Commander, Naval Air Force Atlantic (a. k. a. COMNAVAIRLANT, AIRLANT, and CNAL) is the aviation Type Commander (TYCOM) for the United States Naval aviation units operating primarily in the Atlantic under United States Fleet Forces Command. Type Commanders are in administrative control (ADCON), and in some cases operational control (OPCON) of certain types of assets (ships, submarines, aircraft, and fleet marines) assigned to the Pacific and Atlantic Fleets. AIRLANT is responsible for the material readiness, administration, training, and inspection of units/squadrons under their command, and for providing operationally ready air squadrons and aircraft carriers to the fleet.
COMNAVAIRLANT is headquartered at Naval Support Activity, Hampton Roads. The staff is made up of approximately 650 officer, enlisted, civilian and contractor personnel.
"Support COMLANTFLT and other commanders by providing combat ready/sustainable naval air forces, trained and equipped in an environment which emphasizes safety, interoperability and efficient resource management."
Naval Air Force, US Atlantic Fleet was established on 1 January 1943, at NAS Norfolk, Virginia. The command was initially called Air Force, Atlantic Fleet and replaced three older organizations: Commander Carriers, Atlantic Fleet; Carrier Replacement Squadron, Atlantic Fleet; and Fleet Air Wings, Atlantic. AIRLANT's mission was to oversee logistics, maintenance and training of east coast aviation units, and to direct all World War II Atlantic operations not assigned to specific task forces. The combat mission consisted primarily of combating German U-boats, which were wreaking havoc on U.S. shipping support for the war effort in Europe. AIRLANT also contributed heavily to war in the Pacific by training Pacific Fleet units and deploying east coast units to the Pacific. In 1944 AIRLANT deployed 16 carriers, 20 carrier air groups, 67 carrier-based squadrons, 21 patrol squadrons and 18 aviation units to the Pacific. On 30 July 1957, the command added "Naval" to its title.
An important subordinate command for a long period was Commander, Fleet Air Keflavik, at what was Naval Air Station Keflavik, Iceland. Naval aviation has always played a large role in the operations at Keflavik, especially with regard to the enormous build-up of the Soviet Navy. Deployment of patrol squadron detachments, and later entire squadrons, started as early as 1951, with the P-2 "Neptune" maritime patrol aircraft succeeded by the Lockheed P-3 "Orion" in the mid-1960s. In 1955, Barrier Force, Atlantic had been established in Argentia, Newfoundland, flying radar early-warning missions using the WV-2 (EC-121 Warning Star aircraft in the North Atlantic from 1957. These aircraft made frequent deployments to Keflavik. On July 1, 1961, Commander Barrier Force, Atlantic moved from Argentia to Keflavik. The duties of Commander, Iceland Defense Force were assumed by the rear admiral commanding Barrier Force Atlantic.
In October 2001, the Chief of Naval Operations placed Type Commanders in a "Lead-Follow" arrangement. Under this arrangement, COMNAVAIRPAC (AIRLANT's west coast counterpart) became TYCOM for all Naval Aviation, and assumed the additional title of Commander, Naval Air Forces (COMNAVAIRFOR). At that time, command of AIRLANT went from a 3-star/Vice Admiral to a 2-star Rear Admiral.
|1943||RADM Alva D. Bernhard|
|1943–1946||VADM Patrick N. L. Bellinger|
|1946–1948||VADM Gerald F. Bogan|
|1948–1951||VADM Felix B. Stump|
|1951–1954||VADM John J. Ballentine|
|1954–1956||VADM Frederick W. McMahon|
|1956–1960||VADM William L. Rees|
|1960–1963||VADM Frank O'Beirne|
|1963–1965||VADM Paul H. Ramsey|
|1965–1969||VADM Charles T. Booth|
|1969–1972||VADM Robert L. Townsend|
|1972–1975||VADM Frederick H. Michaelis|
|1975–1978||VADM Howard E. Greer|
|1978–1981||VADM George E.R. Kinnear II|
|1981–1983||VADM Thomas J. Kilcline|
|1983–1983||VADM Carol C. Smith, Jr.|
|1983–1986||VADM Robert F. Dunn|
|1986–1989||VADM Richard M. Dunleavy|
|1989–1991||VADM John K. Ready|
|1991–1994||VADM Anthony A. Less|
|1994–1996||VADM Richard C. Allen|
|1996–1998||VADM John J. Mazach|
|1998–2001||VADM Joseph S. Mobley|
|2001–2002||RADM Michael D. Malone|
|2002–2004||RADM James M. Zortman|
|2004–2006||RADM H. Denby Starling II|
|2006–2008||RADM John W. Goodwin|
|2009–2010||RADM Richard J. O'Hanlon|
|2010–2013||RADM Ted N. Branch|
|2013–2015||RADM Troy M. Shoemaker|
|2015–2016||RADM John R. Haley|
|2016–2017||RADM Bruce H. Lindsey|
|2017–2020||RADM Roy J. Kelley|
|2020–Now||RADM John F. Meier|
Naval Air Force, U.S. Atlantic Fleet is composed of more than 40,000 men and women who maintain and operate the aircraft carriers, aircraft squadrons and aircraft of the Atlantic Fleet. It provides combat-ready air forces to fleet commanders operating around the globe.
There are six Carrier Strike Group commanders who, although not under operational control of COMNAVAIRLANT, work very closely with the staff. CSG commanders are operationally responsible for the carrier, the embarked airwing and the cruisers that make up the battle group.
The nucleus of the surface battle group is the aircraft carrier. In the Atlantic Fleet, COMNAVAIRLANT has five carriers assigned to carry out the mission of COMLANTFLT and other commanders. One or two of these carriers are usually deployed with the U.S. Sixth Fleet in the Mediterranean Sea or with the U.S. Fifth Fleet in the Persian Gulf in support of U.S. Central Command. When not deployed or undergoing periodic maintenance/overhaul, or refresher training, these ships operate with United States Fleet Forces Command Task Force 80 in the Western Atlantic or U.S. Fourth Fleet in the Caribbean.
The carrier air wing commander is responsible for a number of squadrons whose missions include attack, fighter, patrol, reconnaissance, anti-submarine warfare, electronic warfare and logistic support.
Type Wing commanders are individually responsible for major categories of aircraft squadrons. There are single Navy wide Type Wing commanders for the Airborne Early Warning and Electronic Attack communities which report to Commander, Naval Air Forces who is dual hatted as Commander, Naval Air Forces U.S. Pacific Fleet.
(Commander, Patrol and Reconnaissance Group is dual hatted as Commander, Patrol and Reconnaissance Group Pacific. S/He commands the Pacific Fleet Patrol and Reconnaissance Wings (TWO and TEN) under that hat)