The Nimitz-class aircraft carrier USS George H.W. Bush (CVN 77) – along with the embarked staff of Carrier Strike Group (CSG) 10, George H.W. Bush Carrier Strike Group (GHWBCSG) – arrived in Souda Bay, Crete, for a scheduled port visit Oct. 6, 2022.
The port visit provides an opportunity to further strengthen the enduring relationship between the United States and Greece, and allow the Sailors of GHWBCSG a chance to experience the allied nation’s culture.
“The defense and security cooperation between the United States and Greece is at an all-time high. We value the relationship we have with our Greek allies and the bases and support facilities at Souda Bay continue to serve as a “crown jewel” in the eastern Mediterranean Sea that enable U.S. and NATO missions, interoperability, and security in the region,” said Rear Adm. Dennis Velez, commander, CSG-10, GHWBCSG. “We are stronger when we work together with our allies, and also when we build upon the already strong relationships we have with them.”
During their time in port, Sailors will depart the ship to experience and appreciate the people and culture in and around Souda Bay. It will be the ship’s first port visit since departing Norfolk on Aug. 10, 2022 for a planned deployment.
“Our Sailors know the importance of our responsibility to represent our families, cities, states, and shipmates as Ambassadors wherever we go, and we look forward to enjoying a well-deserved port visit with our friends in Souda Bay,” said Capt. Dave Pollard. “We value the importance of the relationships we have with our allies, and we look forward reinforcing and building upon that foundation.”
The ship’s Morale, Welfare, and Recreation (MWR) team worked with local and regional partners to line up a variety of tours and daytrips for Sailors to experience the region. Trips include a daylong hikes and trips to well-known historical and cultural sites.
In addition to MWR trips, Sailors will also have the opportunity to participate in clean-up events organized with and through local officials.
“It will be good to spend time in a beautiful country enjoying the local food, art, and history to recharge from being on the ship,” said Aviation Boatswain’s Mate (Handling) First Class Jose Mercado, George H.W. Bush’s Sailor of the Year. “But we know it’s also important to give back to the local community while we have these opportunities to enjoy the culture and learn about regional history.”
CSG-10, GHWBCSG, is on a scheduled deployment in the U.S. Naval Forces Europe-Africa area of operations, employed by U.S. Sixth Fleet to defend U.S., allied and partner interests.
George H.W. Bush is the flagship of CSG-10 and the GHWBCSG. CSG-10 is comprised of George H.W. Bush, Carrier Air Wing (CVW) 7, Destroyer Squadron (DESRON) 26, the Information Warfare Commander, and the Ticonderoga-class guided-missile cruiser USS Leyte Gulf (CG 55).
The ships of DESRON-26 within CSG-10 are the Arleigh Burke-class guided-missile destroyers USS Nitze (DDG 94), USS Farragut (DDG 99), USS Truxtun (DDG 103), and USS Delbert D. Black (DDG 119).
The squadrons of CVW-7 embarked aboard George H.W. Bush are the “Jolly Rogers” of Strike Fighter Squadron (VFA) 103, the “Pukin Dogs” of VFA-143, the “Bluetails” of Carrier Airborne Early Warning Squadron (VAW) 121, the “Nightdippers” of Helicopter Sea Combat Squadron (HSC) 5, the “Sidewinders” of VFA-86, the “Nighthawks” of VFA-136, the “Patriots” of Electronic Attack Squadron (VAQ) 140, and the “Grandmasters” of Helicopter Maritime Strike Squadron (HSM) 46.
For over 80 years, U.S. Naval Forces Europe-U.S. Naval Forces Africa (NAVEUR-NAVAF) has forged strategic relationships with allies and partners, leveraging a foundation of shared values to preserve security and stability.
Headquartered in Naples, Italy, NAVEUR-NAVAF operates U.S. naval forces in the U.S. European Command (USEUCOM) and U.S. Africa Command (USAFRICOM) areas of responsibility. U.S. Sixth Fleet is permanently assigned to NAVEUR-NAVAF, and employs maritime forces through the full spectrum of joint and naval operations.