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Greek and US Militaries Conduct Training Exercise in Thrace

US and Greek military personnel during the opening ceremony for Thracian Cooperation 23
In February, personnel from the Greek and US militaries will train together during the Thracian Cooperation exercise. Credit: Hellenic Army

This month, the Greek and US militaries are conducting joint training exercises in Thrace. Between February 12 and February 24, soldiers from both countries are participating in the Post-Troop Tactical Exercise (TAMS) “Thracian Cooperation 23”.

The opening ceremony for the brigade-level training event was held on Friday, February 10, in Petrochori, Xanthi.

In recent years, Greece and the US, who are allied through NATO, have been deepening their defense ties. Thracian Cooperation is just one of several bilateral and multilateral training exercises the Greek military participates in alongside its American counterparts.

Greek and US militaries participate in Thracian Cooperation 23

Several Greek and US military units are participating in the brigade-level exercise, which is taking place in Western Thrace.

According to a press release by the Hellenic Army, several military units from both countries are taking part in the exercise, including the XXV Armored Brigade (XXV TTHT “2ND CAVALRY REGIMENT – EPHESOS”), the 71st Airborne Brigade (71 A/M TAX “PONTOS”), the XXI Armored Brigade “CAVALRY BRIGADE – PINDOS”, the 1st Aviation Brigade Army (1st CLASS “KILKIS LAHANA”). From the US  the 2nd Brigade Combat Team of the 101st Airborne Division is present.

The training involves both live firing exercises and the use of Tactical Engagement Simulation Systems (SETS). SETS typically allow soldiers to safely simulate force-on-force engagements with the use of an integrated laser system. When a soldier is “hit” by simulated gunfire from a fellow trainee from the opposing force his/her harness will notify them of the hit.

Thracian Cooperation opening ceremony
Greek and American soldiers gathered for the Thracian Cooperation 23 opening ceremony. Credit: Hellenic Army

Defense ties

In recent years, Athens and Washington have made sustained efforts to deepen defense ties and military cooperation. The Mutual Defense Cooperation Agreement (MDCA) is the cornerstone of these deepening defense ties.

Last year, the Greek Parliament voted to extend the MDCA from one year to five years. The agreement allows the US military to operate and train at Greek military bases in Volos, Alexandroupolis, Litochoro, and Souda Bay.

Greek and American troops now frequently train together in at least 15 joint-military training exercises a year, either on a bilateral or multilateral basis. In addition to the Thracian Cooperation exercise being held this month, Greek and American forces also train together in Stolen Cerberus, Trojan Footprint, Poseidon’s Rage, Orion, Iniochos, Defender Europe, and Alexander the Great.

“Since 2018, thousands of our soldiers, Marines, sailors, airmen, and special operators have trained together to increase our combined interoperability, adaptability, warfighting capability, and resilience. These engagements have helped make Greece a more capable Ally and increased regional defense cooperation,” says the US Department of State.

Thracian Cooperation opening ceremony
Athens and Washington have been deepening military ties in recent years. Greek and American military personnel participate in at least 15 joint training exercises together every year. Credit: Hellenic Army

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