SPEECH | April 13, 2020

On the Horizon: Navigating the European and African Theaters Episode 17

Presenter: Adm. James G. Foggo III, commander, CNE-CNA
Guest: Edward Graham, American NGO Samaritan's Purse
Host: Lt. Bobby Dixon, CNE PA Action Officer

Recorded: March 27, 2020
Released: March 30, 2020

(MUSIC)

LT. DIXON: Welcome to 17th episode of “On the Horizon: Navigating the European and African Theaters.” In this episode we will discuss the global health crisis stemming from COVID-19 and how this is impacting our host nation, Italy, and affecting Europe. In addition, we will have a special guest join us on the show from the American NGO Samaritan's Purse.

Admiral, thank you for joining us today, as I know you are extremely busy managing the fight against COVID-19 and protecting not just our U.S. servicemembers and their families but also working with our host nation, Italy, and other NATO allies and partners affected by this global health crisis.

ADM. FOGGO: Hey, thanks, Lieutenant Dixon. It's great to see you and the team again. I hope your family and your children are doing well considering the circumstances that we're surrounded in with COVID-19 here in Europe.

LT. DIXON: Thank you, Admiral. They definitely are. Like many other military spouses throughout Europe and Africa, my wife is educating our children at home and finding fun indoor activities to keep the children engaged.

ADM. FOGGO: That's great to hear. And I want all of our military spouses out there listening to know that you have our local DODEA school system at your disposal, and their number is on our website. I have frequent conversations with the leadership at DODEA in Italy, in Germany at the headquarters – with the superintendents and with the school principals here in Naples.

And, Lieutenant Dixon, I realize how hard it is to be away from loved ones and how hard it is for the families to remain inside their homes in accordance with the Italian decrees. But we're in this together – active-duty, civilians, spouses, children, and all the people of Italy and, frankly, the citizens of all of Europe, Africa, and North America and Asia. Each of us has got to do our part. And we know that we all stand together.

Frankly, we're stronger together, and we're going to get through this thing. I don't know how much longer it will take – weeks, maybe months – but we will get through it.

LT. DIXON: Sir, for our audience in America, can you give us an overview of how things are going here in Italy?

ADM. FOGGO: Yes, and thanks for the opportunity, Lieutenant Dixon. We're in the midst of very challenging times. Our forces stand ready throughout the theater. Our warships, submarines, and aircraft continue their patrols to deter and defend against any threat in the Euro-Atlantic region. There are some very dedicated and brave men and women in the United States Navy manning their watches with stalwart determination so that we can maintain this deterrence posture and that freedom will prevail.

The families at home are providing resolute support despite very arduous circumstances in their lives and in the lives of our Sailors so that the Sailors can remain focused on the mission. I'm immensely proud of our team, and we indeed have the world's greatest Navy.

Here in Naples, we stand ready as we face a new adversary, the COVID-19 virus, alongside our great host nation of Italy. The men and women of U.S. Naval Forces Europe and Africa are in solidarity with our Italian counterparts as we are fighting this devastating virus together.

Last Friday, Lieutenant Dixon, on March 20, Italy tragically surpassed China in overall deaths from this awful virus. The death toll here has averaged 700 people a day; it's absolutely horrific.

So, what are we doing about it? We're in solidarity with the Italian community, and we are respecting the laws and decrees associated with the lockdown. 

We're keeping our force healthy. So Americans are policing themselves and we're isolating anyone who is symptomatic and testing those who fit criteria, and we are maintaining that social distancing that I talked about earlier.

LT. DIXON: And, Admiral, during these challenging times, as you have been talking to ambassadors, heads of Navies, and NATO leaders, what is the sense you're getting from them?

ADM. FOGGO: Well, during times like this, it's important to stay connected with our allies and partners, and towards that end I’ve been reaching out across the theater to touch base with key leaders and get a better sense of where we can assist.

I've had some informative phone calls with a number of leaders across NATO and at U.S. embassies in the theater. Given that this command is here and headquartered in Naples, Italy, one of my first calls was to U.S. Ambassador Lewis Eisenberg, the U.S. Ambassador to Italy, who resides in Rome.

We're very much aligned in our efforts to assist our host nation, Italy, in defeating the coronavirus. The Ambassador reinforced a close bond between United States and Italy. No adversary, not even a virus, can separate us.

