From Sunday 07 to Saturday 20 May 2023, the Armed Forces participated in the Multinational Special Operations Exercise named “SWIFT RESPONSE 23” (SR 23), in the context of the wider planning of the HNDGS regarding the international cooperation of the Armed Forces.
SR 23 is part of the Defender Europe 23 (DE 23) Large Scale Global Exercise (LSGE) planned and conducted by United States Army Europe and Africa (USAREUR-AF) forces to respond to any threats to NATO and its partners.
SR 23 was conducted in 3 regions of Europe (Greece, Estonia and Spain). In Greece, it was based on a scenario of execution of combined joint operations for the recapture of airports in the country, and in this context a similar operation was carried out in Skyros (click here), as well as in the area of Anthofytos in Kilkis, where the Observation Day of the Exercise took place (click here).
The Armed Forces of Germany, the USA and the Netherlands participated in SR 23 held in our country, while on the Greek side personnel and means of the 3 Branches of the Armed Forces participated, as well as the newly established Special Warfare Command of the HNDGS, as follows:
- From the Army, Helicopters (R/P) AH-64A/D, NH-90 and CH-47D.
- From the Hellenic Air Force, C-130 and C-27 transport aircraft, as well as F-4, F-16 Block 50 and Block 52+ Advanced fighters.
- From the Hellenic Navy, the Tank Ferry IKARIA and 1 Unorthodox Warfare Group (PLO) of the Underwater Disaster Command () with 2 Unorthodox Warfare-Fast Transport Vessels MARK V (SAP-TM/Mk-V).
- From the DEP, 1 NH-90 and 2 CH-47 from the Air Special Operations Unit, 2 Marine Companies of the 32nd PZN Regiment, 1 Parachute Company of the 2nd Parachute Squadron (2nd MAL), 1 Unorthodox Warfare Group (PLO) of the Department of Naval Special Operations (TNEE), 5 Special Operations Groups of the Special Parachute Section (ETA), as well as 2 Liaison Officers at the Mission Planning Cell at Aviano Air Base, Italy.
In the context of SR 23 and on the basis of the implementation of the updated Mutual Defense Cooperation Agreement between Greece and the USA (MDCA), the Exercise “NIKE 23” took place at the same time, concerning the relocation of the 12th Combat Aviation Brigade (CAB) of the US Army Air Force to the facilities of the 1st CLASS. During the event, joint trainings of the 1st Class with the 12th CAB were conducted, culminating in the firing of AH-64 Guided Missiles (K/V) HELLFIRE at the KARAVIA Firing Range.
The conduct of “SWIFT RESPONSE 23” in the area of responsibility of the Chief of HNDGS highlighted the strong and long-standing relationship between the Armed Forces of Greece and the USA, while the use of the Port of Alexandroupolis for the smooth and safe conduct of “DEFENDER EUROPE 23” demonstrates its key role and the importance of the facilities provided by Greece to the US and the Alliance.
Finally, on Friday 12 and Sunday 14 May 2023 in Komotini and Thessaloniki respectively, musical events were held by the band of USAREUR-AF (USAREUR-AF Band and Chorus) with the assistance of the Military Music of the III and IV Army Corps.