U.S. Marines and Sailors with the 26th Marine Expeditionary Unit Special Operations Capable MEU(SOC), embarked aboard the amphibious warships of the Bataan Amphibious Ready Group (BATARG), to participate in a MEU(SOC) Exercise named “Odyssey Encore”, in vicinity of Volos, Greece, now until 17 January. 2024.
This MEU(SOC) Exercise is a Marine Air-Ground Task Force (MAGTF) readiness sustainment exercise that ensures the 26th MEU(SOC) retains the advanced skills and operational capabilities necessary to rapidly respond to any crisis or other emergent requirements across the Tri-Geographic Combatant Command region during a scheduled deployment spanning both U.S. Sixth Fleet and U.S. Fifth Fleet areas of operation.
The 26th MEU(SOC) serves as a premier crisis response force for the United States, capable of conducting amphibious operations, crisis response, and limited contingency operations across the full spectrum of military operations, to include setting conditions that enable the introduction of follow-on-forces during contingency operations and the integration of forward deployed special operations forces. Coupled with the Bataan ARG, the 26th MEU(SOC) serves as the premier stand-in force with a full complement of all-domain capabilities to operate persistently within the littorals or weapons engagement zones of any adversary. Moreover, as a special operations capable Marine Air-Ground Task Force, the 26th MEU(SOC) serves as the “partner of choice” for forward deployed SOF conducting operations across the Tri-GCC region.
The focus of Exercise Odyssey Encore will center on individual and collective tasks at the small-unit-level that directly contribute to the readiness of the MAGTF to conduct its mission essential tasks. More so, this collective training event will provide an opportunity for the 26th MEU(SOC) to showcase the operational capabilities of the MAGTF during a small scale amphibious assault and focused MAGTF bilateral advanced live-fire training alongside the 32nd Hellenic Marine Brigade.
“After training at-sea for the past 100 days, this MEU(SOC) Exercise provides us with an opportunity to showcase the full breadth and depth of operational capabilities of a Marine Expeditionary Unit,” said Col. Dennis Sampson, Commanding Officer of the 26th MEU(SOC). “I’m excited for another opportunity to partner with the Hellenic 32d Marine Brigade and to get Marines and Sailors ashore to focus on warfighting while setting aside a little quality time during the exercise for some well-earned liberty in Greece.”