I recently had the great pleasure of being invited to a reception on board the new French Navy frigate AQUITAINE. It was in port visiting Norfolk, VA this past weekend. The ship is unique in that it is state-of-the-art technology and where normally a crew of 300 would be necessary, it needs only a crew of 94. It was very impressive, both visually and capability-wise. When we stopped at the gate to get on the Navy base, we were told to "just look for the ship that looks totally different than a US Navy ship."
The AQUITAINE is going to transport a model of the BONHOMME RICHARD that was donated by the US Naval Academy to the French Naval Academy.
It will deliver the model to Brest, France when it returns home this spring. The model will be displayed at the French Naval Academy as a symbol of our continuing partnership in the search for BHR.
I was invited to deliver some short remarks during the event, along with Admiral John Harvey (USN ret.) and Tim Disher from the US Naval Academy. The event afforded me the
opportunity for formal and public acknowledgement of French Navy support for the ongoing search, which since 2009 has involved seven expeditions, with more than 300 FRN personnel going to sea and many more working shoreside to make it all happen. What a fantastic evening!