CHANIA, GREECE --
Marines and sailors of the 22nd Marine Expeditionary Unit and USS Bataan took time out of their liberty during a port visit on the Greek Island of Crete to help paint and patch up the St. Nektarios Orphanage and Soup Kitchen in Chania, Greece on July 29, 2011.
Participants painted indoor and outdoor walls, window sills, and shudders. and plastered walls for the orphanage, which houses approximately 20 girls, and feeds families in need. The project is part of an ongoing community relations program between Naval Support Activity Souda Bay, Greece and the local communities in Crete.
“They are very appreciative of help from the military,” said Kostas Fantaousakis, public affairs liaison for NSA Souda Bay. “This place is supported by donations.”
The group of volunteers shared a rewarding experience by helping out the local community and also sending a positive message about U. S. military presence in the area.
“Some people say we have a lot do in our own country, but while we’re out here, we’re ambassadors for the United States, so we take the chance to show we’re not just here for conflict,” said Gunnery Sgt. Victor Mask, an avionics technician with Marine Tilt Rotor Squadron 263 (Reinforced), 22nd MEU. “I have two daughters, I’d hate to see kids that have no place to go. This gives us a chance to do something for them, even if it’s just painting.”
The Marines and sailors of the 22nd Marine Expeditionary Unit are currently deployed with Amphibious Squadron 6 aboard the USS Bataan Amphibious Ready Group and will continue to train and improve the MEU’s ability to operate as a cohesive and effective Marine Air Ground Task Force.
The 22nd MEU is a multi-mission, capable force, commanded by Col. Eric Steidl and comprised of an Aviation Combat Element, Marine Tilt Rotor Squadron 263 (Reinforced); a Logistics Combat Element, Combat Logistics Battalion 22; a Ground Combat Element, Battalion Landing Team, 2nd Battalion, 2nd Marine Regiment; and its Command Element.
Marine Expeditionary Units are the Marine Corps’ smallest permanent Marine Air-Ground Task Force, and is comprised of approximately 2,200 Marines and sailors ready to provide immediate response to a hostile environment or crisis.