chief were responsible directly to the Secretary of the Navy and to the President of the United States.

Rear Admiral Husband E. Kimmel was appointed the Commander in Chief, United States Fleet and the Commander in Chief, United States Pacific Fleet, on February 1, 1941, carrying the temporary rank of Admiral starting on that date. Admiral Kimmel was relieved as the CINPAC / CINCUS on 17 December 1941, shortly after the devastating Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor. On the following day, by United States Executive order 8984[2] of December 18, 1941, the position of Commander-in-Chief, United States Fleet was re-established, and he was given operational command over the Atlantic, Pacific, and Asiatic Fleets, and all naval coastal forces. On 20 December, Admiral Ernest J. King was assigned as the COMINCH. One important difference from the previous post of CINCUS was that Admiral King insisted that his headquarters would always be in Washington, D.C., rather than with the Fleet.

Dividing command of the Navy between the COMINCH King and the Chief of Naval Operations, Admiral Harold R. Stark did not prove to be very effective. President Franklin D. Roosevelt addressed this problem with his United States Executive order 9096 of March 12, 1942. This order commanded that the offices of the Chief of Naval Operations (CNO) and Commander-in-Chief, United States Fleet (COMINCH) would be held by a single naval officer, and Admiral King received the designation of CNO in addition to that of COMINCH. Admiral King relieved Stark as the CNO on 29 March 1942, and King wore both of these "hats" for the remainder of World War II.

The position of Commander-in-Chief, United States Fleet, no longer needed in peacetime, was abolished by Admiral King on 10 October 1945, and its responsibilities were transferred to the Chief of Naval Operations. From that date through the present, the Chief of Naval operations has nearly always been the highest-ranking U.S. Navy officer. Since September 1947, the CNO has held the additional position of Chief of Staff of the United States Navy, and he is the highest-ranking naval officer except when the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff is also a U.S. Navy officer.

Fleet HQ

Commander in Chief, United States Fleet (1922-45)

  1. Admiral Hilary Pollard Jones, Jr, 1922–1923
  2. Admiral Robert Edward Coontz , 1923–1925, (also Chief of Naval Operations)
  3. Admiral Samuel Shelburne Robison, 1925–1926
  4. Admiral Charles Frederick Hughes, 1926–1927, (also Chief of Naval Operations)
  5. Admiral Henry Ariosto Wiley , 1927–1929
  6. Admiral William Veazie Pratt , 1929–1930, (also Chief of Naval Operations)
  7. Admiral Jehu Valentine Chase, 17 September 1930–15 September 1931
  8. Admiral Frank Herman Schofield , 1931–1932
  9. Admiral Richard Henry Leigh , 1932–33
  10. Admiral David Foote Sellers, 10 June 1933–18 June 1934
  11. Admiral Joseph Mason "Bull" Reeves, February 26, 1934–June 1936
  12. Admiral Arthur Japy Hepburn, 24 June 1936–1938
  13. Admiral Claude Charles Bloch, 1938–6 January 1940
  14. Admiral James Otto Richardson, 6 January 1940-January 5, 1941
  15. Admiral Husband Edward Kimmel, January 5, 1941-December 1941
  16. Fleet Admiral Ernest Joseph King, 30 December 1941–10 October 1945, (also Chief of Naval Operations 1942-45)