U.S. 7th Fleet celebrates 70th anniversary
SOUTH CHINA SEA – The U.S. 7th Fleet celebrated its 70th anniversary with a ceremony and cake cutting aboard USS Blue Ridge (LCC 19) March 15.
The ceremony marked the beginning of a yearlong initiative commemorating 70 years of forward presence and its vital role in promoting peace and stability in a critically strategic region.
The 7th Fleet was established March 15, 1943 under the command of Vice Adm. Arthur S. Carpender, and today it is the largest forward-deployed U.S. fleet in a region of immense and growing importance to both the world and U.S. interests.
“We have been here for 70 years committed to ensuring stability, regional cooperation and economic security in the Western Pacific, Indian Ocean and around the world,” said Commander, U.S. 7th Fleet Vice Adm. Scott Swift. “We maintain a ready force in this region at all times.”
Swift attended the ceremony and spoke to his staff about the rich history of the fleet and the importance of their duty.
“The 7th Fleet is the only permanent forward deployed fleet,” said Swift. “We have served in this area of responsibility since the very beginning and that is something to be proud of.”
The first physician in the U.S. Navy was George Balfour commissioned March 9, 1798, and the first woman physician was Dr. Achsa Bean commissioned in the Naval Reserves 1943. Seven Navy physicians served as astronauts, six received the Medal of Honor and Navy physicians provided medical care to U.S. presidents as far back as 1801. The group of physicians started out as only 60 and grew to more than 13,000 during World War II and is now approximately 3,500.
“The Medical Corp birthday is different because it brings all of our branches together like a family,” said Lee. “Nobody is an island to themselves, we all interact and work together to make these services great.”
The ceremony ended with another traditional event, the cutting of the cake. The Navy cake-cutting ceremony is different from a regular cake cutting. The most senior and most junior officers, Capt. Turner and Lt. Jennifer Berarducci respectively, cut a piece for each other.
“This symbolizes unity of purpose. Capt. Turner offers the first piece to Lt. Berarducci; this symbolizes trust, confidence and experience being handed down to the young Medical Corps officer who is entrusted with the future of the corps,” said Cmdr. Anthony Silvetti, master of ceremonies. “Lt. Berarducci then offers a piece to Capt. Turner symbolizing respect for the past and commitment to the legacy of service of those entrusted to our care.”