2014-11-11 Murielle Delaporte is visiting the French base in Djibouti.
Djibouti is at the crossroads of Asia and Africa and a very important transit route.
France has a long history in Djibouti.
Djibouti was obtained as a colony by France in 1862 and officially controlled Djibouti until it received independence in 1977.
Djibouti maintains military and economic agreements with France which provide continued security and economic assistance. The largest French military base in Africa is located in Djibouti’s territorial waters in the Red Sea.
Military facilities are in transition in the region as coalition forces operate there now as well.
And during the November 11th ceremony on the French base, US Marines and military representatives from Germany, Japan, Italy and Spain attended.
In a telephone interview, she highlighted that the ceremony was a very powerful reminder of the transitions underway, from the older French role to a multi-national one.
“The War to end all wars was very clearly remembered; yet the wars being fought now against terrorism in the region is ever present. But there is a very good esprit de corps among the allies working together in Djibouti toward common objectives and goals in reducing the threat of terrorism in the region and beyond.”
A ceremony was held on the base of the 5e Régiment Interarmes d’Outre-Mer (5e RIAOM).
The ceremony was attended by the General Montocchio, commander FFDJ (COMFOR) and the Ambassador of France in Djibouti and various French and foreign as well as former Djiboutian soldiers who had fought for France.
General Philippe Montocchio made a powerful statement about the meaning of the day and the significance for the French and allied soldiers now operating from Djibouti.
For us French, the Great War has always held a special place in our history.
It is the most terrible test ever known in France on its own soil.
It conjures up images of trenches, mud, terror and pain. (…)
We are here today to honor those ” friends and allies, who have sacrificed their lives to save France and a conception of the world that was seriously threatened. (…)
One hundred years after the Great War, we are fighting a similar battle that now lead our women and men, engaged with our allies overseas to theaters of operations at the service of peace, freedom and stability in the world.
These interventions take a very different form than the mass battles of yesteryear.
Their purpose is less easy to discern.
But their effects are long reaching.
But make no mistake, threats, perhaps less visible, we are facing today are just as dangerous because they carry the hatred of the other, intolerance, and barbarism.
The fight against extremism that is now ours is a noble fight that deserves our commitment.
In a society that is strongly individualistic, I encourage you, soldiers, sailors, airmen, civilian personnel of defence, to draw upon the values that motivated our ancestors: the values of courage, fraternity, solidarity, self-denial and self-transcendence, to carry out individually, but also collectively, the assignments at the beginning of XXI century facing the French armed forces.
At the ceremony, ten French soldiers were provided medals for their courage in an operation.
A French soldier was awarded the Legion of Honor and five of the National Order of Merit.
Three French soldiers received a gold medal from the National Defence for their involvement in Operation Sangaris in Central Africa.
The tenth was awarded the Cross of Military Valour with bronze palm for his success in firing on enemy positions during an operation also part of the Sangaris operation.
The 11th MEU has been training at the Djibouti facility over the past few days.
In the first photo, U.S. Marines with Combat Logistics Battalion 11, 11th Marine Expeditionary Unit (MEU), fire a 240B medium machine gun from the turret of a Humvee during a live-fire static crew-served weapons range as part of sustainment training at D’Arta Plage, Djibouti, Nov. 5.
The 11th MEU is deployed as a theater reserve and crisis response force throughout U.S. Central Command and the U.S. 5th Fleet area of responsibility.
- In the second photo, U.S. Marine Corps Sgt. Dylan S. Large with Charlie Company, 1st Light Armored Reconnaissance detachment, Battalion Landing Team 2nd Battalion, 1st Marines, 11th Marine Expeditionary Unit (MEU), aims a French FAMAS assault rifle alongside French armed forces from the 1st Spahis Regiment during sustainment training in D’Arta Plage, Djibouti, Nov. 5.
- In the third photo, the Casualty Evacuation (CASEVAC) heavy team comprised of Lt. Shannon A. Meyer, left, an emergency nurse and native of Seaford, N.Y., and Lt. Cmdr. Anthony M. Bielawski, second left, an emergency medicine physician and native of Bay City, Michigan, both with Combat Logistics Battalion 11, 11th Marine Expeditionary Unit (MEU).
- In the fourth photo, Lt. Shannon A. Meyer, an emergency nurse and native of Seaford, New York, with Combat Logistics Battalion 11, 11th Marine Expeditionary Unit (MEU), speaks with an MV-22B Osprey crew chief from Marine Medium Tiltrotor Squadron, 11th MEU, during a response drill as part of Casualty Evacuation (CASEVAC) sustainment training at D’Arta Plage, Djibouti, Nov. 5.
- In the fifth photo, U.S. Marine Corps Sgt. Robert J. Scarpello, left, an explosive ordnance disposal technician with Combat Logistics Battalion 11, 11th Marine Expeditionary Unit (MEU), and native of Sellersville, Pa., gives a period of instruction on the compact metal detector during a counter-improvised explosive device exercise as part of sustainment training at D’Arta Plage, Djibouti, Nov. 6.
- In the sixth and seventh photos, a UH-1Y Super Huey with Marine Medium Tiltrotor Squadron 163 (Reinforced), 11th Marine Expeditionary Unit (MEU), takes off after delivering supplies to Marines conducting sustainment training at D’Arta Plage, Djibouti, Nov. 7.
- In the final photo, U.S. Marine Corps Cpl. David S. Chandler, a light armored vehicle crewman with Charlie Company, 1st Light Armored Reconnaissance detachment, Battalion Landing Team 2nd Battalion, 1st Marines, 11th Marine Expeditionary Unit (MEU), and native of Dublin, California, leaves a forward operating base during a security patrol as part of sustainment training in D’Arta Plage, Djibouti, Nov. 6.