I've also talked to U.S. Ambassador Duke Buchan in Madrid, Spain, where we discussed the difficult situation facing the Spanish, particularly in Madrid, as the virus spreads, in the strength of the U.S.-Spanish relationship and the importance of our naval base in Rota, co-located with the Spanish.

I spoke to Ambassador Phil Kosnett in Kosovo, in the Balkans, the other day. The Balkans is a region which does not have a significant medical infrastructure. We've got almost 4,000 NATO troops down there and a significant number of Americans at Camp Bondsteel in Kosovo, and I offered my support.

I talked with Ambassador Woody Johnson in the United Kingdom, the U.S. Ambassador to the Court of St. James.

I talked with U.S. Ambassador Larry Andre in Djibouti the other day. Ambassador Andre is an extraordinary diplomat. He spent practically his entire life on the continent of Africa, very interesting, very engaged, very intelligent, and very informative. And he said, "You know, Djibouti is leading in Africa and has really taken on a tremendous, mature leadership style and approach."

That's good for us because, you know, we have about 5,000 folks down in our Camp Lemonnier, which is in Djibouti, doing support to our operations in the Horn of Africa, the Red Sea, and the Gulf of Aden.

I also spoke with Ambassador Matthew Tueller, who's another incredible diplomat, a man that's been engaged in the Middle East throughout his life. He is the U.S. Ambassador to Iraq, and that's a pretty tough situation there, as Iraq struggles with its political future with malign Iranian influence and with the presence of not just coalition and U.S. forces but our NATO Mission Iraq on the ground.

I've scheduled calls with many regional heads of the Navy so that we can better understand these challenging times and where we can assist. I had a great call with Admiral Adnan Ozbal of the Turkish Navy. Admiral Ozbal is somebody I've known for many years. He has visited this headquarters a couple of times. I've known him since I was [U.S.] 6th Fleet Commander. He was very supportive, very helpful, very sympathetic, and we're on this fight together, not just as NATO allies but as nations. And so I look forward to working with him. 

LT. DIXON: And, Admiral, for our next section, we are able to put on the phone a senior official from Samaritan's Purse, Edward Graham, to discuss with us the great work that Samaritan's Purse is doing in Northern Italy. The Samaritan's Purse was one of the first American NGOs to arrive in Italy, and they are still up there supporting our Italian allies in the fight against the coronavirus.

Mr. Graham, welcome to the podcast.

EDWARD GRAHAM [via phone]: I appreciate you all having me. Thank you for this opportunity.

ADM. FOGGO: Hey, Edward, Admiral Jamie Foggo here. It's fantastic to have you on the podcast. Thanks for doing this when you're so busy.

For our audience’s awareness, Edward Graham is the grandson of the very famous Reverend Billy Graham, an icon of American history, and the son Franklin Graham, who started an organization called Samaritan's Purse in 1970.

So that's 50 years of serving your fellow human being, an absolutely incredible initiative on the part of Franklin Graham and all the people at Samaritan's Purse.

Folks, a little bit more about Edward; he is one of us. He is a United States Military Academy graduate from West Point. He served 16 years in the United States Army as a Ranger with multiple combat deployments, with special operations serving in both Iraq and Afghanistan.

Edward bled for his country. He is a Purple Heart recipient. In fact, he was telling me that, you know, one of my old friends who's now heading up a big effort in New England to help with the coronavirus, General Stan McChrystal, was the guy that presented him with his Purple Heart.

Now Edward's team has established one of the first NGO field hospitals in a place called Cremona, Italy, which started seeing Italian citizens this past weekend. The team there has orchestrated the heavy lift of getting critical equipment, I think over 30 tons of supplies, into Northern Italy. And within a few days, they built an incredible tent city and a field hospital in the parking lot of the Cremona Hospital so that patients come in and they go right back into Samaritan's Purse Hospital to be treated.

So, Edward, thank you for letting me introduce you to our audience and give them a quick snapshot of what you're doing in Italy. And I wondered if we could just have a conversation and have you tell us a little bit about what you're doing, how you're doing it, and Samaritan's Purse. So over to you, Sir.

MR. GRAHAM: Yes, Sir. Again, Admiral, I just appreciate this opportunity to be back in a military conversation setting. It's great for me. I miss it. I love my background, what I did. I was called to serve in the ministry here alongside my father and help them finish strong.

