The Navy's joint high-speed vessel USNS Spearhead arrives in Souda Bay for a scheduled port visit in February. (Paul Farley/Navy)
- Filed Under
LOCATION: On the northwest coast of the rugged Greek island of Crete, smack in the warm, sunny Mediterranean Sea.
MISSION: This strategically important deepwater port not far from the entrance to the Suez Canal is the permanent home of less than 500 U.S. military personnel. But each year, more than 100,000 troops pass through the harbor and nearby airfield, which have become primary logistics outposts for operations in the Black Sea, the Middle East and Africa. Carriers can dock pierside and EUCOM commanders can put thousands of ship-based Marines on standby. The vast facility, which stretches inland for several square miles, is also used by the Greek navy, a Greek air force fighter wing and, since 2007, a joint NATO training school.
LIFESTYLE: Crete is a wildly popular tourist destination. The resort town of Chania, just a short cab ride from the Navy base, is full of history and culture dating back over 4,000 years. Healthy cuisine, sunny weather, awesome beaches.