By Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Justin Schoenberger
The San Antonio-class amphibious transport dock ship USS San Diego (LPD 22) and embarked 15th Marine Expeditionary Unit (MEU) arrived in Souda Bay, Greece, for a scheduled port visit, Nov. 27, 2017.
This is San Diego’s second port visit in Souda Bay during this deployment. While in port, the crew will conduct routine repairs and cosmetic work on the ship, and have the opportunity to venture to the local sites.
“We’ve been on station in the Mediterranean for about three months,” said Capt. Pete Collins, commanding officer of San Diego. “Not only is this our chance to get parts that we need and to conduct some maintenance, but the crew [will be able] to get some well-deserved rest and relaxation.”
Sailors and Marines aboard San Diego also plan to use the port visit as an opportunity to buy gifts for their families and loved ones in anticipation of the upcoming holiday season.
“I plan on doing some Christmas shopping during our port visit,” said U.S. Marine Cpl. Jose Sanchezlucas. “I think it will be cool to get my family and friends items from overseas.”
San Diego is deployed with the America Amphibious Ready Group (ARG) and the 15th MEU to support maritime security and theater security cooperation efforts in the U.S. 6th Fleet area of operations.
The America ARG and 15th MEU provide senior U.S. military leadership and partners with a flexible force which can rapidly respond to contingencies and crises within a region. With ships, aircraft, troops, and logistical equipment, the ARG/MEU is a self-contained and self-sustained task force capable of conducting a wide range of military operations including humanitarian assistance and disaster relief.
The America ARG, led by Commander, Amphibious Squadron (PHIBRON) 3, consists of the San Diego, the America-class amphibious assault ship USS America (LHA 6), and the Harpers Ferry-class amphibious dock landing ship USS Pearl Harbor (LSD 52). They are operating with the embarked forces of the 15th MEU, the “Wildcards” of Helicopter Sea Combat Squadron (HSC) 23, and detachments from Assault Craft Unit 5, Naval Beach Group 1, Beachmaster Unit 1, Fleet Surgical Team 1 and Tactical Air Control Squadron 11.
The 15th MEU is a Marine Air-Ground Task Force comprised of a ground combat element, Battalion Landing Team 1st Battalion, 5th Marines; an aviation combat element, Marine Medium Tiltrotor Squadron 161 (Reinforced); a combat logistics element, Combat Logistics Battalion 15.