Greek special forces team up with US army for first-of-its-kind military exercise

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Troops from the Hellenic Army’s 596th Airmobile Battalion and the United States’ 5th Battalion and 101st Aviation Regiment, executed Eddie’s Odyssey, a first of its kind, joint training mission on Velopoula Island from January 14 to 20.

In a photo made available over the weekend, it is clear that the seven-day joint training exercise went smoothly, without any hiccups.

“This exercise was really built from the ground up,” Lt. Col. Anthony Marston, 1st battalion commander, told Business Insider.

Three US Army AH-64E Apache attack helicopters over Velopoula Island in the Aegean Sea, January 14, 2021. Photo: US Army National Guard/Staff Sgt. Garrett L. Dipum.

“We had some time on our calendar and at the company level there were folks who were interested in doing over-water training and some live-fire exercises. Working with the Greeks, we were able to plan Eddie’s Odyssey, an air-assault and deliberate attack exercise.”

According to Business Insider, the training exercise encompassed transporting troops, aerial coverage operations and providing medical evacuation capabilities to Greek special operations forces (SOF).

“These training exercises give the opportunity to both sides to exchange knowledge and experiences that can take place in various conditions,” a Greek SOF second lieutenant told the media outlet.

“The keys to a mission rely on detailed planning, standard operation procedure and training. This event between Greek SOF and US aerial platforms enhances the interoperability between those NATO members.”

The two partner forces also used the training opportunity to practice their medical evacuation capabilities off of the island.

In order to fly over the Aegean Sea and execute Eddie’s Odyssey, pilots and flight crews from the 101st had to conduct specialised “dunker training,” provided by the Hellenic navy, on how to react if a helicopter unexpectedly goes down in the water.

A US Army UH-60M Black Hawk helicopter participates in Eddie’s Odyssey in the Aegean Sea, January 14, 2021. Photo: US Army National Guard/Sgt. Renee Seruntine.

“One of the great things about being here in Greece is that our Hellenic partners have a vast experience with over water flight ,” Marston said.

“Interoperability wise, we are not only teaching them our gold book standards and how we do air assault planning and deliberate attacks, we are also learning a tremendous amount from our 1st Aviation Brigade Hellenic partners, both from their attack helicopters and their Chinooks,” Marston said.

“Through that, we not only get how to do over water flight, but now we know how to plan together, how to establish command and control together, and come up with tactics we wouldn’t necessarily think of if we were just training at home.”

Source: Business Insider.

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