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VOL. 29 NO. 18


11, 2012

AIMD Spouses Relay for Life fundraiser unites NASSIG community

On May 5, community members from Naval Air Station (NAS) Sigonella participated in the Relay for Life 5K Poker Run/Walk organized by the Aircraft Intermediate Maintenance Detachment Spouses Relay for Life Team as a fundraising event for Relay for Life which will take place May 19. (U.S. Navy photo by MR2 Gary Spence/Released)

BY MR2 GARY SPENCE NAS Sigonella Public Affairs


n May 5, community members from Naval Air Station (NAS) Sigonella came together to participate in the Relay for Life (RFL) 5K Poker Run/Walk organized by the Aircraft Intermediate Maintenance Detachment (AIMD) Spouses RFL Team as a fundraising event for RFL which will take place May 19. AIMD Spouses are one of the 16 teams that have signed up for the Relay for Life event which has a total of 162 participants registered. “[The AIMD spouses] came up with the idea of hosting a run to raise money,” said AIMD Spouses Relay for Life Team Caption Lisa Marshall. “My husband thought of the poker idea. He thought that would really mix things up a bit." The run/walk began at 8 a.m. and a ten dollar donation was asked of participants. Fifty-eight people participated, making the event a big success. More than $3,300 was raised, bringing the AIMD Spouses team to the forefront of fundraising totals. At each kilometer along the course, participants received a playing card, collecting the fifth card as they reached the 5K finish line. The winners with the best hand were Lynn Gantt and Master at Arms Second Class Robert. Gantt won with three-of-a-kind and Millerbernd had a full house. Due to generous donations from the Sigonella community, awards were

also given to the fastest male and female: Hospial Corpsman Second Class Sean Cather and Katie Elliott. With laws regarding overseas fundraisers, the Sigonella RFL teams are only allowed to raise money on base and within Marinai. The success of the AIMD Spouses RFL 5K Poker Run/Walk helped bring the total raised for RFL to $19,250 this year. "So much hard work has gone into fundraising and it has been such a community effort," said Electronics Technician Third Class Jacob Balesi, publicity chairman for the RFL Leadership Committee. " The Sigonella community is leading the fundraising efforts in the California region. Considering we can only raise money in our community whereas people in California can raise money in a much larger area, it goes to show how much hard work has gone into RFL."

RFL is a life-changing event that gives everyone in communities across the globe a chance to celebrate the lives of people who have battled cancer, remember loved ones lost, and fight back against the disease. Each year, more than 3.5 million people in 5,000 communities in the United States, along with additional communities in 20 other countries, gather to take part in this global event and raise much-needed funds and awareness to save lives from cancer This is the second year that Sigonella is participating, but the first year that the event will be 24-hours. "As we participate in the fight to cure cancer, we remember people living with cancer fight the disease each day, 24-hours a day," said Balesi. "Show up for the walk! We will start at 10 a.m. on Saturday, May 19 and will go for 24-hours, until 10 a.m. on May 20. Together we can all make a difference!"



“Courage is the most important of all the virtues, without it, you can practice no other.” - Maya Angelou

Infiorata flower festival in Noto

A stone’s throw from Sigonella

Budgeting for a new pet

Read about it.

Learn about Palermo, Sicily’s capital city.

NAS Sigonella Veterinarian CPT Elliott Garber explains.

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Scan for direct links to NAS Sigonella



U.S. Naval Air Station Sigonella Capt. Scott Butler, Commanding Officer Cmdr. Eric Vosler, Executive Officer CMDCM David Graham, Command Master Chief

EDITORIAL Lt. Tim Page, Public Affairs Officer

Dott. Alberto Lunetta, Community Relations Officer

Jackie Trembath, Editor


Writers/Photographers MC1 Christopher Delano MM2 Johnnathan Archbold MC2 Gary Prill MR2 Gary Spence MCSN Cameron Bramham MCSN Brian Glunt

CONTACT US Naval Air Station Sigonella, Sicily DSN 624-5440; 095-86-5440 PSC 812 Box 3020, FPO, AE 09627

