ANDAMAN SEA -- Amphibious assault ship USS Boxer (LHD 4) and French navy aircraft carrier, FS Charles de Gaulle (R 91), and its escort ships conducted drills while sailing through the Bay of Bengal, June 7.
Joining Boxer and Charles de Gaulle were French anti-submarine destroyer FS Latouche Treville (D 646), anti-submarine frigate FS Provence (D 652) and underway replenishment tanker FS Marne (A 630). Building on the inaugural, multilateral exercise La Perouse from last month, the drills included formation sailing, combined flight operations and personnel transfers.
“The opportunity to train with the French navy demonstrates the ARG’s capability to operate with our allies and partners in the Indo-Pacific,” said Capt. Brad Arthur, commodore of the USS Boxer Amphibious Ready Group (ARG). “Our Sailors and Marines benefitted greatly from working with our French counterparts.”
Events like this occur routinely throughout the Indo-Pacific and reflect shared values, principles and traditions between like-mineded naval forces.
“Exercises allow allied units to test and validate concepts, procedures, systems and tactics,” said French Rear-Admiral Marc Aussedat, Commanding Officer of Task Force 473. “That is why we seize each opportunity to plan exercises at sea with our allies and partners to increase our mutual knowledge and ability to work together.”
The French Navy carrier strike group deployment is the first in the Indo-Pacific region since 2002.
“The American and French militaries have a long and successful relationship after many years of working together and we’re honored to add a chapter to that history,” said Col. Fridrik Fridriksson, 11th Marine Expeditionary Unit (MEU).
Additionally, Boxer hosted distinguished visitors to tour the ship and learn more about the Boxer ARG and embarked Marines from the 11th MEU.
“I am excited to work with America’s oldest ally, dating back to America’s revolutionary war.” said Capt. Ronald Dowdell, Boxer’s commanding officer. “Our countires have shared success throughout the decades and a good part of that success is due to our strong relationship. Today, we’re enhancing that relationship by stressing integration of our systems and capabilities.”
The Boxer Amphibious Ready Group (ARG), 11th Marine Expeditionary Unit (MEU) team is deployed to the U.S. 7th Fleet area of operations to support regional stability, reassure partners and allies, and maintain a forward presence postured to respond to any crisis ranging from humanitarian assistance to contingency operations.