NEWS | Sept. 4, 2017

24th MEU, Hellenic Air Force Complete Bi-lateral Air Exercise

By Joel Diller NSA Souda Bay Public Affairs

The 24th Marine Expeditionary Unit (MEU) conducted a bi-lateral training exercise with the Hellenic Air Force’s 115 Combat Wing Sept. 4 – 6, 2017, at Naval Support Activity Souda Bay, Greece.

Four AV-8B Harriers, attached to the 24th MEU AV-8B Det. aboard the Wasp-class amphibious assault ship USS Bataan (LHD-5), went to Souda Bay to conduct multiple training flights designed to increase their interoperability with foreign partners while exchanging best practices.  During the exercise, the AV-8B Harriers conducted integrated flight profiles with the Hellenic Air Force F-16’s. 

U.S. Marine Corps Capt. Eric Schiebe, a division leader under instruction, explained that the training flights focused on deep air support aerial interdiction, strike coordination and reconnaissance, anti-surface and anti-air warfare.

“This bi-lateral exercise provides a unique opportunity for U.S. and Greek forces to share characteristics and operating best practices specific to their aircraft in a realistic environment,” said Schiebe.

In addition to building relationships with foreign partners, the exercise also provided for the advanced qualifications for the MEU pilots.

The 24th MEU is underway with the Bataan Amphibious Ready Group in support of maritime security operations and theater security cooperation efforts in the U.S. 6th Fleet area of operations.

U.S. 6th Fleet, headquartered in Naples, Italy, conducts the full spectrum of joint and naval operations, often in concert with allied, joint, and interagency partners, in order to advance U.S. national interests and security and stability in Europe and Africa.