But Samaritan's Purse simply, if there's a need in the world, especially where there's hope needed, my father's intent is that we get there first. Often people say, you know, the quality of our work will be the platform of our witness. We are a Christian organization, we want to share the hope of Jesus Christ in all that we do. But as the story of the Good Samaritan, we want to meet their immediate needs first or medical needs, and then we'll earn that right, that platform to be able to hopefully answer the question, “why are you here, why are you serving us?”

You know, we had this field hospital capability that we created years ago that one of our leaders had the vision for, and that was to supply with well-trained medical staff, and doctors and nurses, and then deploy anywhere in the world. And we have.

We've done it in Ecuador. We've sent it to places in Africa. We've also sent it to Iraq. We were in Erbil, that was before the war kicked off to push ISIS out, as the first trauma hospital capability there in Erbil, and it was there for years. But then we turned it over to the local government when everything has settled and the mission is complete and gift it to them.

But when this virus hit and we saw it spreading I was sitting there with Kenny Isaacs who runs our Projects Department, and we are looking at the numbers and we knew Italy was going to be on fire within a week, and it was going to quickly pass China.

And so, we reached out. We sent a note to the Minister of Health there, sent some contacts we have with our sister organization, the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association. And we got an answer back within almost two days, "Yes, we want you and we need you."

And so, we have a DC-8 cargo plane that can take this hospital, along with the passengers, the hospital staff anywhere in the world. And so, we loaded that up out of Greensboro, North Carolina. And within later that afternoon, we were in Cremona, Italy. And the response there by the time it's just been so welcoming and loving.

The military has come out. But people like yourself, the U.S. military has aided us and assisted us in getting our equipment there and liaising for us. And we're so very grateful because they were there with, out of 68-bed hospital, 10 of those being ICU capability with respirators. And within 24 hours after landing, we have our first patients being transferred over to us, for us to start caring for.

ADM. FOGGO: Edward, that's absolutely a fantastic story of outreach and humanitarianism, and I can't thank you enough for what you've done for this great host nation, in Italy.

And for our listening audience, there's just so many questions. I know we won't have time for all of them today but, you know, let me just reiterate. You guys went from what we like to call "flash to bang" in less than seven days, right? So, from the time you identified from the news reports – and you have kind of your own, you know, Intel service – that Italy was on fire and needed help, it's like a humanitarian Intel service. And then you went to your dad, went to your team, and they said, "Ask them." And when the Italians said yes, you were over here in less than seven days. Is that right?

MR. GRAHAM: Yes, Sir. Well, I think it helps compared to the military where, you know, I picked up the phone and called Dad, and Dad, “Is it a yea or nay?” And then really that's committing our assets and our resources, but really it comes from the local government communications.

And I think we've been blessed with a great name, and that represents us well, whether it be at the World Health Organization, along the U.N. as well as our work in Africa and other parts of the world. And they helped open doors to make this happen along with the U.S. administration.

The President and his team, especially the Vice President, has been extremely helpful in allowing opening doors to allow for work there in this environment where so many countries have shut their doors and holding in. The administration allowed us to leave and go serve. We'll be very careful and work within the guidelines of the WHO and the CDC back here because we work with Ebola. If you might remember Dr. Brantly, he was the first U.S. civilian ever to have Ebola. He's one of our doctors. And then the nurse that was working with him had it too, and the Obama administration allowed us to bring them back here to care for them. But the work we've been doing in Ebola and with the DRC there in Liberia, with the DRC, I guess, has given us a great name of the quality of our work to take care of our patients.

Again, we're there to love on people that other people would walk past or not care for, be scared to go to. But we're there to serve, and like I said, meet their first needs and then share the love of Jesus Christ with them while we do it, we would have that invite to come to Italy.

And, you know, as soon as we got the invite, I've turned to my father, I phoned him, I said, "Can we do this?" And he said, “Execute, get over there.” And because with DC-8 aircraft, that cargo plane that we've been entrusted with; we've been entrusted with great resources, great staff, and nurses and doctors, that volunteered to do this and sign up and come, it's unbelievable to watch how quick.

And I don't have anything to do with it; I've only been here a year. This was set-up by a well-trained staff and just great talent, like God has entrusted Samaritan's Purse with.

ADM. FOGGO: Hey, that's amazing. And, you know, the story of Dr. Brantly from the Ebola crisis, I didn't realize until you and I had talked week or so ago that he was part of the Samaritan's Purse initiative. And you just talked about being in Erbil and Iraq, going to places in Africa like the Congo for Ebola, or being in Mozambique after [Cyclone] Idai.

