Sailors, Marines Ate Entire Town's Eggs and Meat and Went on Tattoo Binge on Port Visit
They ate 25,000 eggs in four days.
Visitors can be wonderful, and sometimes they can be a presumptuous nightmare. Examples of the latter: the Odyssey, everyone's in-laws, and a bunch of U.S. Marines who ate all of a Greek town's eggs and meat during a recent visit—a story about appetites so epic that it made international headlines. Read on to find out what happened, and what officials and locals had to say about it.
According to local reports relayed by the Navy Times, U.S. Marines and sailors visiting the northeastern military port city of Alexandroupoli, Greece, really chowed down when they came ashore. "Yesterday, 1,500 people had breakfast in Alexandroupolis and ate eggs, sausages and bacon," said restaurant owner Giorgos Alavantas in the Greek City Times. "Yesterday, 6,000 to 7,000 eggs were needed. In other words, we don't have eggs."
In popular lore, sailors tend to go a little wild when they come ashore. But Greece was caught unprepared by these particular appetites. "They have gone crazy," restaurant owner Vassilis Siklafidis told the Greek City Times. "They keep telling us that they haven't eaten nicer meat."
According to the Navy Times, on May 4, the 22nd Marine Expeditionary Unit arrived in Greece to engage in training with Greek marines, an exercise dubbed "Alexander the Great 2022." "The training we executed with our NATO Allies in Greece reinforced the close relationship between our two militaries and provided an outstanding opportunity to learn from each other and hone our warfighting skills in a first class training venue," Lt. Col. Christopher Myette, executive officer of the 22nd MEU, said in a statement. On May 21, the mission ended, the ship docked in Alexandroupoli, Greece—and the chowing down began.
"I serve 16 different types of meat at my restaurant, and they tried them all," Georgios Davis, a prominent Greek restaurateur, told the news outlet Kathimerini. "They were very polite, they ate everything." The news service reported U.S. troops ate more than 25,000 eggs during four days at the Greek port.
Capt. Jacoby D. Getty, 22nd MEU spokesman, told the Navy Times that "mass amounts of eggs, steak, and tattoos were consumed," by troops visiting Alexandroupoli. "The 22 MEU works to continuously boost our relationships with our partners and allies," he said. "That comes with the training we conduct, but also when we come into port. Learning about our partners and allies cultures is important and if we are able to boost their economy on a port visit, that's great too." He added: "Members from the Greece embassy passed to our higher headquarters that the Greek leaders were super pleased with the economic boost and that we enjoyed ourselves."
Nikos Katsoulis, the owner of a local tattoo studio, told the Greek City Times that Marines "travel all over the world, so tattoos are crucial for them to have a memory when they grow older to say that they passed through Greece and I got this tattoo."
Navy Times notes that the war in Ukraine and recent bird flu outbreaks have caused the price for eggs to skyrocket worldwide, and this isn't the first time U.S. troops have overwhelmed a foreign port city. "Back in 2018, U.S. sailors and Marines made news after they drank much of the beer supply in Iceland's capital," the outlet reported.