Interesting story by the Canadian Press on the French-American naval exchange program’s role in Libya:

U.S. Navy Lt. Patrick Salmon is getting ready for another day at work, strapping himself into the cockpit of his strike jet and roaring off this French aircraft carrier for his daily attack mission against Moammar Gadhafi’s ground forces.

He’ll be launched into action by Kyle A. Caldwell, another U.S. Navy lieutenant who operates the flattop’s catapult systems. When Salmon is ready to set his plane back on deck, yet a third U.S. Navy lieutenant, Philip Hoblet, will be standing by in a French rescue helicopter, hovering just off the ship’s bow in case any of the returning pilots are forced to ditch into the sea.

The United States, which originally led the Libya campaign, has been steadily reducing its role over the past two weeks. On March 31, it handed over command and control of the international campaign to NATO, the North Atlantic Treaty Organization, and shortly after that it ceased all attack missions over Libya — setting of a search by NATO for more planes capable of carrying out precision strikes against Gadhafi’s forces.

Posted by Christopher Albon in Navy

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  • Byron

    Just think, these Naval Aviators at the end of a long day aviating get to go to the dirty shirt wardroom and have a couple of glasses of wine 🙂

  • Soooo……while the U.S. is “not” bombing Libya anymore (since these are French aircraft), then these U.S. pilots are just sorta, well, not really “United States”? They’re private? Quasi-French? Mercs?


    Cute politikkin!

    humbug. Still our people going into harms’ way. God keep em safe…..

  • alfred_the_great

    French Ships have a tank (much the same as AVCAT or Dieso tanks) full of wine. Makes you wonder if they do underway replenishment of red wine? I’d like to see that!

  • Chuck Hill

    Not unlike when a US Navy aviator, flying an American built PBY for the Brits was the one who relocated the Bismark, leading to its destruction.

    You gotta love exchange programs.

  • JD

    Gotta love them indeed. There was also LCDR Joseph Wellings, who was aboard HMS Rodney during the hunt for the Bismarck and the final battle.

  • John S Miller MD

    I am a former Captian in the Medical Corps of the USNR. I am a patriot. I do not think we should be the worlds police force or that we should shed a drop of United States blood fighting other countrys wars.