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Greece’s Special Forces Among NATO’s Best

Greece special forces
Greek special forces in training during a drill near Athens earlier in April. Credit: Greek Reporter

The Special Forces of Greece have recently been included by NATO into an exclusive club of the world’s elite special forces, such as the US’s Delta Force and Navy Seals and Britains’ SAS.

In late 2021 Greece’s special paratrooper unit ETA (Ειδικό Τμήμα Αλεξιπτωτιστών) achieved the highest possible rating by the evaluators from the NATO Special Operations Forces Headquarters (NSHQ).

The NSHQ committee evaluated ETA as “Combat Ready” and described its performance as exceptional, meaning that the Greek commandos can now deploy as part of a NATO Special Operations Land Task Group.

During the NSHQ evaluation, ETA was joined by Chemical Biological, Radiological, Nuclear (CBRP) units of the Special Battalion PBX.

It designed and carried out a wide range of missions according to a hypothetical scenario that mimicked the current security challenges, covering a range of missions undertaken by other NATO Special Operations Units.

Gen. Konstantinos Floros, chief of the Hellenic National Defense General Staff and a special operator himself, said in a tweet at the time:

“My warm congratulations to the ETA for the excellent performance in the unit’s evaluation by the NATO Special Operations HQ. [We are] proud once more for the combat-ready ETA.”

Greek special forces in joint training with allies

The Hellenic National Defense General Staff says that ETA is fully organized, staffed, and equipped with modern weapons according to international standards.

The unit has been conducting military drills with forces from other NATO allies and beyond. In early April, it participated in the “Orion 22” exercise near its main base about 30 miles north of Athens.

Greek special forces
Greek, American, and Israeli special forces during the recent Orion military exercise. Credit: Greek Reporter

Special forces units from the US, Israel, Bulgaria, France, and Cyprus took part in the drill, aiming at assisting the interoperability of the forces in tasks such as the penetration into an enemy area with a free fall jump, artillery fire guidance, and sniper tactics.

ETA part of NATO Special Operations Forces

ETA is part of NATO Special Operations Forces (SOF) which provide capabilities that complement those of NATO air, maritime, and land forces and are relevant across the full range of military operations.

The NSHQ is the primary point of development, coordination, and direction for all NATO Special Operations activities.

Located at Supreme Headquarters Allied Powers Europe (SHAPE) in Mons, Belgium, the NSHQ focuses on ensuring Allied Joint SOF personnel possess a multinational foundation to allow them to operate as effectively, efficiently, and coherently as possible in support of the Alliance’s objectives from the strategic to the tactical level.

Twenty-six NATO member countries and three partners (Austria, Finland, and Sweden) are represented among 200 plus headquarters staff.

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