January 10, 2014 at 2:20 am Leave a comment

Jaunty Alouette

(French navy photo by Chief Petty Officer Frederic Duplouich)

(French navy photo by Chief Petty Officer Frederic Duplouich)

An Aerospatialie Alouette III helicopter assigned to the 35th squadron of the French aircraft carrier Charles de Gaulle (R 91) hovers near the guided-missile destroyer USS Bulkeley (DDG 84) in the Gulf of Oman.

The Bulkeley, part of the Harry S. Truman Carrier Strike Group, is conducting operations with ships assigned to French Task Force 473 to enhance cooperation and interoperability, as well as mutual maritime capabilities.

BTW, alouette is the French name for lark and also an old French song about plucking the feathers off the tiny bird. Relax francophiles and francophones, we know the first line of the song in French is “Alouette, gentille alouette,” but we also know that millions of American summer campers on bus trips and around camp fires, mangled the phrase to Jaunty Alouette (and we think this French helicopter looks pretty jaunty).

Et aussi, mes amis — the USS Bulkeley is named for Vice Admiral John Bulkeley, a PT boat skipper in both the Pacific and European theaters of war who battled shortages of supplies, spare parts and fuel — as well as the Japanese — in the defense of the Philippines in early 1942. For his heroism and leadership in the P.I. from December 1941 to April 1942, he was awarded the Medal of Honor. Two years later, Bulkeley was in command of PT boats patrolling the waters off the Normandy beaches on D-Day. The highly decorated Bulkeley was probably best known for commanding the risky PT boat mission that spirited Gen. Douglas MacArthur off the island of Corregidor through enemy patrolled waters during the bleak early days of the War with Japan. Robert Montgomery’s character in the John Ford World War II film, “They Were Expendable” was modeled on Bulkeley’s exploits in the Philippines.

Corrects the reason Bulkeley received the Medal of Honor: His combat leadership in the Philippines — not the MacArthur evacuation (for which he received the Silver Star medal).

Entry filed under: Aircraft, FRIDAY FOTO, National Security and Defense, Naval Warfare, Photos, Technology, Weaponry and Equipment. Tags: , , , , , , , , , .

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January 2014


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