CONTRIBUTING Writers/Photographers Ann Forrest Capt. Elliott Garber, DVM, MPH

PUBLISHER Stampa Generale S.r.l., Sig. Bruno Brandi, Publisher, Naval Support Activity Capodichino (Naples), Italy Tel. 081-568-7884 – Fax 081-568-7887

This civilian enterprise (CE) newspaper is an authorized publication for members of the military services overseas. Contents of The Signature are not necessarily the official views of, or endorsed by, the U.S. Government, the Department of Defense (DoD), or the U.S. Navy. The appearance of advertising in this newspaper, including inserts or supplements, does not constitute endorsement by the DoD or Stampa Generale S.r.l., of the products or services advertised. Everything advertised in this publication shall be made available for purchase, use or patronage without regard to race, color, religion, sex,national origin, age, marital status, physical handicap, political affiliation or any other non-merit factor of the purchaser, user or patron. A confirmed violation or rejection of this equal opportunity policy by an advertiser will result in the refusal to print advertising from that source until the violation is corrected. The Signature is published weekly by Stampa Generale S.r.l., Sig. Bruno Brandi, Publisher, Naval Support Activity, Capodichino (Naples), Italy - Tel. 081-568-7884, Fax 081-568-7887. E-mail: Editorial submissions are welcomed from all Naval Air Station Sigonella departments, divisions and tenant commands. Editorial submissions should be sent to the Public Affairs Office via, guard mail stop #68 or hand-delivered to our office no later than the close of business on the Friday proceeding the expected publication date. All articles submitted by non-staff members will be considered contributing writers. The Signature will not publish any anonymous articles. All advertisements in this publication are the property of Stampa Generale S.r.l. Any reproduction of advertisements in The Signature is unauthorized without the written consent of the publisher.

11, 2012

NAS Sigonella Commanding Officer Capt. Scott Butler I want to start off this Direct Line by wishing a Happy Mother’s Day to all of the Moms in our Community!! On Sunday, all of us should take time to celebrate Mother’s Day, honoring the incredible, everyday contributions Moms make to enrich all of our lives. I would like to extend a heartfelt thank you to all of our wives and mothers for what you do, every day. It was great to have HM3 Rhonda Burhmester and ET3 Jacob Balesi join us last week on Feedback Live. These Sailors are stepping up and making a difference in Sigonella and it was great to share some time with them on the air. Whether you choose to support the great work CSADD is doing to guide our junior Sailors in making good decisions, or the Sigonella Relay for Life whose impact will reach worldwide, I encourage you all to get involved. Find an organization that you believe in and make a difference by leaving a lasting impression for generations of Sigonellans to come. We received so many questions for May’s Feedback Live that we couldn’t cover them all during the show, so I’ll use this Direct Line column to answer them. Your questions are very important to me, and I encourage you to keep sending them via email. Remember that Feedback Live is a LIVE call in show – if time permits, you can get your question answered on the spot. The show is held on the first Thursday of each month, from 6:30 – 7 p.m. To call in live on the show, please dial 6244265 or 095-56-4265. What was the purpose of filling that huge space near the new barracks with rocks? Couldn't it have been made into basketball courts or something of


that nature? It's such a nice open space and it's sad to see it's just going to go to waste. The placement of the white gravel east of Building 623 is called xeriscaping, and I elected to replace the original plans that called for grass with this low maintenance application so as to avoid both large muddy fields of weeds and the cost of watering large grass areas. That said, the area remains open to future improvement as projects are developed and MWR is considering many such projects in that, and other areas. I know the community is going to benefit greatly from some similar MWR projects already in the works! Is there a plan in place to fix the water/drainage problem outside of the galley? There is stagnant water there that has grown algae and smells awful that I’m forced to walk by everyday when I head to the galley. Yes. The standing water near the galley is the result of an underground water leak, and the replacement of that section of the water line is currently in design at Public Works. I expect the work to be completed this summer. I was wondering if we could take over the large room on the south wing of the Tween/Teen center and put gym equipment there for the use of (mainly Marinai) all. Perhaps MWR has extra unused but still good equipment to put there. Not sure of any contractual agreements. The teens will still have plenty of room. I think many folks would volunteer their services to keep the gym open long after NAS I and NAS II gyms secure. Unfortunately, placing fitness equipment in the Marinai Tween/Teen





