VERGINA, Greece --
U.S. Marines with 3rd Battalion, 2nd Marine Regiment, 2nd Marine Division and 2nd Air Naval Gunfire Liaison Company (ANGLICO), and Hellenic Marines with the 32nd Marine Brigade, 1st Division took part in a culture day in Litochoro and Vergina, Greece, Feb. 9, 2020.
Culture Day gave the Marines an opportunity to travel to Greek historical sites at the end of the bi-lateral exercise Alexander the Great 2020. The trip allowed Marines to experience and learn about Greek culture in addition to what they learned from interacting and trading with their Greek counterparts during the exercise.
“Culture day was a day the Greeks took us around and taught us about historical events and the cultural values of their country,” said Sgt. Chad Gaddis, squad leader with 3rd Bn., 2nd Marines. “I learned new things about Greek history and culture that I never knew, while getting to explore the King Phillip II burial site and Mt. Olympus national park.”
The Marines toured museums and mountains, and learned about the exercise’s namesake, Alexander the Great, the historic king who conquered Greece and established an empire that controlled much of the Mediterranean region.
The Hellenic Armed Forces welcomed 3rd Bn., 2nd Marines and 2nd ANGLICO to the multinational exercise. Although the countries noticed differences in language, customs, and traditions during the exercise, Culture Day helped them to experience each other’s way of life for a day.
“It was an excellent trip for not only myself but my Marines as well,” said Gaddis.
While U.S. Marines understand the importance of training to fight and win, they also know the benefits of becoming acquainted with unfamiliar territories. By immersing into some of the most historical parts of the Greek islands, 3rd Bn., 2nd Marines developed more than just the bare bones of what makes a warrior; they developed a sensitivity for the nations they work with around the world.
“To me it was all very inspiring because that’s their (the Greeks) legacy, that’s where they live,” said Private First Class Dandre Washington, rifleman with 3rd Bn., 2nd Marines. “So, being invited to be a part of Culture Day was a huge honor and a blessing to experience.”