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By Ensign Benjamin Cusimano, USS Arleigh Burke (DDG 51) Public Affairs
The Arleigh Burke-class guided-missile destroyer USS Arleigh Burke (DDG 51) hosted Rear Adm. Christophe Cluzel, commander of the French Maritime Force and French Carrier Strike Group, Dec. 5, 2022.
While aboard the ship, Cluzel held discussions with Arleigh Burke Sailors and toured the ship’s compartments including the combat information center, a main engine room, SONAR control room, pilot house, and the officer wardroom.
Cluzel, a 1994 graduate from the French Naval Academy, is well versed in Mediterranean Maritime Operations, providing expertise and experience operating in the Mediterranean Sea alongside Allied naval forces, including Arleigh Burke. The ship is currently under tactical control of the French carrier strike group and Cluzel.
Ensign Bray Zimmerman, Arleigh Burke’s Operations Intelligence Division Officer, outlined the significance of Cluzel’s visit to the ship.
“Rear Adm. Cluzel’s visit demonstrated to the crew the impact that the U.S. Navy has on operating with our NATO allies,” Zimmerman said. “Our crew was able to see that what Arleigh Burke brings to the fight is significant to carrier strike group operations across all navies.”
Arleigh Burke recently began its integration period with the French Carrier Strike Group, supporting mission ANTARES. ANTARES aims to exert non-escalatory pressure against opposed forces of NATO in the Mediterranean Sea. Arleigh Burke is providing multi-warfare defense to the French carrier strike group while operating under tactical control of the French Navy.
Arleigh Burke is the second ship to operate as part of the French Carrier Strike Group during mission ANTARES. In November, fellow Arleigh Burke-class destroyer USS Roosevelt (DDG 80) provided defense capabilities to the strike group’s phase I ANTARES mission set.
Integrating U.S. destroyers into Allied carrier strike groups pays dividends for all involved, as the crews learn from one another while operating side-by-side. They demonstrate Allies’ mutual commitment to security and stability in the region.
“Rear Adm. Cluzel’s visit was fantastic,” said Cmdr. Peter Flynn, commanding officer of Arleigh Burke. “The discussions he had with me and the crew were inspiring and improved our understanding of strike group operations within theater.”
Upon Arleigh Burke’s integration into the French Carrier Strike Group, the ship has already conducted multiple maneuverability exercises, helicopter operations, and a replenishment-at-sea evolution, highlighting the capability and capacity of Forward Deployed Naval Forces-Europe (FDNF-E) ships in the European theater. The versatile Arleigh-Burke class destroyer consistently demonstrates her inherent mobility and adaptability to operate anywhere on the waterfront, whether it be as an independent deployer or as a unit in a strike group.
The journey of Arleigh Burke’s operations with the French Carrier Strike Group has only begun, and her crew is ready to support the needs of the French Maritime Force’s integral mission.
Four U.S. Navy destroyers, including Arleigh Burke, are based in Rota, Spain and are assigned to Commander, Task Force 65 in support of NATO’s Integrated Air Missile Defense architecture. These FDNF-E 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.
For over 80 years, U.S. Naval Forces Europe-U.S. Naval Forces Africa (NAVEUR-NAVAF) has forged strategic relationships with allies and partners, leveraging a foundation of shared values to preserve security and stability.
Headquartered in Naples, Italy, NAVEUR-NAVAF operates U.S. naval forces in the U.S. European Command (USEUCOM) and U.S. Africa Command (USAFRICOM) areas of responsibility. U.S. Sixth Fleet is permanently assigned to NAVEUR-NAVAF, and employs maritime forces through the full spectrum of joint and naval operations.