Hundreds of US Marines did their best to boost the Greek economy during a recent visit to Alexandroupolis, reportedly eating thousands of eggs from local restaurants after landing at the key military port city in northeast Greece.
Several media reports detailed the marines’ ravenous appetites over the three days they were in town. One tavern owner said 6,000 to 7,000 eggs were needed to serve around 1,500 officers and enlisted men and women around the city who had arrived aboard the US Navy’s USS Arlington.
“In other words, we don’t have eggs,” said the owner, Giorgos Alavantas, according to reports. Presumably, the city has been restocked.
The marines, who also consumed substantial quantities of red meat, were reportedly enamored with the local cuisine and the relatively low prices of their meals. And as military men and women of the sea have been known to do, some also visited shops, markets, and local tattoo parlors to forever remember their visit. Because of the sheer number of tattoo requests, artists were limiting their work to simpler, smaller creations, according to reports.
Business owners around the city had been advised in advance of the approaching consumer storm, and evidently, the prediction was accurate.
Marines in Alexandroupolis
The USS Arlington is a 200-meter-long—650-foot—transport dock behemoth, whose name commemorates two sites of the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks. The vessel is so big it has its own museum, where steel pieces taken from the Pentagon after the attacks are on display. The ship reportedly holds a maximum of eight hundred people.
The military also ran fifteen rented buses to transport the soldiers to the restaurants and shops, SKAI news reported.
A NATO hub near the boarder of Turkey, Alexandroupolis has become a strategic node for transport, military logistics, and energy, said former US Ambassador to Greece, Geoffrey Pyatt. “In 2017, I came to Alexandroupoli and we began a systematic effort on behalf of the United States government to lift our engagement here,” Pyatt said in May just before he stepped down as ambassador.
The same month, foreign minister Nikos Dendias said Alexandroupolis would play a vital role in the military presence of the U.S. in the country. Dendias described the use of the northern Greek port by the American military as “one of the most important elements of the agreement,” referring to the Mutual Defense Cooperation Agreement signed between Greece and the US. He said that the key role of the Alexandroupolis port should be an energy hub rather than a commercial port.
Around that time, Greece also condemned the overflight of two Turkish fighter jets near Alexandroupolis, calling the incident an “unprecedented violation of national sovereignty.” The jets flew into Greek airspace within 2.5 nautical miles of the northeastern city.