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US Atlantic Fleet

The Atlantic Fleet of the United States Navy is the part of the Navy responsible for operations in around the Atlantic Ocean.

In 2002, the Fleet comprised over 118,000 sailors and Marines serving in 186 ships and 1,300 aircraft, with an area of responsibility ranging over the Atlantic Ocean from the North Pole to the South Pole, the Caribbean Sea, Gulf of Mexico, and the waters of the Pacific Ocean along the coasts of Central and South America (as far west as the Galapagos Islands). Its operational fleet (i.e. the collection of fighting ships) is the 2nd Fleet.

The Atlantic Fleet originally came into existence in 1906 (along with the Pacific Fleet), established by President Theodore Roosevelt as protection for new bases in the Caribbean acquired as a result of the Spanish-American War. The first commander of the fleet was Rear Admiral Robley D. Evans, who hoisted his flag in the battleship Maine (BB-10) on 1 January 1906. The following year, he took his 16 battleships, now dubbed the Great White Fleet, on a round-the-world cruise that lasted until 1909, a goodwill tour that also served the purpose of advertising the USA's naval strength and reach to all other nations of the globe.

The Atlantic Fleet was reorganized into the Scouting Force in 1923, but then reappeared 1 February 1941 along with the Pacific Fleet and the new Asiatic Fleet. This time each fleet was to be under the command of a full Admiral, which jumped the fleet's commander Ernest J. King from a two-star to a four-star flag flying over his flagship Texas (BB-35).

Subsequently, the headquarters was in a rather odd assortment of ships; the Augusta (CA-31), then the old wooden ship Constellation, Vixen (PG-35), and then Pocono (AGC-16). In 1948, the HQ moved into the former naval hospital at Norfolk, Virginia, and has remained there ever since.

Between 1947 and 1985, the fleet command was mixed in with the United States Atlantic Command.

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