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Navy SEALs Forge Alliance with Cypriot Navy Underwater Demolition Team in Eastern Mediterranean

by Lt.j.g. Martin Carey
14 February 2024 In a constant demonstration of partnership in the Eastern Mediterranean, U.S. East Coast-based Naval Special Warfare Operators (SEALs) and Special Warfare Combatant-Craft Crewmen (SWCC) collaborated with Cypriot Navy Underwater Demolition Team (MYK) partners Jan. 22 – Feb. 14, 2024, refining their operational expertise in the maritime domain throughout waters surrounding Cyprus. This relationship serves as a powerful deterrent, showcasing a united front against potential threats to regional and maritime security in the area.

"Our partnership with the Cypriot Underwater Demolition Team sends a clear message to our adversaries. Together, we stand as a resolute force, ready to respond to any challenge and defend the shared interests of our nations," said Capt. Bill Gallagher, Naval Special Warfare Group TWO Commodore. “This is not just a collaboration; it's a crucible of excellence. Through joint endeavors, we fortify our capabilities and make clear that any aggression will be met with a swift, unyielding response."

One of the marquee iterations involved the special operations forces deploying from the expeditionary fast transport ship USNS Yuma (T-EPF 8) at night in the technologically advanced Combatant Craft Medium boats, navigating to a vessel of interest, climbing aboard, conducting close quarters clearance and site exploitation. Naval Special Warfare’s integration with Fleet assets like Yuma extends their tactical reach and provides multi-domain response options to counter national security threats and deter aggression from potential adversaries.

The on-site SEAL commander stated, "The interoperability and camaraderie displayed here transcend conventional military cooperation. These face-to-face iterations of training not only bolster our combat capabilities but ensures the U.S. and Cypriot relationship remains steadfast."

Navigating persistent waves, the SEALs and their Cypriot partners engaged in synchronized drills, honing their skills in covert operations, maritime operations, and Visit, Board, Search, and Seizure (VBSS) at sea. The intensity of these exercises reflects the unwavering commitment Naval Special Warfare has to training their personnel to ensure readiness and the ability to operate in dynamic maritime environments.

Yuma is one of 14 Spearhead-class expeditionary fast transport ships that provide a high-speed, shallow draft vessel for rapid intra-theater transport of medium-sized cargo payloads. These ships have a flight deck and a load ramp which allows the rapid transit and deployment of conventional or special operations forces, equipment and supplies.

The MYK special operations forces are highly skilled operators of the Cypriot Navy who conduct special reconnaissance, direct action, military assistance, combat search and rescue, and maritime operations to safeguard the interests of Cyprus and promote regional security.

Naval Special Warfare Group TWO produces, supports, and deploys the world’s premier maritime special operations forces to conduct full-spectrum operations and integrated deterrence in support of U.S. national objectives. For more information, visit