A new commander has been nominated to lead the US Navy’s 7th Fleet, the largest of the service’s forward-deployed fleets and homeported in Yokosuka, Japan.
The US Department of Defense (DoD) announced on 27 January that the White House has nominated Rear Admiral Frederick W. Kacher for assignment as commander of 7th Fleet with the accompanying promotion to the grade of Vice Admiral. He would succeed the incumbent commander who has been serving in the position since July 2021, Vice Adm Karl Thomas, should the nomination pass the Senate.
Rear Adm Kacher is currently serving as vice director for Operations, J-3, Joint Staff, in Washington DC. According to the service, he is a surface warfare officer who has served on cruisers and destroyers and deployed to both the Atlantic and Pacific, including command of the Arleigh Burke-class guided-missile destroyer USS Stockdale (DDG-106).
He has also commanded the Singapore-based Destroyer Squadron 7 (DESRON 7) as well as the Japan-based Expeditionary Strike Group 7 (ESG 7).
According to the US Navy, 7th Fleet has 50-70 ships and submarines, 150 aircraft, and more than 27,000 personnel at any given time, with operations spanning more than 124 million km2 stretching from the International Date Line to the India/Pakistan border and from the Kuril Islands in the north to the Antarctic in the south.
7th Fleet also commands a forward-deployed carrier, currently USS Ronald Reagan (CVN 76), which forms the core of a Carrier Strike Group (CSG) of up to 12 ships and 75 aircraft. Another carrier may also be deployed to augment operations depending on requirements.
US carrier activity in the Asia Pacific has also been ramped up in recent weeks with the Nimitz CSG currently operating in the South China Sea. Centred on USS Nimitz (CVN-68), the CSG includes guided-missile destroyers USS Decatur (DDG-73), USS Chung-Hoon (DDG-93), and USS Wayne E. Meyer (DDG-108). The carrier and its escorts made a visit to Singapore’s Changi Naval Base on 21 January, leaving five days later after replenishment and crew rest.
by Jr Ng