On December 7th, travelers near the Suez Canal witnessed an incredible sight as the French nuclear-powered aircraft carrier FS Charles de Gaulle (R 91) led a flotilla of warships from France, Belgium and Germany on a southbound transit into the U.S. Fifth Fleet area of operations, a crossing many of these vessels have made before at various times over the years. But Monday’s crossing held a special significance.
That’s because after completing the transition into the Red Sea, the admiral commanding this multi-national battle group, French Navy Rear Adm. Rear Adm. René-Jean Crignola, took command of U.S. Naval Forces Central Command’s Task Force 50, which plans and conducts naval strike operations in the region, and is the primary executor of the U.S. Navy’s support to Operation Inherent Resolve — the fight to destroy the ISIL terrorist organization. This is the first time an American ally has held command of this task force.