MEDITERRANEAN SEA (NNS) — Sailors aboard the nuclear-powered aircraft carrier USS Nimitz (CVN 68), and Carrier Strike Group (CSG) 11, hosted French sailors as they continued operations in the central Mediterranean Sea, Oct. 22. The group, from the French navy destroyer Chevalier Paul (D621), had the opportunity to interact with Nimitz Sailors, tour the ship and observe flight operations. The highlight of the visit for both ships was executing an air defense exercise (ADEX).
The ADEX provided an opportunity for ships from both nations to ensure the interoperability and integration of their systems and personnel in defending against air threats. Lt. Michael Christoph, a pilot with Strike Fighter Squadron (VFA) 146, participated in both the planning and execution of the exercise, which included a trip to the Chevalier Paul. “I was excited to go there,” he said. “And they were very excited to have us and were very gracious hosts.”
The ADEX provided the opportunity to participate in a simulation of intercepts. For this exercise, the Chevalier Paul was in charge of controlling the aircraft. “I thought they did a good job controlling the aircraft. You can tell they’re not new at it. They’re very proficient,” said Christoph. “I was impressed.” The exercise allowed forces from both nations to gain experience and demonstrate their ability to work together. It was also a demonstration of both nations’ ability to work together to respond to a situation with little notice.
Nimitz welcomed the chance to sail alongside Chevalier Paul, swapping professional experiences and ideas, and showcasing interoperability. “It’s a great opportunity for the whole strike group as well as the air wing,” said Lt. Cmdr. Albert Head, operations officer for Carrier Airborne Early Warning Squadron (VAW) 117. “It’s important to understand how they do business, and to give them a sense of what we would bring to the fight.”
Nimitz is deployed supporting maritime security operations and theater security cooperation efforts in the U.S. 6th Fleet area of operations.