USS Arleigh Burke (DDG 51), currently assigned to the Gerald R. Ford Carrier Strike Group (GRFCSG), arrived in Souda Bay, Crete, for a regularly scheduled port visit December 10, 2023.

The port visit provides a chance to further strengthen the United States’ partnership with its NATO ally, Greece, and demonstrates the U.S.’ commitment to a stable, secure, and prosperous Europe, while allowing Arleigh Burke’s Sailors to experience the rich history and culture of Greece.

“Opportunities for port visits in Souda Bay are always enjoyed by the hard working sailors of Arleigh Burke,” said Cdr. Tyrchra Bowman, Arleigh Burke’s commanding officer. “Greece has played a crucial role in the NATO alliance since 1952 in maintaining collective security throughout the region. My team and I look forward to opportunities to train and continue to strengthen our maritime partnership together, as well as the opportunity to learn more about local history and culture.”

Arleigh Burke’s Morale, Welfare, and Recreation (MWR) committee has organized tours of several cultural sites, including the CretAquarium, a hiking trip through the Gorge of Imbros, and Knossos Palace.

“Crete looks amazing and I am grateful to work with the MWR team from Souda Bay to provide an opportunity for our crew to take advantage of their tours,” said Sonar Technician 1st Class and MWR President Mauricio Mares. “I look forward to sampling the local cuisine.”
The port visit also provides an opportunity for the crew to conduct short term maintenance after a month-long underway period throughout the Mediterranean.

CSG-12, Gerald R. Ford CSG, is on a scheduled deployment in the U.S. Naval Forces Europe-Africa area of operations, employed by U.S. Sixth Fleet to defend U.S., allied and partner interests.

Arleigh Burke is homeported in Rota, Spain, and currently operating with the Gerald R. Ford Carrier Strike Group (GRFCSG). The GRFCSG is comprised of Gerald R. Ford (CVN 78), Carrier Air Wing (CVW) 8, Destroyer Squadron (DESRON) 2, the Information Warfare Commander, and the Ticonderoga-class guided-missile cruiser USS Normandy (CG 60).

For over 80 years, U.S. Naval Forces Europe-U.S. Naval Forces Africa (NAVEUR-NAVAF) has forged strategic relationships with allies and partners, leveraging a foundation of shared values to preserve security and stability.

Headquartered in Naples, Italy, NAVEUR-NAVAF operates U.S. naval forces in the U.S. European Command (USEUCOM) and U.S. Africa Command (USAFRICOM) areas of responsibility. U.S. Sixth Fleet is permanently assigned to NAVEUR-NAVAF, and employs maritime forces through the full spectrum of joint and naval operations.