complex is not permitted under new criteria set forth by CNIC in its unmanned fitness facility policy. The policy establishes and standardizes specific requirements to ensure a safe fitness environment ... and the first criteria for an establishment of an unmanned fitness center is that it be located more than 15 minutes from the nearest fitness center. The policy also emphasizes that personnel use available MWR fitness centers, thus eliminating the added cost and man-hours required to establish and maintain the unmanned fitness space and equipment. Along these lines, however, MWR expects to open a Family Fitness Center upstairs in Midtown in the very near term. Although not located in Marinai Housing, I know that this Center will provide a great benefit to the community, too. The questions, comments and concerns stated in this column do not constitute the official position of the U.S. Navy and are submitted by members of the community.





11, 2012



Around NAS Sigonella ... Meritorious Civilian Service Awardees

NAS Sigonella Eagle Scout candidate maps out trails at Parco dell’Etna

Naval Air Station (NAS) Sigonella Commanding Officer, Capt. Scott Butler presented Mr. Chris Lee (left), NAS Sigonella business manager and J.G. Somavilla (right), NAS Sigonella emergency management officer the Meritorious Civilian Service Award at the monthly tenant command meeting on May 1. Both Lee and Somavilla were recognized for their contributions during Operation Unified Protector. (Photo by Lt. Tim Page, NAS Sigonella Public Affairs/Released)

Sigonellans participate in National Day of Prayer

On May 3, Connor Peet, a member of Boy Scout Troop 53 and Eagle Scout candidate, works with Orazio Distefano to install a new trail system map at Parco dell’Etna. Connor, along with members of Troop 53, used hand-held GPS devices to help map out the trail system on Mount Etna. The project was organized as part of Connor’s candidacy for Eagle Scout is his troop. One of the requirements is to complete a service project helpful to his community. (U.S. Navy photo by MR2 Gary W. Spence/released) On May 3, Naval Air Station (NAS) Sigonella Chaplain, Lt. Stephen LaBue led community members in a series of prayers honoring National Day of Prayer, an annual observance held on the first Thursday of May, inviting people of all faiths to pray for the nation. (U.S. Navy photo by MCSN Cameron Bramham/Released)

Cinco de Mayo celebration at Youth Complex

Sigonella Elementary School honors volunteers

Naval Air Station (NAS) Sigonella Elementary School celebrated school volunteers by holding a special event in their honor. Each of the more than 70 volunteers were also presented with certificates of appreciation. (U.S. Navy photo by MCSN Cameron Bramham/Released)

Members of Pro-Loco of Giarre visit NASSIG

Tweens from the Youth Complex at Marinai break open a candy-filled piñata as part of the Cinco de Mayo celebration held at the center May 5. They started the evening by cooking traditional Mexican dishes and mixing up a Mexican beverage known as Horchata. For more information on Youth Complex activities, call 624-1750. (U.S. Navy photo by MR2 Gary W. Spence/released)

About 60 members from Pro-Loco of Giarre, Sicily visited Naval Air Station (NAS) Sigoneolla, May 1, for a tour of Patrol Squadron 47 (VP 47) Detachment. The tour group also visited other organizations on NAS 2 and the Midtown Complex on NAS I. (U.S. Navy photo by MCSN Cameron Bramham/Released)

NAS Sigonella SAPR Victim Advocate Hotline: 335-624-8312 DoD SAFE Hotline: 001-877-995-5247 (from cell phones and off-base telephones) 19020 (toll-free access code) 877-995-5247 (From DSN lines)




11, 2012



11 NO SCHOOL Lunch & Learn 12:30 - 2 p.m. FFSC





Bowling $1 Day

Ricotta Cheese Workshop 9 a.m. - 2 p.m. Liberty Outreach Take 5

2nd Annual Nightingale Run Orange Grove 5 p.m.

THURSDAY 17 ITT Tour Aeolian Islands

America’s Kids Run High School Track 3:30 p.m.

