NORFOLK, Va. – Aboard USS George H.W. Bush, French and American sailors work long, hard days. Many sailors are up before the sun rises, while others are still on the flight deck well after midnight.
While the lessons learned during this exercise are important for both countries, the friendships forged at sea are equally so.
“It’s wonderful, it’s a wonderful experience and a unique experience for most of them and most of us,” shared Tactical Chief Stephane, with the French Navy. “I think everyone will remember that.”
Many of the memories though will not be from the time spent on the flight deck or carrier, but from the time they spent together off duty.
“We have enjoyed some social opportunities to get together, working along side and going out together has been a fantastic cultural experience for our folks and theirs,” said Captain Jim McCall.
The experience began in Hampton Roads before the French sailor boarded USS George H.W. Bush.
“It is not an area that we are going most of the time,” explained Commander March with the French Navy. “The U.S. navy is great, but just visiting the surroundings of NAS Oceana was great because it is a historical area.”
On the carrier the friendships continue to grow through fun at the gym and planned social activities like a video game tournament, making Mother’s Day cards
and a soccer game between the two countries.
“They have been coming out which has been awesome to see,” said Maggie Armel, Fun Boss USS George H.W. Bush. “Honestly wasn’t expecting it. The cohesion.”
It’s a unity sailors say will continue well after the training aboard USS George H.W. Bush.