And you know what struck me is that you guys in Samaritan's Purse, you run to the sound of the guns. I mean, you go where, you know, it's dangerous and other people may not go to help your fellow man. Look, extremely commendable, and thank you for that.

I'll also say it's extraordinary for us, we were talking around the table the other day that, you know, you're a self-contained unit. You have your own airlift. I mean, the United States of America and the Joint Force has probably got the most sealift and airlift capability in the world. You guys, you do it yourself in your DC-8.

I saw your jet. It's phenomenal. It carries, you know, well, you got 35 tons of stuff over there in two trips, so that is amazing. Everything was palleted up and labeled, you know, in a military fashion. So, you must have a lot of ex-military folks in your organization. Is that true?

MR. GRAHAM: Yes, Sir, we do. And my dad’s always been – he never served in the military, but he was always partial and was very proud of, you know, my commitment, so is my grandfather. But especially my grandmother, Ruth Graham, she always loved the fact that I went to West Point to serve. And they’ve always prayed for me. They always had a map up in the room and there's a little dot wherever I serve. and they would pray over that location.

As a matter of fact, most of the time I wasn't allowed to tell people where I was, but before I was deployed, I'd go visit them and I'll take a thumbtack and I will just push it on the map. So, they were my mom wanted to know where in the world I was or our enemies so they could just go look on Bill Graham’s wall and find the map and there I was.

But anyway, you know, Dad’s always loved the military because of that. And so, we hire here. He has such a great respect for just; I mean, Sir, you look at the Navy. No one does logistics like the Navy does. I mean, it's a doctorate level. And trust me, being in the Army and we look at it and realize yeah, yeah, yeah.

But we have [Human Resources] personnel here; I know several from the Navy, logisticians as well, but we got pilots both from the Navy and the Air Force at work because my dad has a huge, he has his own pilot as well, huge love for aviation and God has given us several, we have aircraft scattered all over the world.

In Africa we have turbine DC-3s, which I love, incredible platform that we use there in Africa along with caravans put up in Alaska. We have [other aircraft] as well that we serve there in the native villages, and that we have here some U.S. based along with the DC-8, but a huge fan of the platforms and the helicopters that God’s entrusted us with, but it allows us to get to the storms quickly and first.

After a storm or hurricane, especially when it hits just a remote area or somewhere in Africa, it's just the resources that can come in quickly and get to the people that are in need. Sir, we have a great relationship with the military because of these connections and the resources, and even you had a friend there on the DART team - someone that you knew. But even like when we went into Nepal, the Marine CB-22s, after the earthquake there, helped us get supplies and resources around.

After Haiti, in the earthquake there, it was the U.S. military, the 82nd Airborne, the Navy and the Marines that helped us get equipment around, a fly around as well, so it's a great resource to make sure when those are hurting and suffering, as a Christian relief organization, we come in to make sure that we work well and play nice with others.

Now, we know the military has an agenda. And I'm from the military and I'd never want to mess that up, but when there's work that we can do together, and that's shipping equipment or getting there, putting in our resources or connection together, I'm all about that. And then that's to save lives and getting need where it's needed.

ADM. FOGGO: Wow, that's an incredible display of hardware. In terms of aircraft, you get your own Air Force all around the world. They’re some great platforms, too. My uncle used to fly DC-3 in World War II two as an aviator.

He was actually a navigator, but he loved that airplane. And then, you know, your stories of connectivity and the Navy captain that I know, you know why I was asking about what relief efforts are going on in Italy and somebody told me about Samaritan's Purse. I said, "Hey, can you get him on the phone for me so I can talk to him?"

And the executive assistant came back, Captain Greg Pakari, the guy has been with me for three years. He goes, "Hey, there's a guy out there named Eric Timmens. He says he knows you." And I go, "You’ve got to be kidding me." And so, Captain Eric Timmens retired from the United States Navy, but he and I worked together at this think tank in the Pentagon called N81. It's the Director of Net Assessments, or Assessments. You know, we do a lot of analytical studies. He was the medical guy.

So, I called him up, and he's on the ground in Cremona. And, you know, I say, "Eric, how's it going?" He's telling me all, but you can hear stuff moving around the background. They're setting up the hospital, and I said, "When are you going to be ready to be open for business?" This was, I think, on a Friday, last Friday. He goes, “Saturday.” I go, "You’ve got to be kidding me." He goes, "No; we're moving fast. This is the way we do it.” And you took your first patients that weekend, so what a great credit to folks like you, folks like Eric, and all the other people, and that nurse Bev who's out there that was with Dr. Brantly who's taking care of business.

