The amphibious transport dock ship USS San Antonio (LPD 17), along with Marines from embarked 26th Marine Expeditionary Unit (MEU), arrived in Souda Bay, Greece, for a scheduled port visit April 1.
San Antonio left its homeport of Norfolk, Va, March 11 for a scheduled deployment, and the visit to Greece was the first scheduled liberty port visit.
More than 1,000 Sailors and Marines went ashore to visit the city and participated in morale building activities as well as cultural exchanges.
“This was a very good port visit for us,” said Lt. Jay Weatherwax, a chaplain aboard San Antonio. “We took part in some community relation projects that will help build rapport between the Navy and the local community.”
Crewmembers also had the chance to participate in a variety of Morale, Welfare and Recreation (MWR) tours around the city, including hiking, local dance lessons, wine tasting and beach tours.
“The Sailors and Marines have been working from sun up to sun down and completing multiple evolutions throughout this deployment,” said Hospital Corpsman 1st Class Teresa Kirkland, a Sailor on the MWR committee. “For us to get off the ship and see something different, besides each other and the blue seas, really raised morale. Being able to participate in tours, venture out in to town and engage in some Greek culture really helped prepare us for the rest of the deployment.”
San Antonio is deployed as part of the Kearsarge Amphibious Ready Group with embarked Marines from the 26th MEU, which is on a schedule deployment in support of maritime security cooperation efforts in the 6th Fleet area of responsibility.
Naval Today Staff, April 5, 2013