French Liberty

By lex, on April 15th, 2011

Not all that, aboard the FN Charles de Gaulle *:

U.S. Navy Lt. Patrick Salmon is getting ready for another day at work, strapping himself into the cockpit of his strike jet and roaring off this French aircraft carrier for his daily attack mission against Moammar Gadhafi’s ground forces.

He’ll be launched into action by Kyle A. Caldwell, another U.S. Navy lieutenant who operates the flattop’s catapult systems. When Salmon is ready to set his plane back on deck, yet a third U.S. Navy lieutenant, Philip Hoblet, will be standing by in a French rescue helicopter, hovering just off the ship’s bow in case any of the returning pilots are forced to ditch into the sea…

NATO said Friday that the U.S. still flies one-third of the Libya operation’s missions. But that refers to surveillance and refueling missions, not to attack flights over Libyan territory.

But even though the U.S. has withdrawn its forces from the front lines of the NATO campaign, a handful of Americans serving on this French navy carrier remain at the forefront of the action.

They are members of a little-known French-American naval exchange program in which U.S. officers spend time in the French navy — known as the “Marine Nationale” — and French officers spend time in the U.S. Navy.

The article goes on to say that of the three officers, only one has brought his family with him to Toulon, ostensibly because of the time CDG spends at sea. (Although, having been stationed in France myself for a short time, the notion of carrying coal to Newcastle also comes to mind.)

03-02-21 Original link gone; substitute found – Ed.

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Filed under Carroll "Lex" LeFon, Navy

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