22 Bowling $1 Day

Author Jack W.London Library Puzzle Challenge Take 5



How to Pamper Yourself Class at FFSC 1:30 - 2:30 p.m. Military Spouse Appreciation Day 9 a.m. - 3 p.m. Texas Hold’em Jox Pub

Liberty/Connections/Take 5: x4246, x5602 Outdoor Rec: x4777, x4396

ITT Tour Circumetnea Train Bellini Opera

Bike Rodeo Marinai Sports Field 9 a.m. - 1 p.m. Cosmic Bowling


Bike to Work Day

Elementary School PE Field Day

Relay for Life 10 a.m.

Take 5 Empty Wallet Lunch

Bingo Connections

Dinner Out Liberty

Karaoke Jox Pub

Fitness: x4483, x5243 Midtown 2 Theaters: x4248

Mother’s Day Moms bowl free at SPAREtime bowling Call x4302 ITT Tour Taormina and Gambino Winery

APAHM Celebration Knights Hall 4:30 p.m. ITT Tour Noto Inficrata Marzamemi Fishing Outdoor Rec



Bowling 2 for 1


Wellness Fair High School Track 10 a.m. - 2 p.m.

Arrivederci Class 8 - 11:30 a.m. FFSC




Command Challenge

Free Movie Midtown 2

Texas Hold’em Jox Pub




ITT Agrigento/Tatarata

ITT Siracusa

Madonna della Rocca Outdoor Rec Cosmic Bowling

FFSC: x4291 American Red Cross: x4900

Does your command or organization have an event you’d like to see on the Community Calendar? Email us at and let us know!


11, 2012



Fleet and Family Support Center Administration Building Bldg. 319 (NAS I)

Monday–Friday 7:30 a.m.-4 p.m. DSN 624-4291 Commercial 095-56-4291

Preparing kids for stateside living Sigonella is facing another busy PCS season. School will be out in a matter of weeks and it will be time to pack up and go back to the United States with the kids. Everyone in the family is excited and probably a little anxious about their new home. If you are going back to the U.S. you might be asking yourself “Are my children going to be safe?” Maybe your kids have never lived in the U.S. or were so young when they did, that they have no memory of a stateside experience. Living in Sicily has provided a safe haven for our children. Our housing opportunities have allowed our children more freedom than they might have back home. So, how do we redirect activities and freedoms without scaring our children? The National Center of Missing and Exploited children suggests that parents take 25 minutes out of every day to discuss and teach children how to be safe. Here are a few tips provided by TAKE 25: AT HOME Work with children to help them memorize their full names, your full names, their new address and telephone number in case they find themselves lost or in an unsafe situation. Make sure children know how to reach you at work or on your cell phone. Teach children how and when to use 911, and make sure they have a trusted adult to call when they have an emergency. Instruct children to keep the doors locked and not to open doors to talk to anyone when they’re home alone. Choose babysitters with care. Once you’ve chosen the caregiver, drop in unexpectedly to see how your children are doing. Ask children about their experience with the sitter, and listen carefully to their responses.

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OUT AND ABOUT Take children on a walking tour of your new neighborhood and tell them which (if any) neighbors they may visit without you. Teach children to ask for your permission, or the permission of the caregiver, before leaving home. Remind children not to walk or play alone outside. Reassure children that it’s okay to say “no” to anything that makes them feel scared, uncomfortable, or confused. Teach children to tell you if anything or anyone makes them feel this way. Teach children to never approach a vehicle, occupied or not, unless they are accompanied by a parent, guardian, caregiver, or other trusted adult. Practice “what-if” situations and ask children how they would respond. An example of a “what-if ” situation is: “What if you fell off your bike and you needed help? Who would you ask?” Teach children to always check in with you if there is a change of plans with anything they are doing or any place they are going. During family outings, establish a central, easyto-locate spot to meet should you get separated. Teach children how to locate help in public places. Identify people who they can ask for help, such as uniformed law enforcement, security guards, and store clerks with nametags. Teach children that if anyone tries to grab them, they should make a scene and make every effort to get away by kicking, screaming, and resisting. For more information about child safety, visit or call the FFSC @ 624-4291. FFSC Relocation Specialist Mary Barton will help you design a safety approach that meets the needs of your specific family.

