Task Force 61

Task Force 61

Task Force 61 (CTF-61) is a task force of the United States Navy that today denotes what used to be designated the Mediterranean Amphibious Ready Group (MARG) of the United States Sixth Fleet. It is composed of approximately three Amphibious assault ships, but in 2008 is designated the Expeditionary Strike Group that includes their embarked landing craft. [http://www.fas.org/man/dod-101/navy/unit/task-force.htm] From these ships, United States Marine Corps ground forces can move ashore by sea and air in amphibious assault or emergency evacuation missions. Once ashore, the ships of Task Force 61 are able to logistically support the ground forces, until the objective of the landing has been accomplished.

The TF 61 designation has been used by the United States Navy since World War II.

World War II

During World War II, Task Force 61 executed the Operation Watchtower landings on Tulagi and Guadalcanal [p.64, Lane] and the Operation Cleanslate on the Russell Islands in August 1942 by the 1st Marine Division. At the time of the landings it was commanded by Vice Admiral Frank Jack Fletcher [p.64, Lane] , and included the amphibious foce of Task Group 61.2 under Rear Admiral R.K Turner, escorted by the vessels of Task Group 61.1 Rear Admiral Leigh Noyes. Later, in October 1942, the Task Force, now under Rear Admiral Thomas C. Kinkaid, confronted a force directed by Japanese Admiral Isoroku Yamamoto in the same area. In late October, the Task Force consisted of the "USS Enterprise", "USS South Dakota", the cruisers "USS Portland" and "USS San Juan", and eight destroyers. [p.195, Griffith] The Task Force formed one of the two U.S. carrier groups that took part in the Battle of the Santa Cruz Islands. As such it represented the combined command of task forces TF-11, TF-16 and TF-18.

Task Force 61 was dissolved in the Pacific Theatre and became Task Group 92.4 while TF-61 was reactivated in the Atlantic under the Royal Navy command, and participated in convoy escort duties, although initially it included US Navy Destroyer Division 60, Destroyer Escort Division 5, and a number of United States Coast Guard and Free French Navy vessels. [p.53, Andrews & Andrews] In may 1944 it included HMS Queen Elizabeth, FS Richelieu, HMS Cumberland, the Dutch ship Van Tromp, 21st Carrier Squadron, and HM Destroyers Saumarez, Vigilant, Verulam, Nubian and Tartar.

Cold War

The TF 61 designation has been used in the Mediterranean since the late 1940s.

In the early 1960s the Task Force included rotation of Amphibious Squadron Six CTF USS Casa Grande (LSD-13), and Amphibious Squadron Four CTF USS Fremont (APA-44).

In 1982, during the Multi-National Force deployment to Lebanon, the Commander, Amphibious Task Force (CTF 61) was designated Commander, U.S. Forces Lebanon.

Fiction literature

Task Force 61 is the subject of several military fiction novels by David Poyer.



* Lane, Kerry, "Guadalcanal Marine", University Press of Mississippi, 2004
* Griffith, Samuel B., The Battle for Guadalcanal, University of Illinois Press, 2000
* Andrews, Jr., Lewis M., Andrews, Lewis M., "Tempest, Fire and Foe: Destroyer Escorts in World War II and the Men Who Manned Them", Trafford Publishing, 2004

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