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By Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Christine Montgomery
The Ticonderoga-class guided-missile cruiser USS Leyte Gulf (CG 55) arrived in Souda Bay, Greece for a scheduled port visit, Sept. 27, 2022.
“America’s Battle Cruiser is excited to make this visit and create some new friendships,” said Capt. Michael Weeldreyer, commanding officer of Leyte Gulf. “Being able to see all that Souda Bay has to offer while still being able to fulfill the mission is a great opportunity for Leyte Gulf and comes at a perfect time with the crew celebrating the ship’s 35th birthday just yesterday.”
Souda Bay, Greece marks the first port visit during Leyte Gulf’s deployment to the U.S. Naval Force Europe-Africa (NAVEUR-NAVAF) area of responsibility. Sailors will have the opportunity to experience the sites and culture of Souda Bay with tours offered by the ship’s Morale, Recreation and Welfare (MWR) committee.
“The Leyte Gulf crew has been working vigorously since its departure from Norfolk,” said Ens. Jayden Hodgson, MWR officer aboard Leyte Gulf. “The crew has the chance to culturally immerse themselves in a richly storied culture in Souda Bay and MWR is excited to provide multiple tours to the crew to see all that Greece has to offer!”
Leyte Gulf, homeported in Norfolk, is on a scheduled deployment in the U.S. Sixth Fleet area of operations part of the George H.W. Bush Carrier Strike Group (GHWBCSG).
The Nimitz-class aircraft carrier George H.W. Bush is the flagship of CSG-10, GHWBCSG. CSG-10 is comprised of George H.W. Bush, 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 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 “Sidewinders” of Strike Fighter Squadron (VFA) 86, the “Jolly Rogers” of VFA-103, the “Nighthawks” of VFA-136, the “Pukin Dogs” of VFA-143, the “Bluetails” of Carrier Airborne Early Warning Squadron (VAW) 121, the “Patriots” of Electronic Attack Squadron (VAQ) 140, the “Nightdippers” of Helicopter Sea Combat Squadron (HSC) 5, and the “Grandmasters” of Helicopter Maritime Strike Squadron (HSM) 46.
For over 80 years, 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.