Greek and US forces held a joint military exercise, near Xanthi in northern Greece this week, in the context of the mutual defense cooperation agreement between the two NATO allies.
The final phase of the bilateral U.S.-Hellenic Army exercise IMMEDIATE RESPONSE/ CENTAUR 21, part of the huge pan-European exercise Defender-Europe 2021, was completed on Tuesday.
It was a tactical exercise at Brigade level, with live fire and with participation of units from Greece and the US, with the contribution of Great Britain in the field of Logistics.
Among the US forces participating in the exercise were the 1-131 Aviation Battalion’s Blackhawks their Alabama National Guard counterparts and the 1-167 Infantry Battalion.
Greece’s Deputy Minister of National Defence Alkiviadis Stefanis who attended the exercise held at the Xanthi Tank Firing Range highlighted the high level of cooperation and the excellent outcome of interoperability of personnel, procedures and assets.
“This training of the Hellenic and American Forces further promotes the long-term defense cooperation between Greece and the United States, inspired by the common desire for a substantial contribution to the security, stability and prosperity of our wider region.
“The will to further strengthen the long-term defense bonds of the two nations remains common and aims to ensure and maintain strong, efficient and interoperable Armed Forces, by consolidating their deep strategic relations,” the Greek minister said.
Largest U.S. Army contingent to train in the region
On his part US Ambassador to Greece Geoffrey Pyatt noted that the exercise marked the largest U.S. Army contingent to train in the region.
“It highlights our growing cooperation with the Hellenic Army, and specifically with the D Corps headquartered in Xanthi,” Pyatt said.
“The defensive operations we just witnessed build interoperability and operational efficiency between the U.S. and Hellenic Army units as part of the larger multilateral exercise, which includes more than 5,000 troops from 11 countries spread out across 31 training areas.
“Under our updated U.S.-Greece Mutual Defense Cooperation Agreement, the United States is committed to deepening our military-to-military relationship with Greece, to the benefit of both our countries and the NATO Alliance,” the US Ambassador said.
US-Greek military exercise part of Defender-Europe 2021
IMMEDIATE RESPONSE/ CENTAUR 21 was part of Defender-Europe 2021, a large-scale U.S. Army-led exercise, consisting of more than 28,000 multinational forces from 26 nations.
The exercise, held in several Balkan countries and Hungary, demonstrates America’s commitment to European security through the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO).
Such a large-scale exercise allows the US to practice and rehearse the logistics of moving thousands of soldiers and all their equipment almost halfway around the world. This is no easy feat. Doing so during a global pandemic makes it even more challenging.