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US Aircraft Carrier USS George H. W. Bush Returns to Souda Bay, Crete

USS George H. W. Bush aircraft carrier
The USS George H. W. Bush aircraft carrier and its accompanying strike group docked at Souda Bay in Crete on Friday. Credit: Nicholas Hall / US Navy / Public Domain / Wikimedia Commons

On Friday, March 10, the US Nimitz-class aircraft carrier USS George H.W. Bush (CVN 77) and the embarked staff of Carrier Strike Group (CSG) 10 returned to the port of Souda Bay in Crete after conducting exercises in the Mediterranean Sea.

CSG 10, of which the USS George H.W. Bush is the flagship, was busy conducting Neptune Strike (NEST) 23-1. The maritime activity aimed to bolster NATO interoperability at sea in connection with European security interests.

USS George H. W. Bush and the other vessels of CSG 10 conducted joint exercises and operations with the Italian and Spanish navies. During their time on dry land in Crete, the sailors of CSG 10 will have a chance to rest and experience Greek culture.

USS George H. W. Bush docks at Souda Bay, Crete

“Our sustained, integrated operations with our allies during deployment has been invaluable to strengthening our relationships and integrated deterrence in the region,” said Rear Admiral Dennis Velez, the commander of CSG 10. “We look forward to visiting Souda Bay after a busy period at sea with our NATO allies.”

Whilst at sea, the USS George H. W. Bush and CSG 10 completed multicarrier operations as well as air-land integration exercises alongside vessels from the Italian and Spanish navies as part of NEST.

“Activities like NEST are great opportunities to deepen the interoperability and interchangeability of the alliance and to further vital US military and diplomatic strategy,” said commanding officer Captain Dave Pollard.

“Showcasing the strength of the alliance to regional adversaries provides opportunities to diplomats to negotiate from a position of strength,” Pollard continued.

US-Greece defense ties

The captain also said that the US Navy was keen to strengthen its defense ties with Greece whilst the USS George H. W. Bush was docked at Souda Bay.

“As ambassadors of our country, we plan to only continue our outstanding reputation of being respectful guests in the beautiful region around Souda Bay,” Pollard said. “These warriors understand the importance of representing the United States in our allied nations.”

Sailors from the aircraft carrier will also take part in environmental work on the island. Specifically, the naval personnel will be involved in cleanup efforts around Kladisos Beach not far from the city of Chania.

The officers of CSG 10 also said that sailors will have an opportunity to relax and recuperate on the island after a busy period of sailing in the Mediterranean.


CSG 10 consists of the flagship, the USS George H. W. Bush aircraft carrier, the Ticonderoga-class cruiser Leyte Gulf, and four ships of Destroyer Squadron 26.

As a Nimitz-class aircraft carrier, the USS George H. W. Bush has the capacity to carry 90 fixed-wing aircraft and helicopters.

The main purpose of a carrier strike group is force projection. Aircraft carriers grant the military global aerial reach and greater freedom to manoeuvre.

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