TOULON, France —
Vice Adm. Lisa M. Franchetti, commander, U.S. 6th Fleet (C6F), presented French Vice Adm. Charles-Henri du Ché with the Legion of Merit during du Ché’s change of command and retirement ceremony, Sept. 4, 2019.
Du Ché has served as the Commander of the Area and the District Maritime Mediterranean and Maritime Prefect of the Mediterranean (CECMED) since July 2016.
“It was an honor and privilege to recognize Admiral du Ché for his years of strategic partnership and dedication to maritime security and cooperation in the Mediterranean and the greater Euro-Atlantic region,” said Franchetti. “CECMED has been a key enabler of maritime operations alongside the U.S. 6th Fleet under his leadership.”
Franchetti bestowed the honor upon du Ché for his tireless efforts to enhance United States and French Navy interoperability and hone high-end warfighting skills, providing credible deterrence while simultaneously preparing forces to be ready to respond to any crisis. He partnered with C6F leadership to emphasize building relationships amongst Mediterranean navies, which led to the first CECMED-C6F staff talks aboard French frigate FS Languedoc (D653) in Naples.
Since 2016, ships assigned to C6F and the French Navy have closely collaborated on exercises and operations. Most recently, Arleigh Burke class guided-missile destroyers USS Ross (DDG 71) and USS Mason (DDG 87) joined forces with French aircraft carrier Charles de Gaulle (R91) to form a cohesive and formidable strike group, jointly executing the defeat-ISIS mission Operation Inherent Resolve (OIR) from the Mediterranean.
Similarly, French frigates FS Chevalier Paul (D621) and FS Languedoc (D653) provided credible support to the USS George H.W. Bush (CVN 77) Carrier Strike Group during OIR in 2017.
“As C6F, I have been impressed by the tactical acumen and professionalism of my French maritime counterparts,” said Franchetti. “I witnessed their ability first-hand during my underway visit aboard Charles de Gaulle earlier this year and came away confident that our forces can seamlessly integrate, collaborate, and overcome any challenges we face in the maritime environment.”
The French Navy was an integral part of the dynamic and complex missile strike alongside U.S. and United Kingdom forces in April 2018, which were conducted in response to Bashar al-Assad’s use of chemical weapons against his own people. During these strikes, 105 air, surface, and sub-surface launched cruise missiles were fired against three separate Syrian chemical weapons development sites.
“I am looking forward to working with the new leader of CECMED, Vice Adm. Laurent Isnard, to prevent conflict and preserve peace throughout the region,” said Franchetti.
U.S. 6th Fleet, headquartered in Naples, Italy, conducts the full spectrum of joint and naval operations, often in concert with allied and interagency partners in order to advance U.S. national interest and security and stability in Europe and Africa.