FS MARNE, At Sea (NNS) -- Canadian Navy Commodore Bob Davidson relieved French Navy Rear Adm. Jean-Louis Kerignard as Commander, Combined Task Force (CTF) 150 during a change of command ceremony aboard FS Marne (A 630), June 3.
The ceremony concluded the French Navy's fifth successful command of CTF 150, a multi-national task force that conducts Maritime Security Operations (MSO) in the Gulf of Aden, Gulf of Oman, Arabian Sea, Red Sea and the Indian Ocean.
"In the past 100 days, we have come to better understand our area of operations, one of the most important areas in the world, but one that unfortunately is one of the world's most unstable and unsecure regions," said Kerignard. "This deepened understanding is the result of hard work and is our coalition's single most strength. I have fully enjoyed working with the men and women in my staff representing their nations within the coalition. Their performance can only be qualified as outstanding."
Kerignard assumed command of CTF 150 in February 2008 and under his leadership, significant progress was made to counter illicit activities in the maritime arena to create a lawful maritime order. France has been part of the coalition since 2001 and has contributed two dedicated ships to CTF 150 along with a maritime patrol squadron based in Djibouti over the past seven years.
"It is important for us to be here, so we can show our support for the coalition and participate in operations against terrorist organizations," said Cmdr. Jerome Origny, Marne's commanding officer. "It has been a privilege and an honor to provide maritime security in this region."
Guest speaker Vice Adm. Kevin J. Cosgriff, Commander, combined Maritime Forces, praised the effectiveness of CTF 150 as well as the accomplishments of Kerignard and his staff.
"The coalition is more cognizant and better prepared for the future because of Kerignard's strong leadership," he said. "We are all in debt for his insight, direction and spirit while he led CTF 150."
Cosgriff also said he looks forward to working with Davidson in the coalition.
"I am confident that under Davidson's leadership, coalition operations will be dynamic, persistent and effective," he said.
This is the first time that Canada will lead CTF 150.
"Leading CTF 150 allows Canada to bring influence and a Canadian perspective into the global maritime environment." said Davidson. "The mission requires that we build relationships with coalition members and regional nations - relationships that are based on mutual understanding, cooperation and trust."
He added that task force operations in the area complement the security efforts of regional nations.
The Canadian multipurpose frigate HMCS Calgary (FFH 335), replenishment ship HMCS Protecteur (AOR 509) and HMCS Iroquois (DDH 280) arrived with Davidson and will operate as part of CTF 150. Marne, Kerignard's flagship, will return to its homeport of Toulon, France following the change of command. FS Surcouf (F 711) and FS Jacoubet (F 794) will continue to operate in CTF 150.
The flexibility and capability of coalition forces make them well positioned to respond to any potential emergent situations. Through operations and training with regional partners, Combined Maritime Forces enhance existing cooperative relationships with an aim to support regional countries' struggles against violent extremists.
For more news from Commander, U.S. Naval Forces Central Command/Commander, U.S. 5th Fleet, visit www.navy.mil/local/cusnc/.