ABOARD USS HARRY S. TRUMAN, At Sea (NNS) -- USS Harry S. Truman (CVN 75) conducted interoperability exercises with the French nuclear-powered aircraft carrier Charles de Gaulle (R 91) June 4-7.
Some of the exercises the aircraft carriers conducted include carrier qualifications (CQs) and a Rafale F3 jet engine swap-out in Truman's hangar bay.
Charles Rivkin, U.S. ambassador to France, three French rear admirals and media had the opportunity to witness the joint training during a visit to the Truman on June 7. The group observed as F/A-18 Super Hornets and Rafale F3s conducted multiple passes on the Truman flight deck.
It was the ambassador's first experience aboard a U.S. carrier.
"It is truly an honor to be here and to observe the way our two countries work together," he said. The ambassador looks forward to continuing the French-U.S. relationship during a formal reception on board Truman when the ship moors in Marseille.
Truman Sailors also noticed the similarities between the way the French and U.S. squadrons operate.
"Their aircraft are completely different, but at the same time they're compatible with our systems and way of doing things," said Aviation Boatswain's Mate 3rd Class (Equipment) (AW) David Aponte.
Standardization and similar procedures are what enable the two navies to work closely together, according to Lt. Jeff Burch of Strike Fighter Attack Squadron (VFA) 37, one of the F/A-18 squadrons embarked on board Truman.
"We are both trying to be able to work more together," said French Lt. Yvan Launay, a Rafale pilot from French Squadron 12F. "There are many crisis around the world; and since we are two nations with aircraft carriers, and we conduct operations with each other regularly, it benefits everyone every time that we can get training like this done."
Cmdr. Tim Hill, the executive officer of Strike Fighter Attack Squadron (VFA) 32, is the liaison officer in charge of coordinating French-U.S. CQs. He expressed his hope that the junior officers assigned to his squadron would come away from the experience with a broadened perspective on naval aviation.
"I want my junior officers to know that although we tend to have a very definite idea of how carrier operations should work, our two navies have a lot to learn from each other, and we both benefit from seeing things with a fresh set of eyes," Hill said.
Truman deployed May 21 as part of the Harry S. Truman Carrier Strike Group (HSTCSG) in support of maritime security operations and theater security cooperation (TSC) efforts in the U.S. 5th and 6th Fleet areas of responsibility. HSTCSG includes Commander, Carrier Strike Group (CCSG) 10, USS Harry S. Truman (CVN 75), Carrier Air Wing Three (CVW) 3, Commander, Destroyer Squadron (CDS) 26 and German Frigate FGS Hessen (F221)
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