The French Navy Aquitaine-class FREMM frigate FS Languedoc (D 654) and Italian Navy Carlo Bergamini-class FREMM frigate ITS Alpino (F 594) joined the Nimitz-class aircraft carrier USS Harry S. Truman (CVN 75) and the Harry S. Truman carrier strike group (HSTCSG) in the Mediterranean Sea in July 2022, a demonstration of the strong and enduring relationship among the three navies.
Throughout the recent integration period, the HSTCSG, including Languedoc and Alpino, has conducted surface, sub-surface, and air defense training exercises to further fortify the interoperability between the different forces. Elements of the French, Italian, and U.S. maritime forces routinely operate together, fostering a cooperative approach toward regional security and stability.
“We have been fortunate to conduct integrated operations with several allied and partner nations since arriving in the Sixth Fleet area of operations, including the French and Italian navies,” said Rear Adm. Paul C. Spedero Jr, commander, Carrier Strike Group Eight. “Through our combined operations, we have become more effective, more responsive, and more ready. We are most certainly stronger together.”
Through their time with the strike group, the Languedoc and Alpino have provided increased surface and air defense capabilities. Their professionalism and expertise enhanced the combined capability of the strike group and of the NATO alliance in the maritime domain. Working with the strike group also enhanced their own capacities and capabilities.
“Being part of a U.S. carrier strike group is always a challenge for an escort destroyer like Languedoc, especially in a constrained operational environment as it is now in the Mediterranean since the war broke out in Ukraine,” said Captain Claire Pothier, commanding officer of Languedoc. “Thank to HSTCSG’s staff commitment, my crew has been able to plug quickly with our close U.S. allies in order to provide the group with our cutting edge capabilities in antisubmarine warfare.”
Commander Danilo Panti, Alpino’s commanding officer, echoed Pothier’s comments about the excellent opportunity this integration period brings to all three navies.
“It has been a real pleasure to operate together in this challenging but rewarding activity,” said Cdr. Danilo Panti, Commanding Officer of ITS Alpino. “This opportunity was an occasion to enhance readiness, strengthen integration and interoperability among the Allies. ITS ALPINO is honored to work alongside so many outstanding and professional sailors.”
This specific opportunity to work as a cohesive team is the latest in a robust and steady integration among these allies. Earlier this year, the HSTCSG sailed with the French aircraft carrier Charles de Gaulle (R 91) carrier strike group and Italian aircraft carrier ITS Cavour (C 550) carrier strike group as all three nations have supported regional exercises and activities like the NATO-led Neptune Strike and Neptune Shield.
Harry S. Truman has also fostered these relationships in recent port visits to Italy and France. The ship called on Trieste and Naples, Italy and Marseille, France in recent months, highlighting the strong and enduring bonds among the allies.
The HSTCSG is on a scheduled deployment in the U.S. Naval Forces Europe area of operations, employed by U.S. Sixth Fleet to defend U.S., allied and partner interests.
The HSTCSG includes flagship USS Harry S. Truman (CVN 75); the nine squadrons of Carrier Air Wing (CVW) 1, commanded by Capt. Patrick Hourigan; the staff and guided-missile destroyers of Destroyer Squadron (DESRON) 28 commanded by Capt. Todd Zenner, which have included: USS Bainbridge (DDG 96), USS Cole (DDG 67), USS Gonzalez (DDG 66), USS Gravely (DDG 107) and USS Jason Dunham (DDG 109); and the Ticonderoga-class cruiser USS San Jacinto (CG 56), commanded by Capt. Christopher Marvin.