The Samos Island (Aegean Sea) Earthquake occurred on 30 October 2020. It produced a tsunami that impacted coastal communities, ground shaking that was locally amplified in some areas and that led to collapse of structures with 118 fatalities in both Greece and Turkey, and wide-ranging geotechnical effects including rockfalls, landsliding, and liquefaction. As a result of the global COVID-19 pandemic, the reconnaissance of this event did not involve the deployment of international teams, as would be typical for an event of this size. Instead, following initial deployments of separate Greek and Turkish teams, the reconnaissance and documentation efforts were managed in a coordinated manner with the assistance of international partners. This coordination ultimately produced a multi-agency joint report published on the 2-month anniversary of the earthquake, and this special issue. This paper provides an overview of the reconnaissance activities undertaken to document the effects of this important event and summarizes key lessons spanning topic areas from seismology to emergency response.