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George H.W. Bush Carrier Strike Group Returns to Souda Bay, Crete

10 March 2023

From Carrier Strike Group 10 Public Affairs

The Nimitz-class aircraft carrier USS George H.W. Bush (CVN 77), along with the embarked staff of Carrier Strike Group (CSG) 10, arrived in Souda Bay, Greece, for a scheduled port visit March 10, 2023.
SOUDA BAY, Greece  –  The Nimitz-class aircraft carrier USS George H.W. Bush (CVN 77), along with the embarked staff of Carrier Strike Group (CSG) 10, arrived in Souda Bay, Greece, for a scheduled port visit March 10, 2023.

This port visit to Souda Bay follows Neptune Strike (NEST) 23-1, a vigilance activity focused on increasing NATO interoperability for a stable, secure, and prosperous Europe.

"Our sustained, integrated operations with our allies during deployment has been invaluable to strengthening our relationships and integrated deterrence in the region," said Rear Adm. Dennis Velez, commander, Carrier Strike Group (CSG) 10, George H.W. Bush CSG. "We look forward to visiting Souda Bay after a busy at sea period with our NATO allies."

During NEST, George H.W. Bush completed multicarrier operations with the Italian and Spanish Navies, sailed alongside and completed air-land integration exercises with allies.

“Activities like NEST are great opportunities to deepen the interoperability and interchangeability of the alliance and to further vital U.S. military and diplomatic strategy,” said Capt. Dave Pollard, commanding officer, George H.W. Bush. “Showcasing the strength of the alliance to regional adversaries provides opportunities to diplomats to negotiate from a position of strength.”

During their time in Souda Bay, Sailors from the ship will take much deserved time off to experience Greek culture, explore the region, and enjoy local cuisine.

Pollard said that the CVN 77 crew, who collectively embrace the nickname “Team Avenger”, are looking forward to strengthening their partnership with Greece and taking some well-deserved time off.

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

The Sailors of George H. W. Bush will also be a part of a beach clean-up of the Kladisos Beach near the city of Chania. They will have the opportunity to care for the environment while also experiencing the local shore line of Crete.

Strengthening partnerships during the port visit to Souda Bay builds enduring relationships and emphasizes our shared commitment to promoting safety and stability within the region, while seeking opportunities to enhance our interoperability as NATO allies.

CSG-10, George H.W. Bush CSG, 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, George H.W. Bush CSG. George H.W. Bush CSG 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.

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