Tuesday, October 18, 2016

A Farewell to Arms



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A Farewell to Arms
// USNI Blog

A Farewell to Arms is the title of one of Ernest Hemingway's best works and a book that reflects some of his own personal experiences on the battlefields of World War I. The story unfolds right here in Italy. The title is somewhat metaphorical because it represents LT Frederic Henry's farewell not only to the honorable profession of arms, but also to the arms of his beloved compatriots that he leaves behind.

At the end of October, I will complete my tour as Commander, U.S. Sixth Fleet and Commander, Striking and Support Forces NATO and return to Washington, D.C. for my next assignment in the Pentagon. Leaving this job is hard because I leave behind so many fine young men and women who have selflessly stood the watch for the last two years while navigating in harm's way. They are composed not only of Americans but also Alliance and coalition partners who share the same ideals of freedom and justice as we do. They are young; they are strong; they are brave; and they deserve our thanks.

Since 9/11, these Sailors, Soldiers, Airmen and Marines have been fighting the war on terror; in the last year, this fight has spread to the waters of the Mediterranean where the USS Harry S. Truman and Eisenhower Strike Groups, USS Wasp Amphibious Readiness Group (ARG/MEU) and French Aircraft Carrier Charles de Gaulle have been conducting strikes on Da'esh in Syria, Iraq and Libya.

As the clock ticked down to the day of my Change of Command, I wanted to take the time to visit, walk the deck-plates, talk to the troops and just say: "Thank you!"

Marines from the 22nd Marine Expeditionary Unit in the hangar bay aboard the amphibious assault ship USS Wasp (LHD 1), Sept. 28, 2016 (U.S. Navy photo by Petty Officer 1st Class Eric S. Garst)

Marines from the 22nd Marine Expeditionary Unit in the hangar bay aboard the amphibious assault ship USS Wasp (LHD-1), Sept. 28, 2016 (U.S. Navy photo by Petty Officer 1st Class Eric S. Garst)

A couple of weeks ago, I did just that onboard USS Wasp (LHD-1) and USS Carney (DDG-64) in the Mediterranean. Wasp has been underway for over 100 days straight delivering lethal strikes on Da'esh in Libya. The morale of the American Sailors and Marines on these two platforms was exceptional. When I asked how they kept such a positive attitude, many simply told me, it's all about the mission.

Today, I visited USS Ross (DDG-71) and the French Aircraft Carrier Charles de Gaulle, both operating in consort, in the Eastern Mediterranean. As a young Navy Lieutenant, I was very fortunate to have been given an opportunity to study in France as an Olmsted Scholar. My relationship with the French Navy began in 1986 and it has grown even stronger as the Commander, U.S. Sixth Fleet. Charles de Gaulle has deployed three times in the last two years, twice in support of our operations in the Arabian Gulf. They have filled gaps in carrier presence and brought incredible combat capability to the theater. This latest deployment takes place in the Eastern Mediterranean while they service targets in Syria and Iraq.

Like the USS Wasp, despite the high operational tempo of the Charles de Gaulle, morale was excellent . . .it's all about the mission. They are just like us.

The French Strike Group Commander, Contre-Amiral Olivier Le Bas (himself an exchange pilot with the U.S. Navy) and Commanding Officer, Capitaine de Vaisseau Eric Malbrunot, gave me the honor of addressing the crew on the 1MC after de Gaulle launched and recovered several sorties of Rafale strike-fighters conducting combat missions over Syria and Iraq. This is what I said. This was my Farewell to Arms. . .

For all of you Francophones out there, I spoke to the crew in their native tongue because I think that is very important. I have translated my comments in English immediately after the French text below:

A Rafale fighter prepares to launch off the deck of the aircraft carrier FS Charles de Gaulle (R 91) on a strike mission against Da'esh. (Personal photo courtesy of Vice Adm. James Foggo III)

A Rafale fighter prepares to launch off the deck of the aircraft carrier FS Charles de Gaulle (R 91) on a strike mission against Da'esh. (Personal photo courtesy of Vice Adm. James Foggo III)

A bord le Charles de Gaulle – Bonjour !

