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Deputy Commander

Vice Admiral Didier Piaton

After graduating from the Naval Academy in Brest and a first assignment in the Indian Ocean in 1986 on the corvette Doudart de Lagrée based in Djibouti, Vice-Admiral Piaton entered the realm of naval aviation.

Qualified as a helicopter pilot in 1989, he specialized in anti-submarine warfare on the Lynx Helicopter. After successful assignments aboard the frigates Montcalm, Cassard, and Dupleix, he took part in the operations of the first Gulf War in August 1990 as well as several coalition operations in Somalia, the Persian Gulf, and the Adriatic.

In 1994, he headed air detachment aboard the Jeanne d'Arc, naval training ship for officers.

Between 1995 and 1999, he was appointed Executive Officer, before commanding the new unit, which brought the new Panther helicopters into service for the French Navy.

After graduating from Joint War College in 2000, he was assigned to the Joint Military Staff in Paris until 2003 where he carried out duties for the Political and Strategic Studies Office, dealing in particular with NATO and EU-led operations in the Balkans.

Between 2003 and 2010, he served at sea, first as the Executive Officer of the destroyer Montcalm, before assuming command of the Ventôse (2004-2006), a frigate based in the French West Indies. In 2007, he was appointed Executive Officer aboard the newly commissioned LHD Tonnerre (Mistral class) before assuming Command of the LHD Mistral (2008-2010).

Throughout this whole operational period, he supported mainly counter-narcotics trafficking, cooperation, crisis prevention in the Gulf of Guinea, and emergency interventions operations.

After attending the 117th session of the NATO Defence College Senior Course in Rome (2010-2011), he was appointed head of Fleet Human Resources for crew and petty officers, reporting directly to the Director of Navy Military Personnel in Paris (2011 to 2014). He also served as Public Affairs Officer and spokesman for the Chief of Staff of the French Navy (2014-2016).

Promoted to Rear-Admiral (LH) in 2016, he assumed command of French Naval Forces deployed in the Indian Ocean as well as the French Joint Headquarters and Forces stationed in the United Arab Emirates, acting also as French National contingent Commander of Operation for Inherent Resolve (Iraq) until 2018.

Acting as deputy to the Chief of Staff/Operations at the Joint Staff in Paris since September 2018, he was promoted to Rear-Admiral (UH) in 2019. In this assignment, from March to May 2020, he supervised the COVID-19 ministerial crisis cell from the Joint Staff, in coordination with the Cabinet Office of Ministers.

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 Officer 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.

A family man, Vice-Admiral Piaton and his wife Dominique have raised five children with love and happiness. They both enjoy family gatherings, as well as practicing sea and mountain sports.

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