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7 - AFSOUTH POST: The Beginnings


The installation now known as AFSouth Post had its beginnings in 1932, when it was designed to provide a home for the orphans of Naples, including orphans of Italian sailors--a function it never served.
 
Funding was contributed by the Foundation Bank of Naples to celebrate its 400th anniversary, and construction began in 1936. It was completed in 1939 by the Cidronio firm, which worked on a commission from the Bank of Naples. The institute was named "Istituto Figli del Popolo". The original installation was designed and built to house 5.000 orphans in the main buildings, with smaller buildings designed as support areas, such as kitchens, bakeries, administrative offices, etc.
 
The formal inauguration of the facility, under the name "Collegio Costanzo Ciano della Gioventu' Italiana del Littorio di Napoli" took place on 9 May 1940, by Vittorio Emanuele III, King of Italy. The obelisk which is prominently situated in front of Building "O” is a stylized rudder, which was to be the symbol of this compound. Tunnels were constructed at the same time as a result of a law which had been passed requiring air raid shelters for each new construction.
 
The German Army occupied the installation from 1941 to 1943. As the fortunes of war changed, so did the residents, and the Allied Armies used the facilities from 1943 to 1947. From July 1947 the post was used by various refugee organizations to house displaced persons until 1952 when it was returned to the Foundation Bank of Naples. The AFSOUTH Hqs was initially established on USS "Mount Olympus”, moored in Naples.
 
The first inadequate ashore facility was inaugurated on 1 September 1951, in a building in the Posillipo area. On Oct 3, 1952, AFSOUTH signed an agreement to rent the facility, providing a headquartes for AFSOUTH, AIRSOUTH and STRIKFORSOUTH. The first AFSOUTH unit to occupy the post was the Carabinieri who moved into Building "E” in January 1953. On April 10, the Headquarters Commandant assumed command of the post when troops moved into Building "D”, on May 1, 1953, the transmitter and receiver sites, constructed at Licola and Lago Patria, were operational. AIRSOUTH completed its move from Florence on May 18, occupying Building "O”. After serious structural damage was discovered in some of the AFSOUTH buildings, considerable correspondence took place between NATO and Foundation in an attempt to procure repairs.
 
The problem was resolved through the Prefect of Naples and the Ministry of the Interior by attributing the structural failures to war damage, in order to receive goverment reparations. However, another cause was the use of poor construction materials, since they were the only ones available at the time. The Italian goverment contributed Lira 973,000,000 for renovations, while NATO paid Lira 423,000,000 for adaptions to be made for AFSouth`s purposes. Additionally, the construction of the transmitter and receiver sites cost Lire 106,000,000. The Commander-in-Chief and his staff moved to AFSouth Post in early March, 1954, from which time the post has served at the home of Headquarters, Allied Forces Southern Europe. The official inauguration took place on 4 April 1954.

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