Here's What We Need to Remember: Greece continues to remain a vital NATO Ally, and has shown a commitment to regional peace and stability, while it also hosts U.S. Naval Support Activity Souda Bay, which enables American, as well as allied and partner nation forces, to operate and transit in and across the critical sea lanes of the Mediterranean Sea.
It wasn’t exactly “spring break” and it was still serious business, but last month some sailors of the U.S. Navy likely enjoyed the warmer waters near the Aegean Sea as the Dwight D. Eisenhower Carrier Strike Group (IKE CSG) conducted an interoperability exercise with the Hellenic (Greek) Armed Forces. The Hellenic frigate HS Psara (F-454) has been embedded with the CSG under its tactical control (TACON).
Two Hellenic submarines also participated in anti-submarine warfare exercises, while Hellenic fighter aircraft have operated with the Carrier Air Wing’s fighters.
Dwight D. Eisenhower Carrier Strike Group is a multiplatform team of ships, aircraft and more than 5,000 Sailors, capable of carrying out a wide variety of missions around the globe. The Navy provides a ready, flexible force capable of responding to a broad range of contingencies.
The carrier strike group currently consists of the Nimitz-class flagship USS Dwight D. Eisenhower (CVN 69); Ticonderoga-class guided-missile cruiser USS Monterey (CG 61); Destroyer Squadron 22 ships including the Arleigh Burke-class guided-missile destroyers USS Mitscher (DDG 57), USS Laboon (DDG 58), USS Mahan (DDG 72), and USS Thomas Hudner (DDG 116).
The joint interoperability exercises were planned and coordinated with the Hellenic National Defence General Staff (HNDGS) and respective U.S. authorities and employed North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) operational and tactical procedures. It was further meant to build upon the existing partnership between the United States and Greece, at a time when there has been regional friction.
“The IKE Strike Group is honored to work with our Greek Allies and build upon a foundation of trust and mutual commitment that spans 70 years,” said Rear Adm. Scott Robertson, Commander, Carrier Strike Group TWO. “We are stronger when we work alongside our allies and operations like this. Integrating our maritime forces help to ensure free and open conditions at sea.”
Greece continues to remain a vital NATO Ally, and has shown a commitment to regional peace and stability, while it also hosts U.S. Naval Support Activity Souda Bay, which enables American, as well as allied and partner nation forces, to operate and transit in and across the critical sea lanes of the Mediterranean Sea.
The United States continues to remain a pillar of stability in the eastern Mediterranean region.
“The U.S.-Greece defense relationship is at an all-time high, and growing stronger every day,” said U.S. Ambassador to Greece Geoffrey R. Pyatt.
“I am especially proud to see the IKE Strike Group in the Mediterranean—a strategically dynamic region where the United States is stepping up its engagement,” Pyatt added. “The cooperative deployment between our Forces is another excellent opportunity to strengthen their interoperability and partnership, helping advance our shared regional defense and security goals. The United States is committed to elevating and demonstrating our vital security relationship with Greece which is codified in our updated Mutual Defense Cooperation Agreement.”
Pyatt also posted from his Twitter account (@USAmbPyatt) a photo from a U.S. F-16 operating with the IKE Air Wing, noting, “Awesome view of @TheCVN69 and that unmistakable Aegean Blue from the cockpit of an @HAFspokesman F-16 operating with the IKE air wing. Welcome to the neighborhood!”
Peter Suciu is a Michigan-based writer who has contributed to more than four dozen magazines, newspapers and websites. He regularly writes about military small arms, and is the author of several books on military headgear including A Gallery of Military Headdress, which is available on Amazon.com.