French, U.S. Forces Train for Afghanistan
In the most recent display of French-American military cooperation, the Task Force La Fayette, one of France’s Brigade Combat Teams, has just completed a Mission Rehearsal Exercise in Fort Riley, Kansas. The group will be deployed to eastern Afghanistan in mid-April.
Once in the field, Task Force La Fayette will join the French 2nd Armored Brigade, whose history includes combat action during the D-Day invasion of France’s Normandy coast in 1944.
Leading the French contingent will be 1st U.S. Infantry Division commander, Major General William Mayville. Brigadier General Éric Hautecloque-Haysz will head the Task Force La Fayette. Under French and American leadership, more than 2,000 French soldiers will be deployed to fight shoulder-to-shoulder with their American brothers-in-arms from the 1st U.S. Infantry Division.
The U.S. division has its own distinguished history, having served as the oldest continuous division in the U.S. military. Informally called "The Big Red One" and "The Fighting First," the division fought in Meuse-Argonne, France in World War I, where a monument now stands in its honor. The division was first based at Fort Riley in 1955.