French Fighter Pilot Finishes 3-Year Tour in U.S. Air Force
People are usually aware of the student exchange programs between France and the U.S., but only a few know that a similar initiative exists in the Army.
French Commandant (Maj.) Yann "Shrek" Malard, 35 years old, just finished a 3-year tour under the foreign exchange pilot program between the French Armée de l’air and the U.S. Air Force.
Flying with the 75th Fighter Squadron out of Moody Air Force Base in Valdosta, Ga., Maj. Malard was the first Frenchman to fly the A-10C Thunderbolt II, known for its maneuverability at low speeds and low altitudes to provide close-air support for troops in contact.
“The units here and in France have similar missions, but we have different tactics and techniques," said Commandant Malard. “Serving with an American unit both in training and in combat gives us the chance to share our knowledge and improve overall efficiency,”
In addition to the daily training in Georgia with his unit, Major Malard deployed to Afghanistan for 6 months where he logged nearly 400 hours performing 90 combat missions. He is now a student at the Ecole de guerre in Paris.
There are currently some 100 French soldiers serving in American units.