Commanding Officer of NSA Souda Bay in two wreath laying ceremonies for the Battle of Crete

Capt. Michael R. Moore, commanding officer, Naval Support Activity Souda Bay, participated in two wreath laying ceremonies on behalf of the U.S. Navy over the Memorial Day weekend.

The first was held at Souda Bay Allied War Cemetery, 23 May; the second ceremony was the next day in Maleme, Greece at the German War Cemetery.

But it was not the U.S. military of World War II that was center stage.

This year marked the 74th anniversary of the Battle of Crete that began the morning of May 20,1941, when Nazi Germany launched an airborne invasion of Crete under the code-name Unternehmen Merker (Operation Mercury).

The Allied forces comprised of service members from Britain, New Zealand and Australia were joined with local villagers, most armed with farm tools or kitchen items, to resist the invasion.

A long hard battle was fought for almost a week, but eventually the Allied forces had no choice but to evacuate.

Cretan civilians took great risk to offer aid and shelter to those who remained and wanted to avoid capture by Nazi troops.

In addition to the wreath laying ceremonies, Moore attended events held in the Souda Bay – the opening Flag Raising ceremony held at Firka Fortress in Chania, 22 May and the closing ceremony that was held at the Maleme Airport, 24 May.

Also attending these events were dignitaries from Greece, Germany and the United Kingdom as well as veterans from the allied forces who fought in the Battle of Crete.

A mainstay of these events were the Hellenic armed forces and military musicians from both the Hellenic and German militaries.

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