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11, 2012

(Photo by Bellini Opera Press Office)

Infiorata Flower Festival in Noto Three final shows of Mozart’s The Marriage of Figaro at Catania Bellini Opera House

Sigonella Opera buffs will be happy to hear that Mozart’s masterpiece Le Nozze di Figaro (The Marriage of Figaro) will continue to be performed through Sunday, May 13 at the Catania Bellini Opera House. For more information and tickets visit

ITn! Y A Sour Italia T S JPUractice y

Learn these simple words to use at the NOTO Flower Festival

English: decoration Italian: decorazione Infiorata flower festival running in Noto from May 18 through May 20. Every year, Noto, a magnificent Baroque city, located on the southern slopes of the Iblei Mountains southwest of Siracusa, welcomes spring with this colorful festival featuring flower decorations that are absolutely astonishing and impressive in scale. ( Photo by )

The 33rd annual enchanting Infiorata flower festival will take place in Noto, a breathtaking Baroque city located on the southern slopes of the Iblei Mountains southwest of Siracusa, from Friday, May 18 through Sunday, May 20. Infiorata (decoration with flowers) is an exciting annual flower festival which turns Noto into a beautiful garden. Along the streets of the historic center, festival goers will get a chance to see flower decorations that cover about 700 square meters. The tradition of decorating the main streets of the city was originally imitated from the one that is annually organized in Genzano, a small village located in the center of Italy. In Genzano, petals were traditionally spread to decorate the itinerary of religious processions honoring the Virgin Mary. In 1980, Noto administrators decided to hold a similar festival in their town. And so they invited the Genzano decorators to “paint” with flowers the historic center of Noto. Sicilian artists quickly learned the techniques and the secrets of this ancient art. Since then, “Infiorata” has become one of the most important annual cultural events in Noto. The city administration announces the theme of the year and then organizes a competition for the best sketches. An award is given to the best three artists. On May 18, at 4 p.m., Infioratori, (the ones who decorate with flowers) begin to fill the drawings with petals and colorful plants. Tons of flower petals (about 400,000 including carnations, gerberas, daisies, roses, wild flowers and more) are used to create big carpets that typically reproduce holy images and modern topics. Via Corrado Nicolaci, one among Noto’s main streets, will be covered by a mantel of flowers although there will be smaller decorations in some adjoining roads, courtyards and squares. The magnificent wrought iron balconies of Palazzo Villadorata, the mesmerizing Montevergini Church and the elegance of the aristocratic palaces of Modica and Giunta, form a unique Baroque backdrop for the event. Those skilled artists will work all night through dawn to create magnificent decorations. The second day of the festival (Saturday, May 19) will feature entertainment, period costumes, parades and street artists. Complementing the festival, art exhibits and food booths selling local specialties are also set up in the town’s historic heart. Make sure you see the amazing “Corteo Barocco,” a breathtaking historic Baroque parade in period costu-

