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NEWS | Dec. 5, 2023

USS Thomas Hudner Arrives in Souda Bay, Greece

By Carrier Strike Group 12 Public Affairs

The Arleigh Burke-class guided-missile destroyer USS Thomas Hudner (DDG 116), a part of the Gerald R. Ford Carrier Strike Group (CSG), arrived in Souda Bay, Greece, for a regularly scheduled port visit November 30, 2023.

Porting in Souda Bay provides a chance to further strengthen the United States’ partnership with its NATO ally, Greece, and also demonstrates the U.S.’s commitment to a stable, secure, and prosperous Europe, while allowing Thomas Hudner’s Sailors to experience the unique aspects of Grecian culture.

“Thomas Hudner’s visit to Souda Greece follows an exciting op-tempo in the 5th Fleet area of operation,” said Commander Shelby M. Nikitin, commanding officer, USS Thomas Hudner, “This port visit highlights our support for Greece, and continues to fortify our commitment to maintaining strong relationships with all our NATO allies. My officers and crew are thrilled to be hosted by Chania and look forward to a well-deserved liberty port.”
During Thomas Hudner’s time in Souda Bay, the ship will conduct topside preservation and maintenance after a long period of operational tasking in the Middle East.

Thomas Hudner’s Morale, Welfare, and Recreation committee has organized tours of several cultural sites, including tours of Rethymno and Lake Kournas, as well as local wineries showcasing one of Chania’s finest exports.
“The Grecian countryside looks beautiful, and I am greatly looking forward to the tour of Rethymno and Lake Kournas,” said Gunner’s Mate (Vertical Launch System) 3rd Class Benjamin L. Hallwachs. “I can’t wait to see what all Chania has to offer.”
CSG-12, Gerald R. Ford 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.

Thomas Hudner is a part of the Gerald R. Ford Carrier Strike Group (GRFCSG). The GRFCSG is comprised of Gerald R. Ford (CVN 78), Carrier Air Wing (CVW) 8, Destroyer Squadron (DESRON) 2, the Information Warfare Commander, and the Ticonderoga-class guided-missile cruiser USS Normandy (CG 60).

The ships of DESRON-2 within the GRFCSG are the Arleigh Burke-class guided-missile destroyers USS Ramage (DDG 61), USS McFaul (DDG 74), and USS Thomas Hudner (DDG 116).

The squadrons of CVW-8 embarked aboard Gerald R. Ford are the “Tridents” of Helicopter Sea Combat Squadron (HSC) 9, the “Spartans” of Helicopter Maritime Strike Squadron (HSM) 70, the “Bear Aces” of Airborne Command and Control Squadron (VAW 124), the “Ragin’ Bulls” of Strike Fighter Squadron (VFA) 37, the “Blacklions” of (VFA-213), the “Golden Warriors” of (VFA-87), the “Tomcatters” of (VFA-31), the “Gray Wolves” of Electronic Attack Squadron (VAQ) 142, and the “Rawhides” of Fleet Logistics Support Squadron (VRC) 40.

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.