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Greek PM Stresses Greece-US Bonds in Aircraft Carrier Eisenhower Visit

Aircraft Carrier Eisenhower Visit
PM Mitsotakis aboard the American aircraft carrier USS Dwight D. Eisenhower. Credit: Greek Government

Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis visited the USS Dwight D. Eisenhower aircraft carrier, which is docked at Souda Naval Base in Crete, on Tuesday.

Mitsotakis was received by Admiral Robert P. Burke, NATO Allied Joint Force Naples Commander, and Rear Admiral Scott Robertson, commander of Carrier Strike Group Two on the Eisenhower, while he was shown around by Captain Paul Campanga.

Aircraft Carrier Eisenhower Visit
Credit: Greek Government

“The military cooperation between the United States and Greece is at extremely high levels,” the Prime Minister said.

“The Souda base is the only one that can accommodate American ships of this size; as our country increases and invests in the deterrent strength of its Armed Forces, military cooperation with the United States is becoming increasingly important,” he added.

“This week, as we celebrate the 200th anniversary since the launch of the Greek Revolution, we are thinking about the ties that unite us with the United States. Bonds that are not only social, political and economic but are primarily bonds of (shared) values.

“We recall that Adamantios Korais corresponded very often with Thomas Jefferson,” Mitsotakis noted.

Aircraft Carrier Eisenhower Visit
Credit: Greek Government

On his part, US Ambassador to Greece Geoffrey Pyatt said that the base was “a reference point of our defense cooperation” and that the support offered by Greece is essential for the US presence in the Eastern Mediterranean.

He also underlined President Biden’s decision and personal commitment to promoting this relationship to an even higher level.

The Eisenhower in Naval drills with Greek forces

The aircraft carrier docked at Souda Bay on Saturday after conducting joint Naval exercises with the Hellenic Navy.

The Dwight D. Eisenhower Carrier Strike Group (IKE CSG) has been conducting an interoperability exercise with the Hellenic Armed Forces in the Mediterranean Sea.

Hellenic Navy forces are working with IKE CSG across multiple warfare areas.

The Hellenic frigate HS Psara (F-454) is embedded with the IKE CSG. Additionally, two Hellenic submarines are participating in anti-submarine warfare exercises, while Hellenic fighter aircraft will operate with the Carrier Air Wing fighters.

The activity as a whole has been planned and coordinated by the Hellenic National Defense General Staff (HNDGS) and the respective U.S. authorities, to build upon partnership capabilities using NATO operational and tactical procedures.

“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 Admiral 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.”

The Dwight D. Eisenhower Carrier Strike Group is a multiplatform team of ships and aircraft, with more than 5,000 sailors, capable of carrying out a wide variety of missions around the globe.

The Eisenhower is a nuclear-powered aircraft carrier

Commissioned in 1977, the ship is the second of the ten Nimitz-class aircraft carriers currently in service, and is the first ship named after the 34th President of the United States and General of the Army Dwight D. Eisenhower.

Since its commissioning, the Dwight D. Eisenhower has participated in deployments including Operation Eagle Claw during the Iran hostage crisis in 1980, as well as the Gulf War in the 1990s, and more recently in support of U.S. military operations in Iraq and Afghanistan.

The carrier currently serves as the flagship of Carrier Strike Group 10.

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