mes that will kick off on Sunday, May 20 from the cathedral. If you want a good reason to visit Noto, you should know that this amazing Baroque town is so precious that it was chosen by UNESCO to be part of its World Heritage List. UNESCO, a United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization, has indeed inscribed Noto and seven other towns in south-eastern Sicily (Caltagirone, Militello Val di Catania, Catania, Modica, Palazzolo, Ragusa and Scicli), on the World Heritage List, which consists of 563 cultural properties throughout the world. Those cities were all rebuilt after the terrible earthquake that struck Sicily in 1693. UNESCO officials maintain that those cities represent a considerable collective undertaking featuring a unique architectural and artistic style. So while you visit the Infiorata, remember that you are in one of the most beautiful Baroque cities in the world. Did you also know that Noto is called “Garden of stone and gold” for the yellowish-rosy color of its buildings and monuments? Once you are there you’ll figure this out by yourself! Noto is located about 20 miles south of Siracusa. The city was built next to the river Asinaro in 1703 on the ruins of the ancient Roman City of Netum on the Alveria Mount, which was destroyed in the earthquake of 1693. As it happened pretty much everywhere around Sicily, Greeks, Romans, Byzantines, Arabs, Normans, Swabians, Aragoneses, and Spaniards conquered Noto throughout the centuries. But unfortunately, few traces of the pre-Baroque civilizations remain because of the earthquake. So, today’s Noto displays just the 18th century baroque layout. Noto boasts a plethora of churches and palaces that are among the most valuable examples of the skills of talented artists of the time such as Gagliardi, Sinatra, Labisi. Graceful curves of floral interfacings, of foreshortened views of palaces, gardens, and capitals decorate the facades of churches and buildings like the Church of San Francesco, San Domenico, Immacolata. San Carlo, Santa Chiara, the Franciscan Convent and the Salvatore Benedictine Monastery. Among the aristocratic palaces, Palazzo Ducezio is definitely worth a visit. Architect Vincenzo Sinagra designed it in 1748. Beautiful neo-classical style frescoes by Antonio Mazza decorate the interiors. For more information and detailed schedules, call Noto Tourist office at 0931-896264 or visit

English: Baroque Italian: Barocco English: city Italian: città English: flower Italian: fiore

English: parade Italian: sfilata English: palace Italian: palazzo English: cathedral Italian: cattedrale


11, 2012



May, mothers, and memorials: A month of unexpected connections BY JACK WOODVILLE LONDON Author

Jack Woodville London, a well-known trial attorney, acclaimed author and World War II historian is the Author of the Year of the Military Writers Society of America for his novels Virginia’s War and Engaged in War. Jack W. London's visit to Sigonella kicks off MWR's "Writers on Deck Tour."London, known for his book series French Letters, is scheduled for a book signing and presentation on May 21st at Jox Pub on NAS 2 beginning at 11:30 a.m. and at the The Chart Room on NAS 1 at 5:30 p.m. Following Sigonella's visit, the tour will move to Naples and will end in Rota, Spain.


n the second Sunday of this month we honor our mothers. On the last Monday we honor our fellow citizens who gave their lives in our military service. Few realize how much these two special days have in common. Our mental impression of trans-Atlantic voyages on luxury liners is formed by black and white movies of the 1930’s, images of wealthy socialites, escapees from the oppression of the Depression, throngs at the gangways cheering passengers crowded on deck. But, as the month of May takes hold, take a moment to re-focus on other images and reflections. There are unexpected connections between those voyages, the Civil War, the Great War (World War I), and the month of May. Beginning in May, 1930, the Army Quartermaster Corps began to escort the first of some 6675 women on luxury liners to Paris. These were not just any women, however, nor were they ordinary luxury liners. Each of the women had, at one time or another, put a white flag with a blue star in their window, a custom begun in 1917 by an Army officer who had two sons on the front line in France during World War I. The blue star represented a son or husband in service in the war. But these particular women had an even more painful honor – they had covered the blue star with a gold star on learning of the death of their son or husband. Memorial Day emerged from a proposed national day of reconciliation after the Civil War, a day to honor the sacrifices of men from the south as well as the north. Mother’s Day, however, was almost the opposite. It began in 1870 as a call to mothers to protest the futility of that war’s killing of their sons in the pursuit of political disagreements. It was organized by Julia Ward Howe, who only eight years earlier had composed the anthem Battle Hymn of the Republic to rally the North. From anyone’s perspective, hundreds and hundreds of thousands of young men were buried in a soldier’s grave far from home. While no one disagreed with a day of remembrance for them, women in particular wanted

