US, French Navies Conclude
From Harry S. Truman Carrier Strike
Group Public Affairs.
Gulf of Oman -- February 2, 2014 -- (NNS)
-- Harry S. Truman Carrier Strike Group (HST CSG) and French Navy Task Force 473
concluded five weeks of combined carrier strike group operations in the U.S. 5th
Fleet Area of Responsibility (AOR) Feb 2.
The two strike groups began conducting integrated operations
Dec. 26 in the Gulf of Oman and have operated together in the northern Arabian
Sea and the Arabian Gulf to enhance regional maritime security and stability.
Chief Gunner's Mate James
Bangert, left, inspects the weapons of French sailors, assigned to the visit,
board, search and seizure (VBSS) team aboard the French destroyer Jean de Vienne
(D 643), during a combined VBSS exercise aboard the guided-missile destroyer USS
Mason (DDG 87). Mason is deployed as part of the Harry S. Truman Carrier Strike
Group supporting maritime security operations and theater security cooperation
efforts in the U.S. 5th Fleet area of responsibility.
"We executed a wide array of operations together with the
Charles de Gaulle strike group," said Rear Adm. Kevin Sweeney, commander,
Carrier Strike Group 10. "We conducted combined flight operations from both the
Truman and the Charles de Gaulle as well as carrier landing qualifications on
both aircraft carriers."
Lt. Cmdr. Rob Littman, an F/A-18 pilot assigned to the "Ragin
Bulls" of Strike Fighter Squadron 37, is a U.S. Navy pilot who had the
opportunity to land on Charles de Gaulle.
"Landing on the Charles DeGaulle was a terrific experience,"
said Littman. "It was remarkable how similar it was to landing on the Truman.
The French were extremely professional and the transition was seamless."
Capt. Bob Roth, Truman's commanding officer, said it was a
unique experience being able to execute flight operations with jets and pilots
from the French carrier.
"Planning and conducting actual missions together in this
region brought our two fighting units closer together," said Roth. "Our carrier
aviation cultures are very similar, so the mutual real-world missions were
executed using familiar tactics, but with a unique mix of platforms. Carrier Air
Wing 3 Hornets and Rhinos flew seamlessly from Charles de Gaulle, just as the
Rafales and Super Etendards landed and launched effortlessly from Truman. We are
a good team and I look forward to the next opportunity to operate with our
trusted French allies."
French and American flight deck
crew members talk during a break in flight operations aboard the French aircraft
carrier FS Charles de Gaulle (R 91). The Charles de Gaulle, flagship for Task
Force 473, is conducting operations with the Harry S. Truman Carrier Strike
Group to enhance levels of cooperation and interoperability, enhance mutual
maritime capabilities and promote long-term regional stability in the U.S. 5th
Fleet area of responsibility.
Sweeney said operations weren't limited to just the aircraft
"We conducted helicopter deck landing qualifications on our
smaller ships. We executed boarding exercises, live-fire gunnery exercises, air
defense exercises and combat search and rescue training - all types of missions
we could be called upon to do at any moment. We even executed what we call a "shotgun
swap," which had the Forbin providing actual air defense control for Truman and
the Gettysburg providing the same defense for Charles de Gaulle."
Sweeney highlighted that the combined operations not only
improved interoperability between the French and U.S. navies, but they also
provided reassurance to regional partners.
"These operations were designed to enhance our levels of
cooperation and interoperability," he said. "Just as importantly though, it
helps promote long-term regional stability and through our continuous presence,
we build trust and confidence throughout the region."
Capt. Bill Combes, HST CSG chief of staff, echoed the
significance of conducting the combined operations in the region.
"Regional stability and these cooperative relationships both
contribute to safeguarding the region's vital links to the global economy," said
Personnel from most of the U.S. and French ships also had the
opportunity to visit other ships to meet with counterparts and learn how they do
their jobs on their respective ships.
Information Systems Technician 2nd Class Kathryn Bustos,
spent three days aboard the French carrier.
"The [French] sailor I was partnered with was the equivalent
to a U.S. Navy electronics technician," said Bustos. "We repaired hydra radios
and headphones worn by French sailors on the flight deck and performed
maintenance on other electronic equipment together."
Bustos said it was an experience she would remember forever.
"It was an experience I'll remember for the rest of my life,"
she said. "I met people aboard Charles de Gaulle that I will keep in touch with
even after our deployment and joint operations are finished. The French sailors
were very welcoming and friendly."
For more news from USS Harry S. Truman (CVN 75), visit
See also :