Today, after over forty years of service to the Alliance, Allied Maritime Command Naples (MC Naples) cased its colors following the transfer of its responsibility to NATO’s new Maritime Command located in Northwood, United Kingdom.
Vice Admiral Rinaldo Veri, Italian Navy, as last Commander Allied Maritime Command Naples relinquished his Command, hauled down his flag and proclaimed the deactivation of MC Naples, during a ceremony presided over by Admiral Bruce W. Clingan, USA Navy, Commander Allied Joint Force Command Naples as Senior NATO Representative, in the presence of Prof. Guido Trombetti, on behalf of the President of Campania Region, Honorable Luigi De Magistris, Mayor of Naples. Commanders and representatives of Allied Navies together with local military, civilian and religious authorities were in attendance.
The ceremony was conducted on the Isle of Nisida where units from the Standing NATO Maritime Group 1 (SNMG1) were anchored in the Gulf of Pozzuoli.
Admiral Clingan in his remark thanked Naples for its gracious hospitality over the years. Then he wished to emphasized that this was moment of a transition and not a closure: "The disestablishment of MC Naples, the Command, does not signal the end of its roles and missions, rather it is an important demonstration of NATO’s willingness to adapt while guaranteeing the enduring security imperative that this command was designed to address continues to be addressed.”
Admiral Veri in his farewell speech first thanked all participants then stated: "For over sixty years, from the eastern shores of the African continent to the strait of Gibraltar, from the Gulf of Sirte to the Northern reaches of the Adriatic and all the water space in between, NATO Maritime Forces on, under and above the sea, have contributed immeasurably to the safety and security of the Alliance and our Partners. Then he added: "I am also very proud to state that over the past two years, the men and women of Maritime Command Naples, represented today by the officers and enlisted personnel standing in rank before you, have continued this legacy of excellence in the maritime domain.”
Today also marked the ceremonial closure and formal recognition of the tremendous contributions of the Headquarters’ two supporting entities, Allied Submarine Forces South, commanded by Rear Admiral Fritz Roegge, USA. Navy , and Maritime Air Naples, commanded by Rear Admiral Tony Gaiani, USA Navy.
At the end of 1971, Commander NAVSOUTH shifted his Headquarters from Malta to Naples, Italy, following the decision of the Maltese Government to terminate its relationship with NATO. After an initial period in a temporary accommodation, COMNAVSOUTH moved to the latest Headquarters on the island of Nisida, in 1972.
On 1 March 2010, the Headquarters assumed the current denomination Allied Maritime Command Naples, as part of a change in the command structure of Allied Command Operations.
At the November 2010 Lisbon Summit, NATO leaders endorsed a new Strategic Concept, which states that the Alliance will "engage in a process of continual reform, to streamline structures, improve working methods and maximize efficiency.” This restructuring included the establishment of a single NATO maritime headquarters in Northwood, United Kingdom. On 1 December 2012, a NATO-wide transition day took place and Maritime Command, Northwood (MARCOM) formally assumed its new authorities. A four-month transition period followed, including the handover of command of Operation Active Endeavour. This process culminates today with the deactivation of MC Naples ending over 60 years of maritime headquarters’ presence in the Mediterranean region.