an end to war. War did not end, not then, nor on the Indian frontier or in Cuba or the Philippines. Still, no one was prepared for what happened in World War I, when more than another one hundred thousand of their sons were cut down in battle. This time, however, the graves could not be reached, not by any ordinary widow or mother. In March, 1929, the Army Quartermaster Corps proposed and the Congress enacted a bill to change that. Nestled between acts to build bridges and improve prisons, Public Law 1506 established a fund to pay for pilgrimages to American cemeteries in Europe for the mothers and widows of Soldiers, Sailors, and Marines buried there. The United States, even in the throes of the Depression, honored both Mothers Day and Memorial Day in a way never seen before or since – it took the mothers to visit their sons’ graves in France, a trans-Atlantic voyage beyond the means or hopes of all but the wealthiest of Americans. The first Gold Star mothers sailed on the S.S. America on May 7, 1930. Every voyage departed from New York. For many of the mothers on board, the voyages duplicated their sons’ last voyage. The S.S. America had served as a troop ship in World War I, transporting some four thousand doughboys per crossing from New York to Brest, France, thirteen years before it began to take their mothers. For the next three years, American women of all races and social levels were escorted to France, often on ships that had been confiscated from Germany in 1917 and used as troopships. The pilgrims docked at Cherbourg and entrained for Paris where, according to Constance Potter, they were given rooms in the Hotel Imperator. Escorted by American officers, each woman was taken across northern France to the American cemetery where her son lay. There were no public ceremonies; each woman was escorted to her son’s grave and given a wreath. She could stay as long as she liked; there was no hurrying from place to place. In some instances the women also were taken to the fields of Chateau Thierry or Belleau Wood, where their boys had fallen, or to Compiegne, where the Armistice was signed. The pilgrimages were not entirely without controversy. The widows and mothers of black troops traveled by decidedly reduced means and stayed

in lesser hotels in what the government provided as separate but hardly equal arrangements. One mother died during the voyage. Another, when asked on arrival whether she would be agreeable to having a new room-mate at the hotel, told her French hosts that she didn’t care who they put in her room “as long as it isn’t a Frenchman.” The Quartermasters and embassy officials had a difficult time persuading some of the hotels to cook bacon and eggs for women who were accustomed to starting the day with more than strong coffee and a croissant. And, as today, a group of elected objectors took the government to task for funding the trips at all, saying the $850.00 per woman would have been better spent elsewhere. The last sponsored voyage of the Gold Star mothers was completed aboard the S.S. Washington in August, 1933. However, the journeys of neither the vessels nor the mothers ended then. The S.S. Harding, the Roosevelt, and the Washington became troop ships in World War II. The S.S. Washington also had the honor of transporting American and neutral refugees from Europe to the United States in June, 1941, six months before the United States entered the war. One hundred eighty miles off the coast of Portugal it was stopped by a German submarine that signaled ‘ten minutes to abandon ship’ before being torpedoed, an act of war reminiscent of the Lusitania and Athenia attacks. The Washington stood fast, repeatedly signaling that it was an American ship and, after a tense hour, the submarine departed, radioing to Berlin that it had encountered an American liner and, ‘after the usual courtesies at sea, continued on its way.’ Gold Star mothers have not made their last pilgrimage. Between 2000 and 2011, a private association escorted Gold Star mothers to the battlefields in Viet Nam where their sons died. Nine Gold Star Mothers traveled to Sulaymania, Iraq, in October 2010. Today, Gold Star and Blue Star mothers support our service men and women in hospitals, hospices, and family care of all kinds. This May, one hundred fifty years after the onset of the Civil War, we still salute the two special days of peace and remembrance born of that conflict. Mothers, all mothers, deserve our gratitude. Those mothers whose children died in our service deserve our highest praise and our efforts to respect their prayer for peace. And, in memory of those children, each of us must honor them with the respect and gratitude that every member of our grateful nation owes for their sacrifice. Mother’s Day and Memorial Day, together.




11, 2012

A trip to Palermo: Sic

Constructed during the heyday of the Spanish Inquisition, the Fontana della Vergogna features sixteen statues that are nudes of nymphs, humans, mermaids and satyrs. Also known as the "shameful" fountain, the Fontana della Vergogna was a shock to people that this type of art was permitted. It is now one of Palermo's most popular attractions. (Photos by Jackie Trembath).

