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    26th MEU(SOC) and BATARG Conduct Readiness Sustainment Training in Souda Bay

    26th MEU(SOC) Conducts Exercise at the NATO Marathi Pier Complex

    Photo By Petty Officer 1st Class Delaney Jensen | NAVAL SUPPORT ACTIVITY SOUDA BAY, Greece (Jan. 25, 2024) Marines assigned to 26th...... read more read more



    Story by Cpl. Michele Clarke 

    26th Marine Expeditionary Unit     

    SOUDA BAY, Greece – U.S. Marines and Sailors with the 26th Marine Expeditionary Unit (Special Operations Capable) (MEU(SOC)), embarked aboard the ships of the Bataan Amphibious Ready Group (BATARG) conducted advanced ARG/MEU readiness sustainment training, Naval Support Activity Souda Bay, Greece, Feb. 16-20, 2024.

    The advanced readiness sustainment training consisted of a five-day training exercise at sea and ashore within a threat-informed training scenario focused on advanced skills and mission essential tasks.

    “As we enter the eighth month of our deployment, this advanced full mission profile training exercise is an essential part of our overall readiness sustainment continuum,” said Col. Dennis Sampson, Commanding Officer of the 26th MEU(SOC).

    The intensive full mission profile exercise builds upon core MEU(SOC) Marine Air-Ground Task Force (MAGTF) mission essential tasks rehearsed during the enhanced pre-deployment training program completed prior to the unit’s deployment.

    The full mission profile centers around the rapid response, crisis response capabilities, and mission essential tasks including amphibious operations, humanitarian assistance and disaster relief, securing key terrain, distributed command and control, integration with joint interagency intergovernmental, and multinational organizations, airfield and port security, evacuation operations, and isolated personnel recovery operations or Tactical Recovery of Aircraft and Personnel (TRAP).

    “History has proven the value and utility of forward-deployed Marines embarked aboard amphibious ships and advanced amphibious training exercises like this serve to showcase the unique all-domain operational capabilities you only find in a Marine Expeditionary Unit,” said Sampson.

    “When coupled with the three amphibious ships of the ARG, the ARG and MEU form a flexible naval expeditionary force that is capable of dominating within the littorals during a crisis or in support of theater specific campaign objectives. This short duration full mission profile rehearsal highlights just one of the many options the 26th MEU(SOC) and BATARG provides for the Fleet Commander and Combatant Commander.”

    Since reaggregating the three ships of the BATARG in the Mediterranean Sea, the 26th MEU(SOC) and the BATARG have conducted a large-scale amphibious training exercise with the Hellenic 32d Marine Brigade in Greece and multiple bilateral exercises centered on the core mission essential tasks of the 26th MEU(SOC) with regional Allies and partners. Large-scale naval exercises require the BATARG and the 26th MEU(SOC) to combine their collective capabilities and to work together as a naval expeditionary force toward a common goal.

    “This level of training truly requires everyone in the 26th MEU(SOC) task force to work together as one cohesive team,” said Lt. Col. Luke Sauber, Commanding Officer of Combat Logistics Battalion 22. “At this point in our deployment, the 26th MEU(SOC) is performing at a very high level. We have rehearsed our response options to potential contingencies multiple times, building upon the foundation developed during our intense pre-deployment work-ups. It’s impressive to be a part of it all and to see how far we’ve come as a premier rapid response task force,” Sauber concluded.

    “Our Team has demonstrated time and time again that we are ready and very capable. This training event adds another opportunity for us to showcase the 26th MEU(SOC)’s sustained high-state of readiness,” said 1st Lt. Justin Steiner, Landing Support Platoon Commander. “This deployment has been eye opening for me and it’s truly amazing to see how this team uses the R2P2 process to execute any mission within six hours of notification.”

    Since its deployment in July 2023, the 26th MEU(SOC) has participated in a wide array of exercises, operations, activities, and investments with partners and Allies throughout the U.S. Naval Forces Europe-Africa (NAVEUR-NAVAF) and U.S. Naval Forces Central Command (NAVCENT) areas of operations. From the snow-capped mountains of Norway to the deserts of the Middle-East, the 26th MEU(SOC) has trained alongside multinational partners in the Baltics, Ireland, Spain, Greece, Djibouti, Bahrain, Saudi Arabia, Yemen, and Kuwait, demonstrating U.S. commitment to NATO and our global partners.

    The 26th MEU(SOC) serves as one of the United States’ premier crisis response task forces capable of conducting amphibious operations, crisis response, and limited contingency operations, to include enabling the introduction of follow-on-forces and designated special operations, in support of theater requirements of the Geographic Combatant Commander or Joint Task Force Commander. The 26th MEU(SOC) serves as an elite stand-in force with all-domain operational capabilities necessary to compete and win within the littorals and within the weapons engagement zones of an adversary in any clime or place.

    Headquartered in Naples, Italy, U.S. Naval Forces Europe-Africa (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.

    For more information contact the 26th Marine Expeditionary Unit (Special Operations Capable) Communication Strategy and Operations Officer, Capt. Angelica White at


    Date Taken: 02.19.2024
    Date Posted: 02.19.2024 14:45
    Story ID: 464237

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