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Politics

US Soldiers, NATO Troops Take Part in Greece Military Exercises

November 13, 2020

Wanting a greater military presence in Greece, the United States had troops participate in exercises with Greece forces as well as those from NATO allies Germany and The Netherlands, some 250 in all, on the island of Crete.

The American soldiers operated Patriot missile system in a maneuver designed to protect the eastern flank of the defense alliance – facing Turkey, which is a member but has tested Russian S-400 missile defense systems that could be used against Greece.

The US joined Greece in protesting Turkey acquiring the system from Russia, an ideological enemy of NATO, and kept Turkey from buying American-made F-35 fighter jets in response, some of which could be bought by Greece.

 “This type of training ensures that U.S. (air and missile defense) forces and NATO forces are integrated, able to operate together and ready to respond to any threat from all directions,” Col. Bruce Bredlow, 10th Army Air and Missile Defense Command’s Deputy Commander, told Stars and Stripes.

The 678th Air Defense Artillery Brigade, based out of South Carolina and on a nine-month rotation in Europe, is serving as the command and control element for the drills, which seek to “enhance the combined U.S. and European ability to control defensive fires in Eastern Europe,” the Army said in a statement.

Greece also deployed Patriots for the drills, which are scheduled to continue until Nov. 27 but there was no mention of the growing tension with Turkey which is continuing an energy hunt off the Greek island of Kastellorizo.

The US and Greece renewed a military co-operation agreement this year, the exercises taking place amid worries there could be a conflict in the Aegean or the East Mediterranean seas.

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