MR. GRAHAM: Oh, she's unbelievable. Sir, I appreciate you highlighting her. What a great heart, just a lot of talent.

You know, we're talking about the military, but I've been so impressed coming to this organization and seeing people with a different background, different set of skills; doctors, nurses, just maybe a trucking logistician from a trucking company, but they come in, they want to serve and they want to do it in a time of crisis, and just the professionalism there.

Our staff is what I think God has entrusted us with, just the talent, the resources that he's given us to do his work. I'm just flattered to be part of that team.

ADM. FOGGO: Well, Edward, I can't tell you how much we appreciate it - the great things that you, and Samaritan's Purse, and your dad, Franklin Graham, stand for. This is the epitome of America. It's Americans who want to help in a time of crisis.

I am so proud of you and everybody that is risking to come over here and to help the great Italian people with the coronavirus. And I know that there are other places and other hot spots in the world, you know, including our own country that are going through pretty tough times right now in places like New York City. 

As we are here in Italy, in the epicenter of the virus in Europe, our heart goes out to all Americans, all of our friends, all of our partners and allies. And I thank you personally and also your organization, Samaritan's Purse, for what you're doing to alleviate suffering not just here, but throughout the world. So, thank you very much, Sir.

MR. GRAHAM: Sir, and thank you again for this time to highlight it. But just note, Sir, that I'm praying for you, your leadership, your headquarters there, but just the families and the Sailors that serve under you.

And, Sir, just again - serving for 16 years and continue to do it there in the Reserve and Special Operations Command, I love the military. And if there is anything we can do for your families, please let us know, but we'll continue to pray for you all.

ADM. FOGGO: Thanks a lot, Edward, and you're doing it. Really appreciate your time, out here from Italy.

MR. GRAHAM: Yes, Sir.

ADM. FOGGO: Thank you.

[MR. GRAHAM HANGS UP]

LT. DIXON: You know, Admiral, it's always great to hear the good work that American NGOs like Samaritan's Purse are doing in this time of crisis around the world.

Next, for our service members and families stationed in Italy, we all have an important part in this fight by respecting the laws and decrees of the Italian government as we do our part here in Italy to help slow and prevent the spread of the virus.

That said, can you tell our listeners what have we been doing here in Naples to protect and serve our Sailors and their families?

ADM. FOGGO: Hey, that's a great question, Lieutenant Dixon. And first and foremost, we've been actively involved in over-communicating with our Sailors and our families. This podcast is part of it. 

We had our fourth town hall, three virtuals, one in person. We've gone to all virtuals since the 19th of February on town halls. We're using Facebook. We're using Twitter. We're using every aspect of social media. And we're averaging about 20,000 people logging into our virtual town halls, and over 500 questions being asked and answered during the broadcast. And then after the broadcast, we follow-up and answer those questions that people have out there.

We've added a Coronavirus-19 webpage to the CNE-CNA Sixth Fleet website as a kind of a central clearinghouse where folks can get all the updated information. We've also been sending out daily ad hoc notifications on people's e-mail and cell phones, all-hands emails and, of course, keeping people informed through their chain of command in the old-fashioned way, what the Navy says "Pass down the word," you know, the quarters on the pier can't take place in its traditional sense anymore because of social distancing, so we're using social media as that platform, or that pier, to get the word out. 

These measures have been going on in Naples, but also in our bases in Spain, Greece, Djibouti, Romania, and Poland. And yes, I did say Djibouti. It's important to know that we have a Navy base there with lots of folks, about 5,000 people of all different parts of the Joint Force. And while Italy is the hardest-hit country in Europe right now, Spain is the second hardest-hit, and we stand in solidarity with all of our host nations.

I spoke to the Spanish CNO, Admiral Calderon, about a week ago. He expressed his support for Americans in Rota, and I expressed my support, writ large, for all of the people of Spain.

LT. DIXON: Thank you, Admiral, for that run down of what we are doing to serve and communicate to our Sailors and their families. For our next section, I would like to discuss how the U.S. military is operating here in Europe and in Africa during these challenging times. How has this pandemic effected exercises and operations?

ADM. FOGGO: In addition to communicating, as you can see, technology is really allowing us to stay connected to one another right now. And it's very unfortunate we had to cancel a number of exercises in Europe and Africa, but we'll pick them up in the next rotation, the next battle rhythm next year. And that said, we're still meeting our national obligations and ready to respond to any threat. 

