NORFOLK, Va. - An unprecedented French Navy deployment is currently underway on an American aircraft carrier.
The French "Chesapeake" deployment, is made up of 350 French Sailors and 13 air crafts aboard USS George H.W. Bush. Nearly 500 flights are expected to be completed over the course of the seven week deployment which began last month.
According to French Navy officials, the name of the deployment comes from The Battle of the Chesapeake. The 1781 battle symbolizes the long connection between France and the United States.
It took more than a year to plan "Chesapeake" deployment which was scheduled around the maintenance of France's only aircraft carrier, the Charles du Gaulle. With it out of commission, the French turned to the United States for help with continued training.
"Our two communities are very close to each other because we are the two countries that use the E-2 on the carrier," said French Navy Tactical Chief Stephane. "We work in the same way, we have the same procedures or close to one another."
Rear Adm. Stephan Evans says the similarities between the French Navy and United States Navy has made their adjustment onboard seamless.
"Language, some people might think is a barrier but it's not. Because of the mission of they are doing together and the care they are taking, to not only help each other but teach each other and learning from each other. To see our French allies with us and our U.S. sailors, so you have sailors and sailors working together side by side who are finding out that they have far more in common than they do apart."
Resulting in not just stronger sailors, but an overall stronger Navy.
"Learning their techniques and procedures and having crews work side by side with ours supporting each other is only beneficial and it strengthens us," explained Rear Adm. Evans. "It strengthens our alliances together and our ability to have the confidence that we can integrate with our French allies at sea."