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Crete: Greek Communist Party protests USS Kearsarge at Souda Bay

Members of the Greek Communist Party (KKE) marched through the streets of Chania, Crete,  Friday evening protested the arrival of  US assault ship USS Kearsarge at the Souda Bay. Holding torches and candles they demanded the closure of the US naval base at Souda and and Greece not to be engaged in an operation against Libya.

Now I cannot tell you for sure whether the motives of the KKE is to defend and support Muammar Gaddafi and therefore the protest. For sure they are moved by  anti-Americanism and anti-war spirit. The presence of US warships in the area, the involvement of the naval base and Greece to a military operation against Libya will certainly trigger more reactions among the protest-addicted Greeks. Protest for the protests’ shake is the slogan.

Amphibious assault ship USS Kearsarge arrived Friday morning at 8:30 am at pier K14 of the naval base of Marathi.

USS Kearsarge

The ship has a crew of 77 officers, sailors and 1,800 Marines. it carries vertical takeoff aircraft, helicopters and amphibious boats. It is armed with  Sea Sparrow missile systems,  Rolling Airframe Missile systems, Phalanx Close-in Weapon system and  BMG machine guns.

USS Kearsarge’s principal  mission is the embarkation, deployment, landing and support of a Marine landing force.  It can also provide command and control and aircraft facilities for sea control missions while operating with a Carrier Strike Group.ntrol missions ARSARGE can alsprovide command and control and aircraft

  USS KEARSARGE’s principal mission is the embarkation, deployment, landing and support of a Marine landing force anywhere in the world.  Serving as an Expeditionary Strike Group flagship, KEARSARGE commands and supports elements of a Marine Expeditionary Unit, in an assault by air and sea as well as command and support of all ships and submarines of the Expeditionary Strike Group.

KEARSARGE can also provide command and control and aircraft facilities for sea control missions while operating with a Carrier Strike Group.  The ship’s extensive medical facilities and berthing capabilities enable it to provide effective care to returning troops under battle conditions, or disaster relief in support of humanitarian missions during peacetime.

KEARSARGE can support up to 600 patients

It can also provide inspection services for aircraft missions, and also has a hospital unit that can support up to 600 patients .

The Libya Uprising Option

The USS Kearsarge is responding to the present turmoil in Libya since it was the closest U.S. Navy vessel to the event. On March 2, 2011, Kearsarge, along with USS Ponce, traveled through the Suez Canal in response to the Libyan uprising and is believed to have 42 helicopters aboard.

Robert Gates, the US Secretary of Defense,  had said days earlier that he ordered the two warships into the Mediterranean, along with an extra 400 Marines, in case they are needed to evacuate civilians or provide humanitarian relief.

Where is the USS Ponce, by the way?

 

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