US Navy Joins with French Ally to Commemorate Liberation of Southern
US Navy Joins with French
Ally to Commemorate Liberation of Southern France
From U.S. Naval Forces Europe-Africa/U.S.
6th Fleet Public Affairs.
Draguignan, Var, France
– August 17, 2014
– Commander, U.S. Naval Forces Europe-Africa, Adm. Mark Ferguson,
participated in a remembrance ceremony at the Rhone American Cemetery, Aug. 16.
The USS Mount Whitney (LCC/JCC
20) flagship of the 6th Fleet is deployed in Naples (Italy) - Marine Nationale ©
The ceremony culminated four days of commemorative events in
Draguignan and Theoule-sur-Mer to recognize the bravery and sacrifice of Allied
forces who conducted Operation Dragoon, the Allied landing that led to the
liberation of Southern France during World War II.
Operation Dragoon commenced on Aug. 15, 1944, first with an
insertion of Allied commandos and followed by a large invasion force coming
ashore in Theoule-sur-Mer.
"As we celebrate the 70th anniversary of our veterans' great
endeavor, there are fewer of them, but time will not diminish the magnitude of
what they endured, nor the appreciation and respect we hold for their courage,"
said Ferguson during the ceremony. "Each made a choice not to yield, but to
press on together for a cause that transcended the individual."
Marking the fourth consecutive port visit to Theoule-sur-Mer
to participate in Operation Dragoon ceremonies, USS Mount Whitney (LCC 20)
hosted a reception, conducted a service project at the Rhone American cemetery,
observed a ceremony at the Cross of Lorraine, and participated in the parade of
Rear Adm. Robert Burke, deputy commander, U.S. 6th Fleet,
joined Mayor of Theoule-sur-Mer Georges Botella, U.S. Charge de Affairs to
France Uzra Zeya, and other French dignitaries in an at-sea wreath laying at the
point where Operation Dragoon commenced. Following that ceremony, distinguished
guests and veterans marched through Theoule-sur-Mer to the central square.
"The partnership between brave French and American forces
resulted in the successful execution of that mission. That partnership has
existed since the birth of the United States of America, and continues to this
day," said Burke to guests aboard Mount Whitney and also to the community of
The U.S. Naval Forces Europe band also supported the
activities, playing taps at the wreath laying ceremony, marching in the parade,
and playing the national anthems at the Rhone American Cemetery ceremony.
As the Rhone American Cemetery ceremony closed, Ferguson
recognized the French-U.S. partnership that was further reinforced during World
War II and remains strong today.
"Our two nations face the struggles of our time with the same
sense of purpose and resolve, Ferguson said. "We came out of the destruction and
devastation of World War II with bonds forged from shared values and cemented in
an Alliance that endures to this day."
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Naval Forces Europe and Africa/U.S. 6th Fleet, visit