US forces are preparing for what is described as the largest-ever military landing in Greece, which is scheduled for November at Alexandroupolis.
A large number of helicopters, unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs), tanks, cannons, and artillery are expected to reach the Greek port near the border with Turkey in the weeks to come as part of an extensive military shipment that is of unprecedented scale.
The shipment, according to Greek media, will be part of a military drill that will take place in Romania, Bulgaria, the Balkans, and central Europe.
The same warship of the USNS Yuma Spearhead class that will carry out the mission did so during a similar military drill last year. The Yuma is high-speed, shallow draft vessel intended for rapid intratheater transport of medium-sized cargo payloads. It is able to transport U.S. Army and U.S. Marine Corps company-sized units with their vehicles, or it can be reconfigured to become a troop transport for an infantry battalion.
Great numbers of military vehicles and equipment will be delivered to the region, including helicopters of the Romeo, Sikorsky, and Chinook types, as well as M1 Abrams tanks as part of the shipment.
US Greece renew MDCA
Last week, the US and Greece further strengthened their bilateral ties by opening a new round of strategic dialogue and signing the renewal of the Mutual Defense Cooperation Agreement (MDCA).
At a ceremony at the Department of State, US Secretary of State Anthony Blinken described Greece as a reliable ally and pillar of stability, during his joint statements with Greek Foreign Minister Nikos Dendias.
“We believe that, together, Greece and the United States can become an even more powerful force for peace, for prosperity, and for human dignity. Because fundamentally that is what we both stand for,” the US Secretary said.
US to invest in military installations in Greece
The US is investing in military installations at strategic locations, as in Alexandroupolis and on Crete, while the MDCA along with the defense agreement with France and the agreements with the United Arab Emirates create a defense shield for Greece, they said. The French agreement in particular boosts the EU’s and NATO’s defense capabilities.
The port of Alexandroupolis, which will host the US forces, has been elevated to strategic importance for the US. It was also used for the transport of US military hardware for the multinational exercise called “Defender Europe 21,” in May.
Geoffrey Pyatt, the US ambassador to Greece, said while visiting: “It is proof of our strategic commitment to northern Greece and of Alexandroupolis’ role as a military logistics hub, an energy hub, a regional access hub and a transport hub.
“This was a region which, when I arrived in Greece in 2016, seemed somewhat forgotten. This is no longer the case. I am very proud of the partnerships we have built, not just with respect to military cooperation and security, which is exceptionally important, but also, for example, in energy, with the FSRU, the natural gas power station, the IGB and TAP pipelines,” Pyatt said.