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Rear-Admiral Coindreau takes the lead of the EUNAVFOR mission

CA Coindreau aboard the Grasse frigate (National Navy / DICOD French Ministry of Defence)

(BRUSSELS2) As announced (1), Rear Admiral Philippe Coindreau takes charge, on August 15, of the anti-piracy forces of the European Union (EUNAVFOR Atalanta), aboard the Grasse frigate which has just leave Toulon with the European General Staff. He will have the (formidable) responsibility of ensuring the coordination of all the resources involved (air and maritime) deployed in the Gulf of Aden and the Indian Ocean, and the three support bases (Seychelles, Kenya and Djibouti). But it's not really to scare this naval aviation pilot who has seen the terrain several times (Chad, Ex-Yugoslavia, Gulf of Oman).

A shock “Pat-mar”

Born in Toulon in June 1959, left the naval school at 20, after classes on the Joan of Arc and the Colbert, he chose… aviation, or rather the naval aeronautics school of Salon de Provence . He then took off with the 21F flotilla, based in Nîmes-Garons, on Bréguet-Atlantic. He participates in particular in the operation Catfish from Gabon which aims to ensure the withdrawal of French troops in Chad in 1984 (following a Franco-Libyan agreement which will not be respected by the latter afterwards) (2).

In 1986, he moved to Flotilla 22F as aircraft commander. Deployed to Djibouti in August 1987, he participated in the start of the operation Prometheus, responsible for ensuring the security of maritime traffic in the Gulf of Oman and the Gulf of Arabia during the Iran-Iraq war (after the attack on a French container ship by Iranian Pasdaran patrol boats). Then, it will be Chadian terrain again, within the operation Epervier (late 1988).

In 1989, a period devoted more to training began: instructor on board the Jeanne D'Arc (from September 1989), operational implementation of the Atlantic 2 to the 23F flotilla (from September 1990), control of training level of maritime patrol crews at the maritime patrol training cell in Nîmes -Garons (from September 1993).

The 23 F, the Foch, the Surcouf…

After a stint at the joint defense college and the Yugoslavia crisis unit of the Joint Operational Center of the General Staff, he returned to operational command at the head of the 23F flotilla, based in Lann-Bihoué (1996 – 1998). Assigned to the tactical staff of the admiral commanding the Naval Action Force (in September 1998), he participated in the 1999 operation Trident in the Adriatic aboard the aircraft carrier Foch during the Kosovo conflict (first use of laser-guided weapons for the Navy).

In April 2001, he took command of the Surcouf, stealth frigate. With two missions to his credit: the mission Corymb in the Gulf of Guinea (June – July 2001) – permanent presence mission in support of possible evacuations of nationals – and the operation Heracles off the Iranian and Pakistani coasts (February to May 2002) as part of support for the intervention in Afghanistan after the terrorist attacks of 2001 (French planes carried out several scouting, intelligence and bombing missions over Afghanistan ).

In September 2002, he returned to land, first to the headquarters of the Mediterranean maritime zone in Toulon – where he headed the Naval Air Forces Control Division – then, from July 2003, as commander of the Naval Air Base. Lann-Bihoué. Then, direction the capital, for a session of the IHEDN (the 58th September 2005-2006) and several positions (project manager and head of cabinet) general secretary for the administration of the Ministry of Defense (July 2006 to September 2009 ). It’s time for the White Paper, then restructuring.

Promoted to the rank of rear-admiral in September 2009, he is deputy commander of the rapid reaction aero-maritime force in Toulon.

(Nicolas Gros-Verheyde)

(1) The French command of EUNAVFOR will be…

(2) Read the story by Roland Dumas, Minister of Foreign Affairs at the time.

Nicolas Gros Verheyde

Chief editor of the B2 site. Graduated in European law from the University of Paris I Pantheon Sorbonne and listener to the 65th session of the IHEDN (Institut des Hautes Etudes de la Défense Nationale. Journalist since 1989, founded B2 - Bruxelles2 in 2008. EU/NATO correspondent in Brussels for Sud-Ouest (previously West-France and France-Soir).

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