The Arleigh Burke-class guided-missile destroyer USS Donald Cook (DDG 75) is providing multi-warfare defense to the Charles de Gaulle Carrier Strike Group (CDG CSG) in the Mediterranean in support of NATO Exercise Dynamic Manta and other operations, demonstrating our mutual commitment to stability and security throughout the European region, March 3, 2021.
CDG CSG took tactical control of USS Donald Cook as part of an integration and interoperability between the U.S. Navy and French navy. The combined forces from Belgium, Greece, France, and the United States will support NATO and European operations in the Mediterranean.
"The participation of an American escort ship into the French carrier strike group illustrates the excellent level of cooperation between our two navies, long-time allies.” said French Admiral Marc Aussedat, commander of Charles de Gaulle Carrier Strike Group (CDG CSG) TF473 “The crew of Donald Cook swiftly demonstrated remarkable commitment and great skills. France and the United States, the only nations having catapult and recovery nuclear aircraft carrier, take advantage of each exchange to consolidate their high-end interoperability. These opportunities directly contribute to strengthening our capacity to fight alongside."
In 2019, USS Donald Cook joined CDG in exercise FANAL 19 which involved operations across all maritime warfare disciplines to tactical-level skills and promote maritime interoperability between participant naval forces.
The high level of interoperability and trust between France and the U.S. has allowed for seamless operations to be conducted with Charles de Gaulle and Donald Cook.
"It is a wonderful opportunity and a privilege to provide support to the Charles de Gaulle Strike Group.” said Cmdr. Matthew Curnen, commanding officer of Donald Cook. “Working alongside NATO Allies in the Mediterranean is critical to keeping the peace and security that Europe has enjoyed for 70 plus years. We are excited for the opportunity to be a part of the strike group and look forward to learning a lot.”
In recent history, U.S. Navy has worked side-by-side with the French Navy throughout the European and African theater of operation. To mention just a few, in 2016, USS Ross (DDG 71) operated with CDG as part of Combined Task Force 473 in the Mediterranean. In April 2018, France, the U.K, and the U.S. conducted strikes into Syria in response to the Syrian regime's use of chemical weapons against its own people. In 2020, Ross operated with CDG in eastern Mediterranean in the frame of Operation Chammal, Inherent Resolve, and the fight against ISIS.
"The French Navy is a high end partner and interoperability with the U.S. Navy has never been better." said Captain Tom Winkler, U.S. Naval Attaché to France. "It is inspiring to see USS Donald Cook sailing alongside FS Charles de Gaulle as part of the French Carrier Strike Group in the early days of the Clemenceau 21 deployment. Such combined operations send a strong message to competitors and potential adversaries alike."
In addition, CDG has a history of working with U.S. Navy aircraft carriers. The most recent dual carrier operations include, 2016 with USS Dwight D. Eisenhower (CVN 69), 2019 with USS John C. Stennis (CVN 74) while in the Red Sea, and March of 2020 in the Mediterranean Sea with USS Dwight D. Eisenhower.
U.S. Sixth Fleet assets routinely exercise and operate with our French and NATO counterparts throughout the region. Exercises like Formidable Shield in the North Atlantic, Baltic Operations (BALTOPS), Sea Breeze in the Black Sea, and Obangame Express in the Gulf of Guinea demonstrate and further enhance our combined capability and capacity in the areas of land, sea and air.
Providing support from this region allows the U.S., along with our NATO allies and regional partners to demonstrate our shared commitment to the region by providing multi-mission capable platforms with strike; ballistic missile defense, surveillance and reconnaissance capabilities.
France is one of the U.S.'s oldest allies dating back to 1781 with their support in the U.S. Revolutionary War. This strong bond between our two nations reinforced our relationship and tested our joint combat skills during both World Wars. Today, these two navies continue in that great tradition of exceptional partnership.
The Charles de Gaulle Carrier Strike Group is made up of French ships multi-mission frigate (FREMM) Auvergne and (FREMM) Provence, air defense frigate (FDA) Chevalier Paul and their air wing; Belgium navy command and refueling vessel (BCR) Var and frigate HNLMS Leopold I (F-930); Greek navy multi-mission frigate HS Kanaris (F-464); U.S. Navy guided-missile destroyer USS Donald Cook (DDG-75) and USS San Juan (SSN-751).
Donald Cook is one of four U.S. Navy destroyers based in Rota, Spain, and assigned to Commander, Task Force 65 in support of NATO’s Integrated Air Missile Defense architecture. These Forward-Deployed Naval Forces-Europe ships have the flexibility to operate throughout the waters of Europe and Africa, from the Cape of Good Hope to the Arctic Circle, demonstrating their mastery of the maritime domain.
U.S. Sixth 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.