NAPLES, Italy – Almost 100 students and teachers from a pair of high schools spent a day touring Allied Joint Force Command Naples, May 6, 2016.
The visitors came from "Giuseppe Mazzini” of Naples and "Alfred Nobel” Torre del Greco. Both schools are located in the Campania Region.
The two schools were accompanied by Professor Leonardo Vaira, representative of the Naples Regional School's Directorate.
Dr. Diana Sodano, JFC Naples community relations officer, briefed the students about the structure, mission and goals of JFC Naples, and the pupils were provided an overview of the new headquarters. As part of the presentation, the students viewed a video about JFC Naples and its capabilities and then received a Joint Operations Center, or JOC, brief by Italian Air Force Lieutenant Colonel Luigi Verzelletti and Canadian Army Major Tony Stabile via video teleconference on the Joint Operations Center (JOC) and their activities. Maj Stabile answered to some questions of the students.
"It was an amazing experience, it’s all new to us,” said 18-year-old Carmen Arlotta, who wants to be an ambassador in the future.
The students were then greeted in person by JFC Naples Chief of Staff, Italian Army Lieutenant General Leonardo di Marco. During his welcome remarks, Lt. Gen. di Marco expressed his gratitude for such a large representation from the two schools and focused on the mission of the JFC Naples personnel.
"We are an operational headquarters directly under the Supreme Headquarters Allied Powers Europe and our mission is to be ready to intervene wherever the North Atlantic Council may decide,” said Lt. Gen. di Marco. "But our primary task is to train assigned military and civilian staff to conduct of any operation we may asked to perform, ranging from strictly military to those in support of national authorities in case of an emergency."
Afterwards the students were granted a question and answer period with the general. One student asked Lt. Gen. di Marco the Italian role during NATO missions.
"Italy is one of the 28 countries belonging to NATO and they all have the same importance; there is no country which is better than another one,” Lt. Gen. di Marco said.
Angelica Amaftason, an 18-year-old student at "Giuseppe Mazzini” said she was pleased by Lt. Gen. di Marco’s time with the group.
"It was surprising we would have such a dialogue with someone at that important of a NATO level,” Amaftason said.
Professor Leonardo Vaira, representative of the Naples Regional School's Directorate, thanked the General on behalf of Dr. Luisa Franzese, Director of the Naples Regional School Department, for such great hospitality and wishes that these fantastic activities continue also in the future.
Following the meeting with Lt. Gen. di Marco and after a group photo, the students were given the opportunity to visit the NATO Communication Information Systems Group (NCIS) 2nd NATO Signal Battalion where Italian Army Captain Sebastiano Capone and OR-4 US Army Donald Irvine gave a complete overview of the Satellite Communication Activities.
The visit concluded with a walking tour of the base including the community center, gym, library and the pool, which provided the students with a better understanding of how NATO members live and work within their community.
"I think it’s a great facility here,” said visiting student Ricardo Ucasagranze.
The visit is part of the community relations campaign to establish a good cultural and social exchange with the external community and to strengthen the relationship with local and regional institutions.