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NATO task group strengthens high-end capabilities with French Navy ahead of Toulon port visit

24 May 2023

From Cmdr. Fernando Estrella, NATO Allied Maritime Command

TOULON, France – During a busy period in the Tyrrhenian Sea, the Standing NATO Maritime Group 2 (SNMG2) flagship, USS James E. Williams (DDG 95), carried out a series of exercises and activities with FS Languedoc (D653) of the French Navy.

These included vigilance surveillance, cross-deck boat operations, as well as surface, communications and electronic warfare exercises, in order to enhance the collective readiness and warfighting skills of the NATO task group.
While FS Languedoc then sailed to the Eastern Mediterranean to continue her vigilance activities, USS James E. Williams sailed into the French port of Toulon on 19 May, for a scheduled three-day visit.
A programme of key leader engagement served to strengthen ties with France, one of NATO’s key Allies. SNMG2 Commander, U.S. Navy Rear Admiral Scott Sciretta, also invited media to board the ship.

“As a result of our maritime responsibilities in the Eastern Mediterranean Sea throughout a large part of our deployment this past year, this is actually the first French port call SNMG2 has conducted under my command,” said Sciretta. “I want to make it clear how important it is for us to be here today and engage with French leadership. As one of the original 12 founding members, since 1949 France has played a key leadership role working within the NATO Alliance, to ensure the security of the Euro-Atlantic area.

“During my tenure,” he continued, “France has been a tremendous intelligence-gathering and anti-submarine warfare asset to my SNMG2 Task Group. I couldn’t be more impressed with the professionalism and performance of the French Naval assets and Sailors that have served under my command.”

The crew of the USS James E. Williams made the most of the port visit, touring Marseille, Le Panier, Vieux Port, and Esplanade St. Jean.

“This is my first time visiting this part of the world and I am excited for the opportunity to experience it,” said Petty Officer Alphonse Powell, from Plainfield, New Jersey. “It’s exciting to visit the south of France, there’s so much culture and history. I loved seeing some of the beautiful architecture, and to the people of France, merci beaucoup


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