Je suis Vice-Amiral Jamie Foggo, chef de la Sixième Flotte Americaine. Le dernier fois que je vous ai visité été le dix novembre deux-mille-seize.

Votre commandant, Eric Malbrunot m'a chaleureusement accueilli. Le lendemain, j'étais à Paris avec votre chef de la marine et votre Président, nous étions à l'arc de triomphe afin d'assister à la cérémonie de l'armistice. Cette journée de commémoration été très particulier pour moi.

Ma famille a beaucoup en commun avec la France ; mes deux grands-pères ont se battu dans la grande guerre ; puis mon père a débarqué sur les plages du Normandie avec l'armée canadienne.

Mois – j'ai fait une grande partie de mes études en France. J'ai appris le français par l'une des Grandes Dames de Paris Madame Elisabeth Girardet , à l'alliance française en mille-neuf-cents-quatre-vingts-six. Femme d'un Professeur fameux de Sciences-Po, m'a donné une passion pour la langue et la culture de la France.

J'ai continué mes études à Strasbourg, sur le professeur Francois-Georges Dreyfus – l'homme Politique, l'auteur, et speci'aliste des relations Franco-Allemands en France. Il était mon mentor. Alors, vous voyez que je suis un francophone et un francophile. Ma famille a eu des liens avec la France pendant une siècle. Mais, nos pays ont eu des liens bien plus qu'une siècle! De Lafayette pendant la révolution américaine et L'Enfant – l'architecte de notre capitale Washington D.C. En mille-sept-cents-soixante-dix-neuf le roi Louis seize mis à disposition la frégate Bonhomme Richard à la marine américaine – le Continental Navy.

Notre héro naval américain John Paul Jones disait "Donnez-moi une navire rapide, parce que j'ai l'intention de chercher le danger." Alors, il a pris le Bonhomme Richard en abattant le HMS Serapis dans une des victoires les plus célébrés dans l'historie maritime des États-Unis.

Malgré nos différences occasionnelle, nous sommes très similaires et nous avons crée des marines puissantes avec une portée globale. En particulier, nos deux marines sont les seuls qui disposent des porte-avions nucléaires.

Le lendemain de mon départ de Paris était le douze novembre un jour avant les attentats à Paris. En vue de ces pertes de cette tragédie, personne n'étaient plus triste que moi.

Toute de suite après, le Charles est déployé en Méditerranée orientale, afin de porter le combat vers l'ennemi — Da'esh. Puis vous avez continué votre travail a cote de nous et des autres partenaires de la coalition dans la golfe arabe. Et vous avez fait un travail magnifique !

Vice Adm. James Foggo III, Commander, U.S. 6th Fleet, right, and Vice Adm. Charles du Che, Commander French Mediterranean Fleet, enroute to USS Ross (DDG 71), Oct. 13, 2016. (Personal photo courtesy of Vice Adm. James Foggo III)

Vice Adm. James Foggo III, Commander, U.S. 6th Fleet, right, and Vice Adm. Charles du Che, Commander French Mediterranean Fleet, enroute to USS Ross (DDG-71), Oct. 13, 2016. (Personal photo courtesy of Vice Adm. James Foggo III)

Vous étés ici encore une fois, mais vous n'êtes pas seules. Comme le français ont nous soutenu pendant notre lutte de la libération, mon gouvernement a envoyé l'USS Ross pour vous assister. Nous avons aussi des officiers américains abord le Charles, et nous nous battons ensemble contre un ennemi abominable. C'est la solidarité franco-américaine !

Alors, nous avons beaucoup en commun ; je suis venu pour vous dire que je suis très fier de vous et vos compatriotes en restant forts toujours contre cette menace tyrannique. Nous ne pouvons pas vaincre cette ennemi sans travailler ensemble.

Mon amis et ancien chef des forces alliées en Europe, amiral Jim Stavridis, disait souvent – We are stronger together » – Nous sommes plus forts ensemble ! Je suis totalement convaincu par cette phrase. Merci pour ce que vous faites ; merci pour votre sacrifice personnelle et de votre famille.

Merci pour votre amitié et l'alliance. Vive le Charles! Vive la France! Et Vive l'amitié Franco-américaine !

The world is watching you. Bonne courage!


