One of my friends in our village, Nikitas, is a 78 year old retired Greek Navy Admiral who was THE JAG before talking a final assignment in the Defense Ministry. He's a fellow US Naval War College grad, lives in a modest house on an acre of land or so and makes fabulous wines. It's a refreshing treat to see retired flag officers who choose to live modestly, as opposed to the opulent lifestyles our guys enjoy, usually benefiting from selling their souls to defense contractors.
His two sons are currently serving Naval officers, and both have been to Newport for Command & Staff College. I pass my issues of the NWC Review to them after I finish reading them.
Panagiotis, his older son just returned from a 5 month deployment to the Somalia region, where he was the legal advisor to the Greek flotilla commander. As in the past, he's on the island for the week before Easter (we're a week later than the West this year), and we played "catch up" this morning over coffee following the Palm Sunday service in our village church. His brother arrives on Monday.
Panagiotis laid out the difficulty of patrolling 1.5 million square miles of international waters, heavily trafficked by all kinds of vessels. He said it's prime fishing waters, fished by boats from a variety of countries. It's not a "counter-terrorism mission", but a classic naval law enforcement mission, maintaining freedom of navigation and keeping the sea lanes open. It's just not possible, legally or logistically to check every ship in the region to see if they are involved with pirate operations. He did offer some insights into pirate tactics, NATO interdiction tactics and the like.
Brought back warm memories of being at Newport, and it was a pleasure speaking to a military man who isn't blinded by the phony GWOT. Our talk did wander to that, and he was frank in his disdain for the last administration's approach to things military. He did assure me that the US Navy fully understood the mission in the region. The Spaniards took command of the NATO flotilla from the Greeks.
While Panagiotis never mentioned it, his dad did brag on his son's ship's performance in the theater. Four prevented attempts, and five captured pirates.
Add our chat to the successful rescue of the Maersk Alabama's Skipper, and today was a wonderful day for an old Marine/Soldier!