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U.S. Department of Defense
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Presenter: Secretary of Defense Ash Carter December 19, 2015

Remarks by Secretary Carter Aboard the French Aircraft Carrier Charles de Gaulle

SECRETARY OF DEFENSE ASH CARTER: Very good. Well, good morning. I just -- I just had a conversation with my good friend and colleague, Jean-Yves Le Drian, who is the French defense minister, who couldn't be here today because he's meeting with President Hollande. But I know if he were here, he'd say pretty much the same thing I'm going to say to you.

First, now, speaking as an American, it is magnificent for me to be out here on this strong ship with a strong ally like France. France is -- maybe some of you don't know -- America's oldest ally. Oldest friend and ally. We're very proud to be your friend and your ally. And this makes me especially proud.

I had a conversation with the minister and your staff and commanders earlier today. We are proud that you are commanding Task Force 50, commanding -- make sure we can get this in at least French and English, but I know there are some folks here from other countries, as well.

But we were talking earlier today about accelerating the campaign to defeat ISIL, or Daesh, as some people call it. This is an evil force that will be defeated, must be defeated, must be defeated quickly, and my instructions from President Obama -- and I know your instructions from President Hollande -- are to accelerate the defeat of Daesh. And you have been doing that right here on board this ship.

And not only that, have you been contributing to the defeat of ISIL, but also being here in the Gulf, you're on a broader mission, which is the security of this region. And that's a reminder to us of the global reach, global strength, and global reputation of France as a force for civilization. This is the civilized world defending itself and defending what we stand for.

So I'm exceedingly proud to be with you. And for the Americans here, I'm so proud of you. I'm always proud of you. It's wonderful to see you here. And to other nations represented here, also part of the coalition, thank you, as well. We Americans are exceptionally proud to have friends like you.

STAFF: (Speaking French)

SEC. CARTER: Thank you. Thank you very much. Appreciate it. Now I think I get a chance -- I get a chance to shake some hands? I get a chance to look some of you at least right in the eye and say thank you right to you.

Also, remember, I forgot to say an important thing. It's holiday time. Holiday time in the U.S., holiday time in France. We are very appreciative of the fact that you will not be spending the holiday with your families. You will be here, and that's a sacrifice. But it's a noble sacrifice. And it's one we're very grateful for.

My wife is here with me, so from my family to your families, French, American, and others, we're all one family in this fight. And we're all one family in this holiday season. Please let your families know also how proud we are of you.

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