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U.S. Marines with the 26th Marine Expeditionary Unit (Special Operations Capable) (26MEU(SOC)) hike alongside Greek partners from the 32nd Marine Brigade, during cold weather training part of Greek Bilateral Exercise 2.0, Mount Olympus Mountain Training Center, Greece, Feb. 12, 2024. This bilateral training enabled the exchange of tactics, techniques, and procedures for both cold weather and mountain warfare environments, increasing interoperability between the two nations. The Bataan Amphibious Ready Group, with the embarked 26th MEU(SOC), is on a scheduled deployment in the U.S. Naval Forces Europe area of operations, employed by U.S. 6th Fleet to defend U.S., Allied, and partner interests. (U.S. Marine Corps photo by Sgt. Nayelly Nieves-Nieves)

Mount Olympus Mountain Training Center, Greece. (February 21, 2024 ): In this photo by Sergeant Nayelly Nieves-Nieves, Marines with the 26th Marine Expeditionary Unit (Special Operations Capable) hike alongside their Greek partners from the 32nd Marine Brigade during cold weather training. During Greek Bilateral Exercise 2.0., the Marines exchanged tactics and strategies for coping with cold weather and mountainous conditions. This is the first allied partner to train on the mythological “Home of the Gods” in Greek history. Led by the Bataan Amphibious Ready Group, the exercise included the USS Bataan, the dock landing ship USS Carter Hall, and the amphibious transport ship USS Mesa Verde.

The exercise began with classroom instruction on cold weather topics such as the proper use of protective clothing, treating cold weather injuries, and how to care for weapons in freezing temperatures. In the field, the Marines practiced maneuvering in arctic conditions using sleds to negotiate rough terrain and to evacuate casualties.

Mount Olympus is an ideal location for Marines to hone their warfighting skills at altitude and in a tough operating environment. Mount Olympus has fifty-two peaks and deep gorges that challenge even the most experienced mountaineers. Rising to nearly 10,000 feet, the mountain is the mythical home of Zeus and the twelve gods of ancient Greek history.

The Greek 32nd Marines were established in 1988 and, unlike most militaries, they belong to the Army while their landing craft are operated by the Hellenic Navy. Their unit insignia features the Argo, the ship of Jason and the Argonauts fame, and they are stationed near the ancient port city of Thessalian, the place where Jason embarked on his quest for the Golden Fleece.

Since its deployment in July 2023, the 26th MEU(SOC) has participated in a wide array of exercises with partners in Europe and Africa.