In June 1951, the Allied Forces Southern Europe (AFSouth) Command was activated in Naples aboard USS Mount Olympus, with Admiral Robert B. Carney, USN, as its first commander-in-chief. After several relocations, the AFSouth staff finally settled into quarters in the Bagnoli section of Naples. The US community in the Naples area includes service people and their families from each branch of the US Armed Forces. The total community population fluctuates around 10,000. The Navy population includes personnel from many diverse shore activities.
The Naval Support Activity (NSA) Naples provides the administrative and logistic support to over 100 tenant commands and activities throughout the Mediterranean region which includes personnel assigned to NATO and forces of the Sixth Fleet. The principal striking power of the Sixth Fleet resides in its aircraft carriers and the modern jet aircraft, its submarines, and its reinforced battalion of US Marines on board amphibious ships deployed in the Mediterranean. OPNAV Notice 5450 issued in January 2005 disestablished the Navy Regional Contracting Center (NRCC) in Naples, Italy. The logistics and procurement functions, which were provided up until then by NRCC personnel in Naples, Bahrain, London and Dubai, United Arab Emirates, were, as a result, completely integrated into Fleet and Industrial Supply Center (FISC) Sigonella as FISC Sigonella Detachment Naples.
With the build up of Soviet forces to the East, and with Allied Forces Southern Europe (AFSOUTH) fulfilling the land, sea and air role for NATO's right flank, it became necessary to establish a naval support unit ashore. This was done on 3 October, 1951 by establishing Headquarters, Support Activities (HEDSUPPACT). Its primary mission was to support AFSOUTH, and later, the SIXTH Fleet. In December 1952, the Commanding Officer was redesignated as Commander, and in August, 1953 the support unit became Commander, Subordinate command, US Naval Forces Eastern Atlantic / Commander, Headquarters Support Activities, Naples Italy (COMSUBMOMNELM/COMHEDSUPPACT).
In November 1957, it was redesignated US Naval Activities, Italy (NAVACTS Italy) and a new activity was established out of COMHEDSUPPACT, the US Naval Support Activity, Naples (NAVSUPPACT Naples). At this time the officer in command had primary duty as Commander, US Naval Support Activity, Naples. On 8 Aug 1966, US Naval Activities, Italy consolidate with US Naval Support Activity, Naples. The CO of the Naval Support Activity was assigned additional duty as Deputy Commander Fleet Air Mediterranean (COMFAIRMED) and as such he acted as the district's commandant in all functions related to COMFAIRMED's shore activities. NAVSUPPACT Naples retained operational control over Marine Barracks, the Commissary and the Naval Publications and Printing Service offfice. All other activities in Italy and southern France were placed under the coordination of COMFAIRMED. In addition to providing assistance and service to military organizations and their related functions, NAVSUPACT Naples supports the DoDDS school system in the Naples area. Current construction of a Support Site north of Naples will house all new support facilities (NEX, TLA Lodge, Family Service Center, Recreation, Schools and housing to name a few).
The US community in the Naples area includes service people and their families from each branch of the US Armed Forces. The total community population fluctuates around 10,000. The bulk of the US community in the Naples area is Navy, with Air Force personnel second in number, followed by the Army, Marine Corps and Coast Guard. US civilians, Department of Defense or State employees and family members round out the community. Most of the Army and Air Force personnel are assigned to elements of AFSOUTH. The US Army Element of AFSOUTH is located on the AFSOUTH Post. The Element provides personnel support to all US Army personnel assigned to AFSOUTH, including the NATO Communications School in Latina, Italy; LandSouth Headquarters in Verona, Italy; and the Advanced Command Post at Thessalonikia, Greece. In addition, there are two AFSOUTH liaison officers assigned to Ankara, Turkey and Athens, Greece.
The US Navy Element, AFSOUTH, a detachment of the Naval Support Activity, provides direct administrative support to the over 300 US Navy personnel assigned to 11 UIC's belonging to NATO. This support covers personnel assigned not only to the various commands located in the immediate Naples area but also to the NATO Communication School in Latina, Italy; LandSouth in Verona, Italy; 5 ATAF in Vincenza, Italy; and 6 ATAF in Izmir, Turkey.
Also included in the Naples area military community are about 1,000 Navy people and their family members in Gaeta, a small coastal town 60 miles north of Naples. Gaeta is the homeport for the flagship of COMSIXTHFLT. It is there that the ship's crew and Sixth Fleet staff members call home. Gaeta was a detachment of NSA, but was established as it's own command on January 28, 1994.
The Naval Support Activity located in Agnano was shaken by a sizable earthquake in August 1982. Damage resulted to the infrastructure of the base and despite the large amount of money spent on repairs, it was decided that the Navy community in Naples was in desperate need of new facilities. Project Pronto was planned to move all operational and support facilities out of Agnano to a 250 acre site near Capua, Italy. The project ended in 1988 when the US Congress concluded it was too expensive and when the Italian Ministry of Defense Purchase of site fell through. In 1990 the decision was made to locate and build the operational aspect of the community in Capodichino, site of the civilian airport which has shared its' runways with the US Navy for many years. Additionally, a support site which would consist of housing, schools and all aspects of community support would be built in the town of Gricignano, about 15 miles north of Capodichino. By 2002 the entire Agnano facility will be closed.
The Port of Naples is located in northeast sector of the Bay of Naples. Mt Vesuvius (4203 ft/1281 m) is about 8 nm east of the port. The inner harbor is largely protected by a detached breakwater Diga Forania Emmanuele Filiberto Duca d'Aosta and an attached breakwater Molo San Vincenzo. The entire harbor is bordered on west clockwise through east by mainland Italy. The outer harbor is protected from the open sea waves except from south clockwise through west-southwest.
If winds greater than force 5 (17 - 21 kt) are forecast, local port authorities recommend that aircraft carriers leave the inner harbor. If southwest winds are greater than 20 kt, it is dangerous to bring an aircraft carrier or tender in/out of the inner harbor. Instances have occurred where Med-moored auxiliary type ships have worked bollards loose during high winds.
Modern Naples, still a major seaport, has retained much of its ancient beauty and splendor. Medieval castles and classic ruins exist side by side with the industrial elements. Naples is in the heart of an economically depressed area. Its downtown area is similar to that of New York City, Philadelphia, and Los Angeles but with a significantly lower rate of violent crime. There is a high degree of theft in and around the Naples area. However it can be thwarted by using common sense and a typical "Crime Watch" program. Although faced with problems from overcrowding and unemployment, the Neapolitans maintain a pleasant and optimistic outlook on life. It is to your advantage to maintain a similar outlook upon arrival and learn to fit into the culture.
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