Rear Adm. William J. Houston, deputy commander, U.S. 6th Fleet, was hosted aboard the French aircraft carrier FS Charles de Gaulle by French Rear Adm. Marc Aussedat, commander, French Maritime Forces, Nov. 19, 2019.
While aboard, Houston toured the ship and observed flight operations before joining ship leadership for lunch.
“I appreciate the opportunity to embark Charles de Gaulle and visit with our NATO allies to emphasize the importance of working together to strengthen our combined capabilities,” said Houston. “It was great meeting with the leadership and crew and getting a closer look at daily operations aboard a French aircraft carrier.”
Houston and French leadership also discussed lessons learned and the expected way ahead for future joint operations following a recent exercise between FS Charles de Gaulle, the U.S., and partner forces.
“France is the United States’ longest ally, dating back to the American Revolution,” said Houston. “Our relationship with them and their Navy is further strengthened through our shared commitment to supporting security and stability throughout the theater.”
U.S. 6th Fleet assets routinely exercise and operate with our French counterparts in exercises throughout the European region. Recently, a P-8A Poseidon maritime patrol aircraft participated in the French-led exercise Grand African Navy Exercise for Maritime Operations (NEMO), and French Sailors participated in exercise Cutlass Express, which is hosted by U.S. Naval Forces Europe-Africa. Later this month, the French and U.S. will work together again during exercise PEAN 19.
“The ability of training together is a win-win opportunity for both French and American navies,” said Aussedat. “Interoperability is the key to success.”
Vice Adm. Lisa Franchetti, commander, U.S. 6th Fleet, was able to visit Charles de Gaulle in March as it began its scheduled deployment. Continuing to integrate in training, exercises, and real world operations with the French Navy, a long-standing ally, will remain a top priority for Houston and the U.S. 6th Fleet.
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 interests and security and stability in Europe and Africa.