The history is 30 years old and while it was happening in the early 1990s, I was a US Navy officer on exchange with the French Navy.
Here's how it sorts out from my recollections.
I was attending Defense Language Institute in Monterey, CA in the spring, summer, and fall of 1989 before taking up duties with the French, one of the 30 members of NATO (L'OTAN—l'organisation du traité de l'Atlantique Nord) when toward the end of the French course, the Berlin Wall came tumbling down in November.
After a month of R&R in Thailand I began a gauntlet that would put me in Washington DC at the Pentagon and French Embassy, then the US Embassy in Paris to get all checked in an situated, then NATO HQ in Belgium. This wasn't high-level stuff. I was a junior officer just doing the rounds, being briefed, and taking it all in.