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USS Arlington and elements of the 22nd Marine Expeditionary Unit (MEU) recently concluded their participation in exercise Alexander the Great 22 (ATG22) primarily in the vicinity of Volos and Skyros Island, Greece.
ATG22 is a bilateral U.S.-Greece (Hellenic) amphibious training event conducted in the Aegean Sea. ATG22 exercised battalion-level command and control and company-level combined arms training in order to increase interoperability between the U.S. Navy-Marine Corps team and Hellenic Armed Forces.
“Alexander the Great was a tremendous success for the Marines of the 22nd Marine Expeditionary Unit,” said Lt. Col. Christopher Myette, executive officer of the 22nd MEU. “The training we executed with our NATO Allies in Greece reinforced the close relationship between our two militaries and provided an outstanding opportunity to learn from each other and hone our warfighting skills in a first class training venue.”
During ATG22, U.S. and Hellenic forces, including the 32nd Hellenic Marine Brigade as well as the Hellenic Army’s Special Warfare Command, participated in ship-to-shore operations and live fire artillery events, exercising combined lethal arms. USS Arlington supported MEU forces ashore, commanded by Commander, Task Force (CTF) 61/2’s Task Group 61/2.4 (Reconnaissance Counter-Reconnaissance Forces), by providing a nearby command element as well as deck-landing and logistic capabilities.
The 2nd Reconnaissance Battalion developed combined reconnaissance/sensing capabilities and staff functions; fulfilled the objectives outlined in the Line of Activity Strategy Implementation Summary (LOASIS – outlined by the Office of Defense Cooperation); and employed combined reconnaissance forces in key maritime terrain to enhance maritime domain awareness (MDA). The bilateral training event also included an amphibious assault.
“The culminating amphibious assault was an awesome demonstration of the amount of combat power that can be rapidly projected ashore when combining the capabilities of the Hellenic Armed Forces and the Marines and Sailors of the ARG-MEU team,” said Myette. “We thank our hosts from the 32nd Brigade of the Hellenic Marines for their tremendous hospitality, support and professionalism.”
While in port Alexandropoli, Arlington’s crew and embarked 22nd MEU will have the opportunity to explore the Hellenic culture and continue to build the already strong interpersonal bonds with their Greek Allies by participating in local tours and visiting historical sights.
The Kearsarge ARG and embarked 22nd MEU are under the command and control of Task Force 61/2. The ARG consists of USS Kearsarge; the San-Antonio class amphibious transport dock ship USS Arlington (LPD 24); and the Whidbey Island-class dock landing ship USS Gunston Hall (LSD 44).
Embarked commands with the Kearsarge ARG include Amphibious Squadron SIX, Fleet Surgical Team 2, Fleet Surgical Team 4, Tactical Air Control Squadron 22, Helicopter Sea Combat Squadron 28, Assault Craft Unit 2, Assault Craft Unit 4, Naval Beach Group 2, Beach Master Unit 2 and 22 MEU.
The 22nd MEU includes the command element; the aviation combat element, Marine Medium Tiltrotor Squadron 263 (Reinforced); the ground combat element, Battalion Landing Team 2/6 (Reinforced); and the logistics combat element, Combat Logistics Battalion 26.
Amphibious ready groups and larger amphibious task forces provide military commanders a wide range of flexible capabilities including maritime security operations, expeditionary power projection, strike operations, forward naval presence, crisis response, sea control, deterrence, counter-terrorism, information operations, security cooperation and counter-proliferation, and humanitarian assistance and disaster relief.
For over 80 years, U.S. Naval Forces Europe-U.S. Naval Forces Africa (NAVEUR-NAVAF) has forged strategic relationships with our 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.