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NEWS | Sept. 14, 2019

Europe’s Top Admiral Highlights French-American Alliance in Paris

By Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Jonathan Nelson

Adm. James G. Foggo III, commander, U.S. Naval Forces Europe-Africa (NAVEUR-NAVAF), visited Paris to meet with senior French military leaders to discuss the enduring French-American strategic alliance Sept. 12-14, 2019. Foggo also participated in events commemorating the 75th anniversary of the Liberation of Paris during the trip.

Foggo met with the military advisor to the president of France, Adm. Bernard Rogel, the vice chief of defense, French Adm. Jean Casabianca, the head of the French navy, Adm. Christophe Prazuck, and Ambassador Jamie McCourt, U.S. Ambassador to France. Foggo also spoke at the First Alliance Foundation’s Colloquium hosted at the Musée de l’Armée at the Hôtel National des Invalides.

“France is one of our oldest, most enduring Allies,” said Foggo at the Colloquium. “As such, I am excited to be back in Paris this week to discuss the U.S.-French Strategic Alliance during The First Alliance Foundation’s commemoration events. This events, which comes on the heels of commemorating the 75th anniversary of the liberation of Paris, highlights our enduring relationship today, and explores the challenges and opportunities that await our alliance in the future.”

The Liberation of Paris began on Aug. 19, 1944, and ended with the surrender of German forces in the city on Aug. 25.

“Our two nations have a special bond as we have shed blood for each other,” said Foggo. “For me, our alliance is personal. I am proud to say that both of my grandfathers served in France during World War I and my father served in France during World War II.”

Seventy-five years later, the bravery and heroism by the allies at the Liberation of Paris continue to resonate with U.S. forces in Europe, who remain steadfast in their commitment to European allies and partners.

“Our alliance transcends the battlefield and high seas,” said Foggo. “France was among the first countries to offer condolences and support following Sept. 11, 2001, and when terrorism struck Paris on Nov. 13, 2015, we were among the first to respond, as well. We have fought together, mourned together, and celebrated freedom together.

During the visit, Foggo spoke with Prazuck about the French-American Alliance – a partnership that has been strong since France assisted with American independence.

"As our nations continue to navigate a complex strategic environment, the enduring nature of the French-American relationship and the interoperability of our naval forces remain critical to global peace and stability," said Prazuck. "Frequent and honest dialogue-such as I am able to have with Adm Foggo here in Paris-is the key to maintaining and advancing our alliance."

Foggo’s visit took place during a significant time in both the U.S. and French history, as the events also coincide with the 18th anniversary of Sept. 11, 2001 – when 19 men hijacked four fuel-loaded U.S. commercial airplanes bound for west coast destinations. A total of 2,977 people were killed in New York City, Washington, DC and outside of Shanksville, Pennsylvania.

“Our commitment to each other’s defense, to deter aggression and preserve peace through our highly professional, well trained, and interoperable navies is as vibrant and relevant today as it was 240 years ago,” said Foggo.

Overall, WWII gave birth to NATO, the most successful military alliance the world has known, and forged partnerships and bonds that we value and continue to benefit from to this day. Both past and current events, such as 9/11 and the Paris attacks in 2015, continue to strengthen those partnerships and bonds.

As seen during the past conflicts, and in today’s dynamic security environment, no nation can confront the current challenges and threats alone. The U.S. Navy continues to work with European allies and partners to maintain a Europe that is whole, free, prosperous, and at peace.

NAVEUR-NAVAF, headquartered in Naples, Italy, conducts a full range of maritime security operations and theater security cooperation missions in concert with coalition, joint, interagency, and other parties in order to advance security and stability in Europe and Africa.