On board the Charles de Gaulle – Hello!

I am Vice Admiral Jamie Foggo, Commander of the U.S. Sixth Fleet. The last time I visited you was 10 November 2016. Your commander, Eric Malbrunot welcomed me warmly. The next day I was in Paris with your CNO and your President; we were at the Arc de Triomphe to attend the ceremony of Remembrance Day on 11 November. This anniversary was very special for me.

My family has a lot in common with France; my two grandfathers both fought in the Great War; then my father landed on the beaches of Normandy with the Canadian Forces in 1944.

The nuclear aircraft carrier FS Charles de Gaulle (R91), as observed from a French Dauphin helicopter. (Personal photo courtesy of Vice Adm. James Foggo III)

The nuclear aircraft carrier FS Charles de Gaulle (R91), as observed from a French Dauphin helicopter. (Personal photo courtesy of Vice Adm. James Foggo III)

I did a large part of my studies in France. I learned French from one of the Grandes Dames of Paris, Madame Elisabeth Girardet, at the Alliance Francaise in 1986. She was the wife of a famous Professor at the University of Paris (Raoul Girardet) and she gave me a passion for language and culture of France.

I continued my studies at the University of Strasbourg. I studied under Professor Francois-Georges Dreyfus, politician, author, and specialist in Franco-Germans relations.

He was my mentor.

So you see I am a both a Francophone and a Francophile. My family has had links with France for a century. But our countries have had links for much more than century!

For example – Lafayette during the American Revolution and L'Enfant – the architect of our capital in Washington, D.C. in 1779, King Louis XVI provided the frigate Bonhomme Richard to the U.S. Navy – the Continental Navy.

Our American naval hero John Paul Jones once said: "Give me a ship fast, because I intend to go in harm's way!" So he did when he commanded Bonhomme Richard and engaged the HMS Serapis in one of the most celebrated victories in the history of the United States Navy.

French and US leadership and Sailors aboard the USS Ross (DDG 71), Oct. 13, 2016. Ross is providing multi-warfare defense support to FS Charles de Gaulle (R91) in support of Operation Inherent Resolve. (Personal photo courtesy of Vice Adm. James Foggo III)

French and U.S. leadership and Sailors aboard the USS Ross (DDG-71), Oct. 13, 2016. Ross is providing multi-warfare defense support to FS Charles de Gaulle (R91) in support of Operation Inherent Resolve. (Personal photo courtesy of Vice Adm. James Foggo III)

Despite our occasional differences, we are very similar and we have created powerful navies with a global reach. In particular, our two navies are the only ones who have the nuclear-powered aircraft carriers like the Charles.

The day after I left Paris on November 12, 2015, was the day before the horrible terrorist attacks in your capital. In response to these tragic losses, no one was sadder than me.

Immediately after the attacks, Charles de Gaulle deployed to the Eastern Mediterranean, to take the fight to the enemy – Da'esh. Then you continued your work with us and other coalition partners in the

Arabian Gulf. And you did a wonderful job!

French Rafale fighter recovers aboard aircraft carrier Charles de Gaulle (R91) dropping ordnance on Da'esh targets in Syria. (Personal photo courtesy of Vice Adm. James Foggo III)

French Rafale fighter recovers aboard aircraft carrier Charles de Gaulle (R91) dropping ordnance on Da'esh targets in Syria. (Personal photo courtesy of Vice Adm. James Foggo III)

You are out here again, but you are not alone. As the French supported us during the American Revolution, my government sent the USS Ross assist you.

We also have several American officers onboard the Charles, and we fight together against an abominable enemy. This is Franco-American solidarity at its best!

So we have a lot in common; I came to tell you that I'm very proud of you and your compatriots as you remain strong against this tyrannical threat. We cannot defeat this enemy without working together.

My friend and former Supreme Allied Commander Europe (SACEUR), Admiral Jim Stavridis, often said – "We are stronger together." Of that, I am totally convinced.

Thank you for all that you do; thank you for your personal sacrifice and the sacrifice of your family. Thank you for your friendship and alliance.

Long live the Charles! Long live France! And long live Franco-American friendship!

The world is watching you. Bonne courage!


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