Late yesterday afternoon, a historic chapter in Naples history came to an end when the Allied Joint Force Command (JFC), the NATO Base in Bagnoli officially closed its doors after nearly six decades.
A fixture in the Naples community since 1953, the NATO base has been, as Admiral Clingan, Commander Joint Force Command Naples, remarked at the closing ceremony, “a place where NATO service members and civilians came together as free men and women, with common ideals and a respect for each others’ rights, thoughts and beliefs; to work and live as a true international community focused on forging a brighter more secure future.”
Citing operational requirements, the need to transition the base’s mission to a war fighting headquarters, and the need to improve base facilities, officials made the decision to build a new headquarters in 1998. After evaluating a number of sites throughout Italy, officials selected an area just outside of Lago Patria, keeping the NATO base in the Campania Region.
Admiral Clingan noted that, “it is most fortunate to be able to remain within the Campania Region and in close proximity to the city of Naples, which will continue to be the namesake of the Command.”
The first Headquarters of Allied Forces in Southern Europe and later JFC, the Bagnoli complex was built in the 1930s as a home for young people in need. The complex will be returned to the Fondazione Banco di Napoli, who in partnership with the Campania Region, will conduct a study to determine the best use of the property. One of the ideas being considered, is to locate the headquarters of the Campania Region here.
While a few offices will remain at Bagnoli for while longer yet, JFC employees have been making the transition to the new base since late summer, reaching the Command’s Initial Operating Capability in the late fall. And although a bright future awaits JFC at its new state-of-the-art facility in Lago Patria, the Naples community at large marks the bittersweet end to an era.