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Underwater Demolition Command
Διοίκηση Υποβρυχίων Καταστροφών (ΔΥΚ)
Underwater Demolition Command (DYK) emblem
Active1957–Present
Country Greece
 Cyprus
Branch Hellenic Navy
TypeSpecial Forces
Role
Part ofInter-Service Operational Rapid Response Command
Nickname(s)
  • Frogmen (Greek: Βατραχάνθρωποι)
  • Frogs (Greek: Βατράχια)
  • OYK (Greek: ΟΥΚ)
  • Oykades (Greek: Οϋκάδες)
EngagementsGulf War
Imia crisis
Albanian Civil War
Operation Atalanta
Libyan civil war
Operation Irini
WebsiteUnderwater Demolition Command
Commanders
FirstCaptain Panagiotis Nikolareas
Insignia
AbbreviationΔ.Υ.Κ.

The Underwater Demolition Command (Greek: Διοίκηση Υποβρυχίων Καταστροφών), abbreviated as DYK (Greek: ΔΥΚ,Greek pronunciation: [ðik]) and known until 2001 as the Underwater Demolition Unit (Greek: Μονάδα Υποβρυχίων Καταστροφών), abbreviated as MYK (Greek: ΜΥΚ, Greek pronunciation: [mik]), is the Greek Navy's elite special warfare unit.[1]

History

Carrying on the tradition of the Hellenic Navy in naval special operations, the unit was established in 1957 with help from the United States Navy's Underwater Demolition Team, when two Greek officers were sent to Little Creek in Virginia to evaluate a UDT operational capability for the Hellenic Navy.[2][3]

In 1997, during the violent unrest that erupted in neighboring Albania, the OYK were responsible for taking control of the international airport of Tirana and the evacuation of 240 foreign dignitaries from Albania (Operation Kosmas).[4][5]

In 2008, OYK teams took part in Operation Atalanta, deploying onboard Hellenic Navy vessels off the coast of Somalia.[6] The OYK would carry out counter-piracy operations for the rest of the Hellenic Navy's deployment to the region.[7]

In late July/ early August 2014, Greek Navy SEALs undertook an operation in which they were to evacuate Greek/ Cypriot and foreign citizens from Tripoli, Libya. The team entered the tripoli port to carry out reconnaissance and to establish contact with local Libyan forces on the ground. The civilians were then evacuated, 89 being from either Greece or Cyprus and an additional 97 people being citizens other countries (Including the United Kingdom, China, Russia, Albania and Belgium). In total, 186 people were extracted. The civilians were transported by Libyan port authority RHIBs (due to weather) and then handed off to a Greek frigate which later sailed back to Piraeus.[8][9]

In 2020, the Hellenic Navy began taking part in Operation Irini, a European naval task force tasked with monitoring and intercepting suspicious cargo close to the Libyan shores, as part of the arms embargo on Libya.[10] OYK teams are tasked with executing VBSS operations. So far, a large number of onboard visits have been carried out by the teams.[11]

On 30 April 2020, a boat had entered Greek Waters (Cyprus) unmanned and without making any contact with the Cypriot authorities. Immediately the Cyprus Joint Rescue Coordination Center called for the Underwater Demolitions Command to respond, and immediately, boats carrying the SEALs were sent to the area. Upon arrival, they had found 2 people who later told them that due to technical difficulties on the boat, it began acting erratically and had in fact at first thrown them off. Because of this, the 2 people were transported to Larnaka hospital and the boat was transported to land by the Underwater Demolitions Command.[12]

OYK training

UDT during fast-roping exercise Phoenix Express.(2009)

The selection and training course lasts roughly seven months and is divided into three phases similar to that of the US Navy SEALs BUD/S course. The course has an extremely high failure rate similar to that of its US counterparts. The candidates will go on to airborne school and then continue to learn advanced naval special warfare techniques.[13]

OYK equipment

The OYK is known to use various types of firearms to complete their missions with some guns being customized to be able to adapt to the marine environment of the OYK.[14]

2015 Independence Day Parade Controversy

The OYK generated controversy at the Greek Independence Day parade of 2015, when it chanted a nationalistic refrain: «Και το όνειρο μας είναι / στην Πόλη εμείς να μπούμε / σημαία να υψώσουμε / τον ύμνο εμείς να πούμε», roughly translated as 'Our dream is to enter Polis (Constantinople) to raise our flag and sing our anthem'. Opposition ministers from the PASOK party launched attacks on the defence Minister Panos Kammenos, accusing him of mishandling matters of vital foreign policy. Concerns were also expressed by the government (SYRIZA) MP Vassiliki Katrouvanou, who called the chants 'a clear offense to our republic', and highlighted the ongoing need to remove certain far-right elements from the Greek armed forces.[15]

See also

References

  1. ^ D-Mitch. "Naval Analyses". Retrieved 25 February 2024.
  2. ^ "Ο Πρώτος Έλληνας Βατραχάνθρωπος". OYK Shop. Retrieved 6 January 2021.
  3. ^ "American commandos and Greek Navy SEALs train in the Mediterranean". Sandboxx. Retrieved 25 February 2024.
  4. ^ FARMAKIS, ATHANASIOS (October 2020). "Επιχειρήσεις Εκκένωσης Αµάχων: Ελληνικά και διεθνή διδάγµατα" [Noncombatant Evacuation Operations (NEO): Hellenic and International lessons] (PDF). pergamos.lib.uoa.gr. Athens: National and Kapodistrian University of Athens School of Sciences Department of Geology & Geoenvironment.
  5. ^ "Επιχείρηση "ΚΟΣΜΑΣ ΑΙΤΩΛΟΣ" το 1997 -Τα ελληνικά ΟΥΚ στο Δυρράχιο" (in Greek). 11 January 2018. Retrieved 25 February 2024.
  6. ^ "Operation Atalanta – DW – 06/15/2009". dw.com. Retrieved 25 February 2024.
  7. ^ Karamesini, Dimitra (24 November 2023). "Operation Atalanta: When the Greek frigate "Psara" captured Somali pirates | Hellenic shipping news". Shipping Telegraph. Retrieved 25 February 2024.
  8. ^ "Πώς τα ΟΥΚ εκκένωσαν την ελληνική πρεσβεία στη Λιβύη". Protothema.gr. 1 August 2014. Retrieved 7 January 2022.
  9. ^ "Greek SOF Rescues Civilians From Tripoli, Libya". Sofrep.com. 8 September 2014. Retrieved 7 January 2022.
  10. ^ "Operation EUNAVFOR MED IRINI: Mission". Operation Irini (in Italian). Retrieved 15 April 2021.
  11. ^ "Russia Chides Greece Over Ship Inspection Off Libya". GreekReporter.com. 18 January 2021. Retrieved 15 April 2021.
  12. ^ "Ακυβέρνητο σκάφος έθεσε σε συναγερμό τους ΟΥΚ στο Ζύγι". Ant1.com.cy. Retrieved 6 January 2021.
  13. ^ "Greek DYK Naval Spec-Ops – Tactical Life Gun Magazine: Gun News and Gun Reviews". Tactical-life.com. Retrieved 7 January 2022.
  14. ^ "Greek DYK Naval Spec-Ops – Tactical Life Gun Magazine: Gun News and Gun Reviews". Retrieved 6 January 2021.
  15. ^ Team, ΤοΒΗΜΑ (26 March 2015). "Eντονες αντιδράσεις για τα συνθήματα των ΟΥΚ στην παρέλαση". Ειδήσεις – νέα – Το Βήμα Online. Retrieved 6 January 2021.