Having joined the Naval Academy in Brest in 1983, Didier Piaton entered the realm of naval aviation at the beginning of his career. As a junior officer, he qualified as a helicopter pilot and specialized in anti-submarine warfare. He then was deployed in many operations notably in the Gulf, Horn of Africa and the Balkans. He concluded his first operational experience by commanding the newly created helicopter 36th squadron based in Toulon.
Graduated from Joint War College in 2000, he was then assigned to the Joint Military Headquarters in Paris where he carried out strategic level planning duties, dealing in particular with NATO and EU-led operations in the Balkans.
Between 2004 and 2010, he served mainly at sea assuming command of a surveillance frigate based in the French West Indies (FS Ventôse 2004-2006), and the recently commissioned LHD Mistral based in Toulon (2008-2010).
After this operational period, where he contributed mainly to counter-narcotics trafficking operations, crisis prevention in the Gulf of Guinea, and emergency interventions operations, he attended the 117th session of the NATO Defence College Senior Course in Rome (2010-2011).
He started this senior-level part of his career with shore appointments including Human Resources Management (2011-2014) as well as Public Affairs Officer and spokesman for the Chief of Staff of the French Navy (2014-2016).
Promoted Rear-Admiral (LH) in 2016, he assumed command of French Naval Forces deployed in the Indian Ocean and of the French forces based in Abu Dhabi, acting also as French National contingent Commander of Operation for Inherent Resolve (Iraq) until 2018. He served as deputy to the Chief of Staff/Operations at the Joint Staff in Paris (2018-2020), supervising the COVID-19 ministerial crisis cell from the Joint Staff.
Upon promotion to his present rank in June 2020, Vice-Admiral Piaton has been the Deputy Commander at the Allied Maritime Command (MARCOM) in Northwood (UK).
He holds various decorations and awards, including Commander of the Legion of Honour, Commander of the National Merit, the Military Valour Cross, the Overseas Medal (Middle East and Somalia clasps), and the Aeronautical Medal.
Married to Dominique, they raised five beloved children.