September 6, 2019 (Google Translation) – Former Chief of Staff of the Navy and 1st Commander of France’s first nuclear submarine-launcher (SNLE): The Redoutable, Admiral Bernard Louzeau died on the night of 5-6 September 2019. The Admiral Christophe Prazuck, Chief of the Naval Staff pays tribute to him ” 1st commander of the Redoutable, CEMM from 1987 to 90, he built the navy today. His penetrating intelligence, his strategic vision, the quality of his commandment have marked those who served him. It will remain an example and a reference. ”
Born in Talence in 1929, Admiral Louzeau graduated from the Naval Academy in 1947. In 1950, he took part in the fighting in Indochina and later joined the submarine forces. In 1968, he took command of SNLE Le Redoutable, the first French nuclear submarine launcher (SNLE) and flagship of the deterrence whose first patrol took place in 1972. He is Chief of Staff of the Navy (CEMM) from 1987 to 1990. Admiral Bernard Louzeau was Grand Cross of the Legion of Honor.
On March 21, 1972, the SNLE Le Redoutable was returning from its first deterrent patrol that began on January 28, 1972. Captain Bernard Louzeau, the first commander of the Redoutable reports that ” the patrol was conducted without any concern. Nothing to report – SAR during this first patrol punctuated with fictitious launches. Two events will nonetheless mark it: the first operation of appendicitis and the follow-up of the rescue operation of a Soviet submarine in distress at the end of February 1972. We will learn later that it was the K-19 , forced to rise to the surface following a fire on board. The Soviet army dispatched a large fleet and the Americans came to “sniff”. I had to cleverly maneuver not to find myself in the middle of it all. ”
The first crew of the SNLE Le Redoutable was both singular and multiple. Singular, since it involves bringing together the staff who will serve on a brand new type of building whose complexity and constraints are gradually being discovered. Multiple, because of the original nucleus of this crew come from the blue and red crews of this unit and the skeleton of the crews of the following SSBNs.
In 1964, the first officers were approached for weapons and educated in Cherbourg at the School of Military Applications of Atomic Energy (EAMEA) and Admiral Bailleux, Director of Military Personnel, informs CC Louzeau, then at the War School, of his future responsibilities. From 1966, alongside CC Guillou, CC Louzeau established the profile of the crew of the Redoutable. Careful, he notes in his notebooks the references of naval officers or petty officers who may be useful for the mission. ” All this is not the result of chance. That’s where I worked, where I opened my school notebook, where I practically followed man by man at the beginning, “he said later.
On July 14, 1988, then Chief of Staff of the Navy, Admiral Louzeau had pronounced this phrase that still resonates in the heart of the mosses and especially those who have just made their return ” An old moss is recognized long after his leaving school to his sense of duty, his discipline, his professional conscience, his adaptation to the sea. ”
The Minister of the Armed Forces, Florence Parly, salutes the memory of a great sailor, with a warm and charismatic personality. The Navy and the community of submariners mourn today one of their emblematic figures, one of the fathers of the French nuclear deterrent.