NAS SIGONELLA, Italy - As thousands of Special Immigration Visa (SIV) applicants transited from Afghanistan through Naval Air Station (NAS) Sigonella, Italy, and Naval Station (NAVSTA) Rota, Spain, during Operation Allies Welcome (OAW), Naval Supply Systems Command Fleet Logistics Center Sigonella (NAVSUP FLCSI) leveraged its logistics support capacities and resources to support the humanitarian effort.
One of the command's resources at NAS Sigonella re-purposed in support of OAW was building 720, a 16,000-square-foot warehouse facility that is under construction to become the installation's future fleet mail center. During September 2021, the building was used as a temporary lodging facility for evacuees, then later converted into a storage location for operation-related supplies.
"With its proximity of the flight line building 720 was a perfect location to house evacuees as they worked their way through the screening process," said Lt. Cmdr. Treven Feleciano, NAVSUP FLCSI operational officer. "With in a 24-hour time period, Camp 720 was established with cots, dining tents, bathroom facilities, and WiFi to make it as comfortable as possible for the arrivals from their long journey."
Gunnery Sgt. Joseph Melendez, NAVSUP FLCSI, helped set up cots at building 720 before the arrival of the qualified evacuees and he's since been assisting with the deliveries of meals and other living supplies to the travelers staying at building 720.
"It's been very rewarding to play a role in caring for the travelers during their temporary stay with us," Melendez said. "First impressions are everlasting and I wanted them to feel welcome."
"We enthusiastically embrace our logistics support role, ensuring the evacuees have adequate food, medical supplies and quality-of-life services during their time with us," said Capt. Douglas S. MacKenzie, NAVSUP FLCSI commanding officer. "Assisting these qualified evacuees is the right thing to do, and on behalf of our NAVSUP team, we are very proud of our ability to support to the Commander of Navy Region, Europe, Africa, Central, the installation Commanding Officers, and the inter-agency teams by providing world-class logistics support to this humanitarian mission at our bases in Sigonella and Rota, and we remain committed to meeting the needs of the Navy, Joint, Inter-Agency, NATO mission partners for the duration of this operation."
Known as the "Hub of the Med", NAS Sigonella's strategic location as the Navy's only overseas air station enables U.S, allied, and partner nation forces to deploy and respond as required to ensure security and stability in European, Africa, and Central Command areas of responsibility. NAS Sigonella is currently supporting the Department of State mission to facilitate the safe departure and relocation of U.S. citizens, Special Immigration Visa recipients, and vulnerable populations from Afghanistan.
"Our logistics teams are giving their all to meet this surge," said U.S. Navy Rear Adm. Duke Heinz, USEUCOM director of logistics. "Our ability to rapidly meet this high demand is a testament to the skill, training and interconnectedness of our logistics professionals, and of course the pre-positioning of equipment we need for the operation."
FLCSI is one of NAVSUP's eight globally-positioned logistics centers and provides for the full range of solutions for logistics, business and support services to the Navy, Joint and Allied Forces at NAS Sigonella and throughout the U.S. European Command and U.S. Africa Command areas of responsibility.
Check out how our command's military and civilian members have been supporting Operation Allies Welcome,... at NAS Sigonella, Sicily - https://youtu.be/_X2ysiKERTU and at Naval Station Rota, Spain - https://youtu.be/2CYUEDb039o