So, exercises aside, ships are at sea, aircraft are in the air, as Admiral Franchetti says, as the Sixth Fleet Commander, we are open for business. Let no one doubt that. And we are strong as we ever have been.

As an example, three of our four forward deployed guided-missile destroyers are underway on their patrols, providing critical maritime security and deterrence. Our P-8 patrol aircraft are still flying and patrolling the Black Sea, Eastern Mediterranean Sea, the Arctic. And our submarines are still patrolling in European and North Atlantic waters.

Our Seabees and EOD units are still in locations throughout the theater, safely working alongside host nation to continue the mission. But most importantly, our people, who are the strength of our military, are standing the watch every day. This mission will go on and will continue to protect our allies and partners like we have for the past 70 plus years.

LT. DIXON: And, Sir, to your knowledge, what has the U.S. been able to do here in Italy?

ADM. FOGGO: Well, as we just heard on the last phone call on the podcast, Lieutenant Dixon, in coordination with the U.S. Embassy in Rome, the American NGO Samaritan's Purse established an emergency hospital, a field hospital, in Cremona, Italy. That's in the heart of the virus up north. This is an amazing achievement. Their second DC-8 planeload landed last weekend with a total of over 30, 35 tons of supplies and equipment.

Our sister services in the U.S. Army and Air Force have forces stationed in Italy. These forces are located in Northern Italy, and they're providing assistance to the host nation community.

Last Sunday, on March 22nd, the Air Force flew a C-130 Juliet Super Hercules out of Ramstein Air Force Base in Germany. An En Route Patient Staging System, an ERPSS, arrived in Aviano Air Base Italy for delivery to the Italian Ministry of Defense. This mobile or fixed system provides 10-patient holding and staging beds and can support a maximum throughput of 40 patients in a 24-hour period.

On Wednesday, March 25th, the Army at Camp Darby in Livorno, Italy, delivered eight truckloads' worth of medical supplies to the Lombardia Regional Government to assist with their COVID-19 virus efforts, and they've been hit hard. Medical supplies include critical equipment for 140 hospital beds such as mattresses, stretchers, bedside screens, adjustable IV poles, folding wheelchairs, medical cabinets and linens required to meet access patient requirements in the Lombardia region. As Italy strengthens its resolve, the U.S. military team is working to support our host ally and bolster our long-term relationship.

Our service members are finding ways to help in their own ways. For example, three kids of a Navy Sailor that works for me had his sons help out by bagging groceries at the commissary. And as you know, Lieutenant Dixon, most baggers at the commissary receive tips; they aren't paid an hourly rate. These three kids donated the tips that they earned bagging groceries to a local charity in Naples. They donated $750 to the Campania Region Civil Protection Agency. This is a great example of how individual service members, Americans, and their families are making a difference here in Italy.

And I would be remiss not to mention my favorite ship in the U.S. Navy, the U.S. Sixth Fleet flagship, USS Mount Whitney. She was my command ship as 6th Fleet commander from 2014 to 2016. She was my Floating Maritime Operations Center during Joint Task Force Odyssey Dawn 2011, BALTOPS 2015, and Trident Juncture 2018. She's not just a state-of-the-art communications platform and a sovereign American warship, but she also serves as an extended arm of diplomacy and solidarity with our allies.

USS Mount Whitney did just that a couple weeks ago when the captain and crew of that ship cranked up every loudspeaker on the ship and blasted out the Italian national anthem in her home port of Gaeta, Italy, at the exact hour that the rest of Italy was doing the same thing with music as a sign of solidarity. That video has been viewed almost 100,000 times and featured in local and international press. These are acts of friendship, and love, and support for the Italian people.

LT. DIXON: And, Admiral, any final comments for our audience before we close out our podcast?

ADM. FOGGO: Lieutenant Dixon, I would say to the listening audience and everybody out there who's involved in this crisis, and that's the entire world, be kind to one another and take care of one another.

That is what I see today. We are here together with you as allies and partners, and we are stronger together, and we will work with one another to get through this coronavirus safely and successfully.

Thank you very much, Lieutenant Dixon, and God bless.

LT. DIXON: Admiral, we will, of course, be keeping us affected by this pandemic in our prayers as they fight against the spread of the coronavirus. As always, Sir, thank you for your time.

ADM. FOGGO: Appreciate it, thanks Bobby.

    -END-