The U.S. Navy’s Wasp-class amphibious assault ship USS Iwo Jima (LHD 7) and components of the 26th Marine Expeditionary Unit (MEU) arrived in Limassol, Cyprus, March 19, 2018.
Nearly 2,500 embarked Sailors and Marines are visiting the Mediterranean nation during a regularly scheduled deployment that began Feb. 7, 2018. The visit is an opportunity for U.S. service members to meet the people of Limassol and experience their culture as the two nations work together towards a prosperous Europe.
“The Marines and Sailors of the 26th Marine Expeditionary Unit greatly anticipate our arrival in Cyprus. Engagements such as these strengthen bonds and enhance relationships between the U.S. and Cyprus. This port visit provides us with an opportunity to meet the people and experience the rich history and culture of Cyprus. The 26th MEU remains ready to respond to crisis and deter aggression on a moment’s notice”, said Col. Farrell J. Sullivan, Commanding Officer of 26th Marine Expeditionary Unit.
“While this port visit will be used for some much deserved rest and relaxation, these next few days also give the crew a chance to continue our international relations. We share the same views of maintaining safety and security of the world’s oceans and sea lanes. Through strengthened relationships, we can expect an increase in peace and prosperity throughout the region and work with our partners to maintain a safe, secure and prosperous European region and global security environment”, said Capt. Joseph O’Brien. Commanding Officer of USS Iwo Jima.
Iwo Jima and the 26th MEU’s visit to Limassol, Cyprus, and recent stop in Haifa, Israel, create shared experiences that build relationships with our partners and allies, and allow us to collectively work together for regional stability.
From March 6-13 Iwo Jima and the 26th MEU participated in the bilateral military exercise Juniper Cobra 2018 that is designed to improve the cooperative defense of Israel between the U.S. and IDF.
The Iwo Jima Amphibious Ready Group embarks the 26th MEU and includes Iwo Jima, the San Antonio-class amphibious transport dock ship USS New York (LPD 21), the Harpers Ferry-class amphibious dock landing ship USS Oak Hill (LSD 51), Fleet Surgical Team 8 and 4, Helicopter Sea Combat Squadron (HSC) 28, Tactical Air Control Squadron (TARCON) 22, components of Naval Beach Group 2 and the embarked staff of commander, Amphibious Squadron 4.
The 26th MEU is a Marine Air-Ground Task Force comprised of approximately 2,500 Marines and Sailors. Its major elements are the Command Element, Ground Combat Element, Aviation Combat Element, and Logistics Combat Element.