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NEWS | Aug. 6, 2020

Europe’s Top Admiral visits critical Naval Air Station in Italy

By Mass Communication Specialist 1st Class Kegan Kay, NAS Sigonella Public Affairs

Adm. Robert P. Burke, commander, U.S. Naval Forces Europe-Africa (CNE-CNA) and commander, Allied Joint Force Command (JFC) Naples, visited Naval Air Station (NAS) Sigonella, Italy, for his first regional familiarization visit, Aug. 6, 2020.

During his time onboard NAS Sigonella, Burke met with base and NATO leadership before holding an all hands call with Sailors, Marines, and civilians from NAS Sigonella and tenant commands.

“As the new commander of U.S. Naval Forces Europe-Africa and Allied Joint Force Command Naples, I wanted to come here to introduce myself, learn more about the critical missions NAS Sigonella facilitates, and meet with the men and women who execute our mission day in and day out,” explained Burke.

His remarks as the new CNE-CNA focused on different topics such as Sigonella’s mission capabilities, accomplishments, strategic location to support U.S. military operations, and quality of life concerns.

Burke also said that he, as the former Vice Chief of Naval Operations, was keenly aware of all the operational and logistical “miracles” NAS Sigonella performed on a daily basis.

“The critical importance of what this air station does is often invisible to the rest of the fleet,” said Burke. “But it is absolutely essential to a global Navy like ours.”

Burke also stressed the importance of working well with each other and communication within departments in mitigating COVID-19. 

“Make sure you’re talking to your team, that they understand the risk and how to take necessary precautions,” said Burke. “COVID is still a concern; we must not let our guard down.  We’ve done a good job mitigating risk in our theater, but we need to be ready for another wave of the virus here in Europe.”

Following the all hands call, Burke toured the CNE Maritime Ashore Support Team (DET MAST) prior to having lunch with Sailors at Ristorante Bella Etna Galley.  The CNE DET MAST is a mobile communication detachment that has the ability to support full mobile command, control, communications and computer capability.

“I appreciate everything you do in support of our Navy, our Nation and our Alliance,” said Burke.  “Your accomplishments have been remarkable.  You are at the tip of the spear, and your work is vital to our operations.”

After lunch, Burke continued his base tour, meeting with commander, Task Force (CTF) 67 leadership and participating in tours of Naval Hospital Sigonella, Fleet and Family Support Services, Department of Defense Education Activity Schools on base, and the Air Force’s 7th Reconnaissance Squadron and 324th Expeditionary Reconnaissance Squadron.

“Sigonella is a critical hub in support of U.S. military operations and engagements throughout Europe, Africa and the Middle East,” said Burke.  “What all of you do here is critical to almost everything the U.S. Navy, U.S. Air Force, U.S. Marine Corps and NATO are doing across our area of operations.”

NAS Sigonella’s strategic location enables U.S, allied, and partner nation forces to deploy and respond as required to ensure security and stability in Europe, Africa and Central Command.

CNE-CNA, headquartered in Naples, Italy, conducts the full spectrum of joint and naval operations, often in concert with Allied and interagency partners, in order to advance U.S. national interests and security and stability in Europe and Africa.