By U.S. Naval Forces Europe-Africa / U.S. 6th Fleet Public Affairs
In coordination with the Defense Security Cooperation Agency’s (DSCA) Humanitarian Assistance Program and the U.S. Mission to Italy, the U.S. Navy provided the first of three donations of medical equipment and supplies to local Italian communities. A new ultrasound machine was donated to the city of Gaeta adding a new lifesaving capability to combat the coronavirus, as well as assist in numerous other medical procedures.
“Our city has always been grateful to you for your active participation in various activities and being involved in the city,” remarked Dr. Cosmo Mitrano, mayor of Gaeta, Italy. “Today with this donation you are sending a strong signal by endorsing the activities in this city.”
“It was our distinct honor to come to Gaeta and donate this ultra sound machine that will help save many lives,” said Rear Adm. Michael T. Curran, Fleet Supply, Logistics and Ordinance (N4), U.S. Naval Forces Europe-Africa/U.S. 6th Fleet.
The ultrasound machine was one of the contracts awarded by the Naples Contracting Shore Team in support of Naval Forces Europe-Africa (CNE-A)’s donation efforts in Italy. The contracts are worth approximately $1.3 million in equipment and supplies.
“We stand in solidarity with Italy - and all of our allies,” said Adm. James G. Foggo III, commander, U.S. Naval Forces Europe-Africa. “Italy and the United States have an enduring bond. We have faced many challenges together in our decades of partnership, and we remain committed to Italy and the alliance. Our response to this crisis is no different than past challenges -- we’re in this together and we will emerge stronger, together.”
The U.S. Navy has been a part of the Campania community for approximately 70 years. Throughout this time, many efforts have been made to develop relationships with host nation counterparts across several different commands that reside on the base. USS Mount Whitney (LCC 20), U.S. Naval Hospital (USNH) Naples and Sigonella have built relationships with numerous Italian healthcare facilities in the area.
“We’ve been working with our counterparts at several regional hospitals for years,” said Capt. Richard Knittig, USNH Naples Commanding Officer. “We are appreciative of the strong relationships we have with the host nation healthcare system.”
There are well-established procedures for transferring patients between local Italian hospitals in Naples and Sigonella and U.S. Navy hospitals in these locations. In the event of a medical emergency, most Americans, especially those living off base and out in town, would be taken to one of these local Naples or Sigonella hospitals.
Nearly 8,000 U.S. Navy personnel and families live and work on bases in Naples and Sigonella and call Italy ‘home.’ As Italy implemented national and local decrees restricting movements and closing non-essential establishments, U.S. forces enacted parallel measures. These changes were implemented in line with the Italian government in order to mitigate the spread of COVID-19 and protect U.S. forces and families and host nation personnel.
“I was very glad Mayor Mitrano asked me to join the city of Gaeta in making a donation to Monsignor Di Liegro," said Capt. Cassidy Norman, former commanding officer of Mount Whitney, which is forward deployed to Gaeta. "Gaeta is a great home for our Sailors and Civilian Mariners on Mount Whitney. They've welcomed us into their city and shown us remarkable hospitality. I am grateful to the U.S. 6th Fleet and the U.S. Embassy in Rome for allowing us to give back to this amazing community that has been so supportive of our ship and our Navy.”
U.S. Naval Forces Europe-Africa/U.S. 6th Fleet continue their missions of conducting maritime operations in Europe and Africa, even as they seek ways to help fight the coronavirus and recover from the impact it has had. Forces stand ready throughout the two theaters, and command leadership remains committed to taking every measure possible to protect the health of forces, as well as local residents. Warships, submarines, and aircraft continue their patrols to deter and defend against threats to U.S., NATO, and partner nations.
“The mission will go on and we will continue to protect our allies and partners like we have done for more than 70 years,” added Foggo. “The United States and our allies maintain ample capabilities to defeat aggression at any time, in any domain.”
For questions contact commander, U.S. Naval Forces Europe-Africa/U.S. 6th Fleet Public Affairs, at CNE-C6FPAO@eu.navy.mil.