Sailors and Marines assigned to the San Antonio-class amphibious transport dock ship USS Mesa Verde (LPD 19) and embarked 26th Marine Expeditionary Unit (Special Operations Capable) MEU((SOC)) arrived in Piraeus, Greece for a regularly scheduled port visit, Jan. 02, 2024.
During this port visit, the Sailors and Marines will have the opportunity to experience the historical city of Piraeus, while strengthening the bond with a fellow NATO ally, Greece.
“We are excited to be welcomed to Greece again,” said Mesa Verde’s Commanding Officer Capt. Marc Davis. “This is a great opportunity for the Sailors and Marines aboard the USS Mesa Verde to further strengthen the continued relationship with our NATO ally, as well as enjoy Greece’s vibrant culture.”
Prior to porting in Piraeus, the ship and embarked 26th MEU (SOC) conducted a bilateral training exercise with the 32nd Hellenic Marine Brigade, increasing interoperability and overall readiness between the two nations.
“This port visit is a great opportunity for the Marines and Sailors of the 26th MEU (SOC) to enjoy some well-earned liberty and a unique opportunity to experience the rich culture and history of Greece,” said 26th MEU (SOC) Commanding Officer Col. Dennis Sampson.
Bataan Amphibious Ready Group, composed of Wasp-class amphibious assault ship USS Bataan (LHD 5), Harpers Ferry-class dock landing ship USS Carter Hall (LSD 50), and USS Mesa Verde, are on a scheduled deployment as the tri-geographic combatant command crisis response force with elements deployed in the U.S. 6th Fleet and U.S. 5th Fleet areas of operation to increase maritime security and stability, and to defend U.S., allied, and partner interests.
The 26th MEU (SOC) serves as one of the United States’ premier crisis response forces capable of conducting amphibious operations, crisis response, and limited contingency operations, to include enabling the introduction of follow-on-forces and designated special operations, in support of theater requirements of the geographic combatant commander. The 26th MEU(SOC) serves as a premier stand-in force with all-domain operational capabilities necessary to compete and win within the littorals and weapons engagement zones of an adversary in any clime or place.
Headquartered in Naples, Italy, U.S. Naval Forces Europe-Africa (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.