The huge troop-carrying ship, USS Hershel “Woody” Williams, has been deployed to Souda Bay naval base in Crete, the US 6th Fleet has announced.
It is the first time in 40 years that a US ship will use the joint US-Greece base as a homeport, Stars and Stripes reported.
The ship shifted its homeport from Norfolk, Virginia, to Souda Bay in order to conduct missions in the Mediterranean, and the waters around East, South and West Africa.
“Hershel ‘Woody’ Williams provides a new capability in the (military) theater, which enhances our interoperability with partners across the spectrum of maritime operations,” Vice Admiral Gene Black, who is a Commander of the US Sixth Fleet, says.
“The unique design of the ship fosters inter-service operations with our US Marine Corps and Special Operations communities, which improves our ability to ensure maritime security and stability.”
The ship carries a crew of about 250 and is designed to serve as a modular platform to perform large-scale logistics movements, including the transfer of troops, vehicles, and equipment from sea to shore.
The decision to base the ship in Greece was announced on Tuesday by Secretary of State, Mike Pompeo, during his visit to the country.
It comes as tensions run high between NATO members, Greece and Turkey, who are at odds over energy rights in the eastern Mediterranean.