Washington, DC - Sailors and Marines from Naval Amphibious Force, Task Force 51, 5th Marine Expeditionary Brigade (TF 51/5) and 15th Marine Expeditionary Unit embarked French Mistral-class amphibious assault ship LHD Tonnerre to conduct amphibious and maritime security operations within U.S. 5th Fleet, today.
"The U.S. and the French share an esteemed military history of cooperation that dates back more than two centuries, including France's support of U.S. independence during the American Revolutionary War," said Brig. Gen. Frank Donovan, commanding general of TF 51/5. "Having TF 51/5 Sailors and Marines along with Marines from the 15th Marine Expeditionary Unit deploy aboard the Tonnerre is a testament toward our commitment to work together. [Together, we will] protect global maritime commons, counter trans-regional terrorism and provide maritime security and prosperity in the region by building and effectively employing forward, capable and coalition-focused forces across the full spectrum of maritime operations."
According to Donovan, France's amphibious task group (ATG) will integrate into the command and control structure of U.S. Naval Forces Central Command and provide critical leadership. While operating in the region, the ATG will report to U.S. 5th Fleet and remain under tactical control of TF 51/5, but, is also capable of conducting multiple missions simultaneously in support of France's national tasking operations if required.
"This bilateral operation will provide an invaluable opportunity for our countries to enhance capabilities in critical mission sets inherent to the U.S. Navy-Marine Corps team operating in the region," said Capt. Todd Glasser, Navy deputy commander of TF 51/5. "France and the U.S. share a valuable partnership and a leading role in providing regional security. We look forward to working together to support regional stability, freedom of navigation and the free flow of commerce."
In the spirit of the commemoration of the 100th anniversary of World War I and in memory of the sacrifices and fighting spirit of the U.S. Marines during the second battle of the Marne, the deployment is named "Bois Belleau 100."