Sailors assigned to guided-missile cruiser USS Gettysburg (CG 64) participated in a community engagement project during its scheduled port visit in Toulon, France, April 4.
Fifty Sailors traveled to a cemetery in Rhone and spent the morning working on the grounds and laying wreaths in honor of American soldiers who died in World War II.
“It is a reminder of the honor and courage that our predecessors portrayed,” said Operations Specialist 2nd Class James Wallace, who spent the morning working at the cemetery. “It is a privilege to be able to honor their legacy by working here today.”
Earlier in deployment, Gettysburg spent more than five weeks conducting operations with the French navy’s Charles de Gaulle Strike Group, as part of Harry S. Truman Carrier Strike Group. The cruiser also visited Marseille, France, in early August. The current visit allowed Gettysburg Sailors to reflect on their previous interactions with the French.
“Our joint operations with the French were an incredible experience,” said Lt. j.g. Collin Roof, who served as Gettysburg’s liaison on board French frigate FS Forbin (D620). “Working so closely with the French has taught us so much about each other.”
“On the first part of our deployment, we had the privilege of stopping in Marseille, France, and now we visit Toulon,” says Lt. Justin Top, the ship’s chaplain, who organized many of the community relations events for the cruiser. “We have been welcomed with absolute hospitality by both cities and it has been an incredible experience working with the French.”
Gettysburg, as part of Harry S. Truman Carrier Strike Group, is operating in the U.S. 6th Fleet area of responsibility (AOR) in support of maritime security operations and theater security cooperation efforts as it completes a nine month deployment to the U.S. 6th and 5th Fleet AORs.
Press Release, April 7, 2014; Image: US Navy