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Naples, Italy

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 U.S. 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.

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.

The US Naval Support Activity Capodichino provides and maintains facilities and services for support of the air facility, fleet shorebased units and tenants, outgoing/incoming military flights in the European theater and CONUS. The Capodichino US military side of the airport shares runways with the Italian civilian side of the airport.

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.

Also included in the Naples area military community are about 1,000 Navy people and their families in Gaeta, a small coastal town 60 miles north of Naples. NSA 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 Naples, but was established as its own command on January 28, 1994.

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. With a current population of more than two million, unemployment hovers at around thirty percent.

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Maintained by Robert Sherman
Originally created by John Pike
Updated Tuesday, February 15, 2000 9:21:35 AM