ATLANTIC OCEAN (NNS) — Chief of Naval Operations Adm. John Richardson met with his counterpart, Chief of Staff of the French Navy Adm. Christophe Prazuck, aboard the aircraft carrier USS George H.W. Bush (CVN 77) May 14 to observe high-end combined training currently underway between the U.S and French navies.
Exercise Chesapeake 2018 is the first-ever training to fully integrate a French Navy air wing into a single, unified carrier air wing, Carrier Air Wing Eight (CVW-8).
This historic first in naval aviation is another demonstration of the Navy's implementation of the National Defense Strategy and its direction to strengthen alliances and deepen collaboration to become a more lethal force.
"Very few navies can conduct this type of high-end, complex training together," said Richardson. "So we're proud to be operating side-by-side with our French allies as we deepen our interoperability. As described in the National Defense Strategy, we'll need combined training like this to become habitual so that we are prepared to compete and win in this new era of great power competition."
Approximately 400 Marine Nationale (French Navy) sailors embarked aboard Bush and fully integrated within CVW-8 to participate in carrier qualifications, Carrier Strike Group operations, air plans, flight deck duties, and ship's routine. The collaboration shows common interests in high-end warfare training and operations between the two navies.
"This partnership has strategic implications for maritime security around the world," said Richardson. "I'm confident that our two navies will operate together more and more in the future. As our nations' global maneuvering forces, our navies move dynamically to the hottest points on the globe, we are the first to arrive, and because of training like this, we can decisively operate as an effective warfighting team."
During the visit Richardson and Prazuck observed combined operations, engaged with Sailors from both nations and emphasized the deep partnership between the U.S. and France.
"The relationships being built during this exercise will matter when it comes time to operate together in combat conditions," said Richardson.
Exercise Chesapeake continues a trend of high visibility operations between the U.S. and French navies. Last month, both navies conducted strikes on Syrian chemical weapons infrastructure. In June, 2016, Richardson presented the Charles de Gaulle Strike Group with a U.S. Meritorious Unit Commendation for their performance in support of Combined Joint Task Force - Operation Inherent Resolve, during which they became the first non-U.S. Navy element to take command of U.S. Naval Forces Central Command's Task Force 50.
But as Richardson's Design for Maintaining Maritime Superiority" makes clear, it takes training like Exercise Chesapeake to be effective when it counts most — in combat.
"My good friend Admiral Prazuck and I have been working to make this already strong alliance even stronger, especially in our combined ability to conduct high-end naval warfare operations in a completely seamless manner," said Richardson.
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