RHODES, Greece –
The Ticonderoga-class guided-missile cruiser USS Leyte Gulf (CG 55), homeported in Norfolk, arrived in Rhodes, Greece, for a scheduled port visit, March 11, 2023.
The visit marks the ship’s sixth port visit while on its scheduled deployment in the U.S. Naval Forces Europe area of operations as part of George H.W. Bush Carrier Strike Group (GHWBCSG).
“Over the course of our deployment, ‘America’s battle cruiser’ has had the repeat pleasure of experiencing the rich culture of Greece and the outstanding hospitality of the Greek people,” said Capt. Michael Weeldreyer, commanding officer of Leyte Gulf. “Our crew is looking forward to some well-earned rest and relaxation.”
While in port, the crew will have the opportunity to visit the ancient sites of Rhodes including the medieval old town. Historically, Rhodes was famous for the Colossus of Rhodes, one of the seven wonders of the ancient world. Today, it is one of the most popular tourist destinations in Europe.
“As a history buff, being in a port like Rhodes is going to give me the opportunity to see things I never thought I would be able to,” said Cryptologic Technician (Maintenance) 3rd Class Tyler Meier. “I am especially excited to see the Acropolis [of Rhodes] and try the local food.”
The port visit comes upon the ship’s completion of the ninth iteration of NATO’s Neptune Strike 23-1. Neptune Strike, part of the Project Neptune Series, brought together a multinational cadre of 31 ships, 135 aircraft, and more than 8,000 personnel.
USS George H.W. Bush (CVN 77) is the flagship of CSG-10, George H.W. Bush CSG. CSG-10 is comprised of George H.W. Bush, Carrier Air Wing (CVW) 7, Destroyer Squadron (DESRON) 26, the Information Warfare Commander, and Leyte Gulf.
The ships of DESRON 26 within CSG-10 are the Arleigh Burke-class 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 USS George H.W. Bush are the “Sidewinders” of Strike Fighter Squadron (VFA 86), the “Jolly Rogers” (VFA-103), the “Knighthawks” (VFA-136), the “Pukin Dogs” (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, 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 and U.S. Africa Command 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.
The GHWBCSG is on a scheduled deployment in the U.S. Naval Forces Europe area of operations, employed by U.S. Sixth Fleet to defend U.S., Allied, and Partner interests.