RED SEA — A French flag officer embarked in the nuclear-powered aircraft carrier FS Charles de Gaulle took command of U.S. Naval Forces Central Command's Task Force 50 Dec. 7, leading coalition naval strike operations for Operation Inherent Resolve — the fight to degrade and ultimately destroy the ISIL terrorist organization.
Commander, French Maritime Force, Rear Adm. Rene-Jean Crignola, embarked in Charles de Gaulle, took command of CTF 50, which plans and conducts strike operations in the U.S. 5th Fleet area of operations.
This integration of France's premier naval strike force into a critical leadership role in the NAVCENT command and control structure demonstrates its exceptional interoperability with U.S. and other coalition forces.
Charles de Gaulle's presence in the region signals the return of carrier-based naval aviation to the fight against ISIL. The carrier and embarked air wing, along with the other ships in her battle group, will support strike operations over Iraq and Syria. She will also provide a range of flexible and adaptable capabilities to perform theater security cooperation efforts and maritime security operations aimed at increasing the French navy's interoperability with allies in the region.
The battle group left its home port of Toulon, France, Nov. 18.
Escorting Charles de Gaulle are the air defense destroyer (FN) Chevalier Paul; the anti-submarine frigate (FN) La Motte-Picquet; the anti-submarine frigate (BN) Leopold Ier, the anti-submarine frigate (GN) Augsburg; the command and supply ship (FN) Marne; and a (FN) nuclear attack submarine.
U.S. Naval Forces Central Command is responsible for approximately 2.5 million square miles of area including the Arabian Gulf, Gulf of Oman, North Arabian Sea, Gulf of Aden and the Red Sea. NAVCENT's mission is to conduct maritime security operations, theater security cooperation efforts, and strengthen partner nation's maritime capabilities in order to promote security and stability in the U.S. 5th Fleet AOO.