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The Sixth Fleet is a US Navy operational unit, headquartered on the command ship
La Salle (AGF-3)
with its homeport in Gaeta, Italy and operating in the Mediterranean Sea. The Sixth Fleet consists of approximately 40 ships, 175 aircraft and 21,000 people and is the major operational component of Naval Forces Europe . The principal striking power of the Sixth Fleet resides in its aircraft carriers and the modern jet aircraft, its submarines, and its reinforced battalion of US Marines on board amphibious ships deployed in the Mediterranean.
The Sixth Fleet has both US national and NATO responsibilities. The Commander of the Sixth Fleet, Vice Adm. Scott Fry, reports to the Commander-In-Chief, U.S. Naval Forces, Europe in the U.S. chain of command and to CinCSouth when the Sixth Fleet operates as part of NATO as StrikForSouth.
The United States Sixth Fleet is operationally organized into task forces. Each task force is responsible to the Sixth Fleet Commander for specific functions related to assigned units.
Task Force 60 Battle Force
Task Force 60 is Sixth Fleet's Battle Force. It is composed of one or more aircraft carriers, each with an accompanying complement of approximately six cruisers and destroyers. On board the aircraft carrier is an air wing of 65 – 85 aircraft. The air wing is the primary striking arm of the Battle Force, and includes attack, fighter, anti-submarine, and reconnaissance aircraft. Ships accompanying the carrier serve as defensive and offensive platforms with duties involving anti-air, surface and submarine warfare. In addition to its major role of controlling the seas, the Battle Force can also project its power over land.
Task Force 61 Amphibious Assault
Task Force 61 is the Mediterranean Amphibious Ready Group (MARG). It is composed of approximately three amphibious ships and their embarked landing craft. From these ships, United States Marine ground forces can move ashore by sea and air in amphibious assault of emergency evacuation missions. Once ashore, the ships of Task Force 61 logistically support the ground forces, until the objective of the landing has been accomplished, and the Marine Forces return to the ships.
Task Force 62 Marine Expeditionary Unit
Task Force 62 is the combat-ready ground force composed of a Marine Expeditionary Unit (MEU) of approximately 1,800 Marines. Transported in Task Force 61 ships, the MEU is equipped with armor, artillery, and transport helicopters that enable it to conduct operations ashore, or evacuate civilians from troubled areas.
Task Force 63 Logistics Force
Task Force 63 is the Logistics Force. Composed of oilers, provision ships, and repair ships, its mission is the delivery of supplies at sea, and effecting repairs to other ships and equipment of the Fleet.
Task Force 64 Strategic Missile Deterrence
Task Force 64 consists of nuclear-powered submarines armed with long-range strategic missiles (SSBN). Until the end of the 1970s these ships were homeported in Rota, Spain. The mission is strategic deterrence .
Task Force 67 Land-Based Maritime Patrol Aircraft
Task Force 67 is composed of land-based maritime patrol aircraft. These aircraft operate over the waters of the Mediterranean in anti-submarine, reconnaissance, surveillance, and mining roles.
Task Force 66/69 Submarine Warfare
Task Force 66/69 is responsible for planning and coordinating area submarine and anti-submarine warfare operations in the Mediterranean. Specifically, Task Force 69 is composed of attack submarines that provide capability to destroy enemy surface ships and submarines, as well as protect other Sixth Fleet ships from attack.
Partial list of ships
History and recent operations
The United States has maintained a naval presence in the Mediterranean since the early 19th century, when U.S. Naval forces first engaged the Barbary Pirates to prevent them from interfering with commercial shipping. "Millions for defense, but not a penny for tribute!"
In 1946, President Truman dispatched battleship Missouri to the Eastern Mediterranean to counter Soviet threats to Turkey and Iran. The U.S. Sixth Task Fleet was established in 1949, the same year the North Atlantic Treaty Organization was formed, in the early days of the Cold War.
The Sixth Fleet provided military, logistical and humanitarian assistance to support NATO operations in Kosovo during the Yugoslav wars. It also participated in the so-called Operation Allied Force, Joint Task Force Noble Anvil , Operation Shining Hope and Operation Joint Guardian .
Military of Italy