BY MR2 GARY SPENCE NAS Sigonella Public Affairs


henever I travel to a new state or a new country, I feel a great way to experience the history and culture of the place is to visit its capital city. So that’s what my wife and I did. On a recent ITT tour, we visited Palermo, the capital of Sicily. Palermo was founded by the Phoenicians more than 2,700 years ago where it served as a major trade port in the Mediterranean for hundreds of years. It still serves as a major port for the island. As with most of the cities in Sicily, it is influenced by Greek, Roman, Arabic, and Norman culture. No visit would be complete without a visit to one of the many cathedrals in the city. The most prominent of these is the Grand Cathedral of Palermo. The Palermo Cathedral mixes Muslim, Gothic, Romantic, Renaissance, and Modern styles. It was

erected in 1185 and shows the influence of all the cultures that passed through the island over the centuries, the last addition coming in the late 18th century. Inside you will find the sarcophagus of Frederick II, Holy Roman Emperor and King of Sicily from 1220 – 1250. Open air markets and cafés are a staple throughout Sicily and Palermo is no exception. Since Palermo was founded as a port city, the influence of trade has continued over hundreds of years and is reflected in the markets that line the streets. Their proximity to the Tyrrhenian Sea only enhances the experience. Walking along the sidewalks on a warm spring day, sampling the different varieties of fruits and cheeses with an ocean breeze keeping you cool, makes for a wonderful shopping experience. If you’re in the mood for something a little different, a visit to

the catacombs certainly fits this description. Did I say different? I meant just plain bizarre. Established by the Capuchin monks, they began preserving bodies in the 1500’s. Thousands of mummified corpses are on display, including those of children. In fact, the last body to be laid to rest in the catacombs was that of Rosalia Lombardo, a two year old girl who died in 1920. Known as the “Sleeping Beauty of Palermo,” her body is practically in the same condition as it was when she died almost 100 years ago. Due to the vast history of Palermo, there are so many sights to see. Only a two hour trip from Sigonella, Palermo is an easy to reach destination. If you travel there on your own, you can set your own pace and really explore the city. An ITT tour offers a condensed tour and saves you the driving. Either way you choose, Palermo should be on your list of places to visit while in Sicily.


11, 2012



cily’s capital city

The Cattedrale di Palermo was built in 1184 as a Christian replacement to the Muslim mosque. It contains the Royal and Imperial tombs of the patron Saint of Palermo and a treasury of precious Royal objects, holy vestments and chalices.

The traditional center of Palermo called "Quattro Canti" (Four Corners) is located at the intersection of Corso Vittorio Emanuele and Via Maqueda, making it the heart of this city's old historic district.

The Massimo Theater was designed by Basile and opened May 16, 1897. Built to impress, The Massimo was the second largest theater in Europe after the Paris Opera. The Teatro Massimo opera was open to the public for 77 years, until 1974 when a fire broke next door and the theater was "temporarily" closed. It reopened 22 years later.

(ABOVE) In the Palazzo Chiaramonte-Steri, an early 14th century palace which served as the residence of the powerful Sicilian lord Manfredi III Chiaramonte you can see the frescoed wooden ceiling known as Sala Magna ("Grand Hall"). It was created by Cecco di Naro, Simone da Corleone and Pellegrino Darena.

Renato Guttuso's most famous "palermitano" painting is the Vucciria (the name of Palermo's market), in which, with raw and bloody realism, he expressed one of the many spirits of the Sicilian city.

(LEFT) From the late 15th century to 1517, the Palazzo Chiaramonte-Steri housed the Aragonese-Spanish viceroys of Sicily. It later became the home to the Royal Customs. From 1600 to 1782, it served as the tribunal of the Holy Inquisition. Today, the palace is now a museum filled with artwork.




11, 2012

Homeschool my kids? Mark your calendars! ... Are you crazy? U.S. Fleet Forces SAPR/Suicide Workshop BY ANN FORREST Secretary, Homeschooling Support Group

Maybe not. Attendance at the first semi-annual talk on Homeschooling in Sigonella was modest but energetic. Homeschooling is not for everyone but for those who have chosen that path it can be an amazing ride. Gretchen Lee, the group's President, summed it up: "Homeschooling is a lifestyle, not just a path to a great education. It's a journey that requires great commitment, but the rewards are limitless." Interestingly, several of the families in attendance had fairly young children and were PCS'ing back to the States very soon. They were investigating homeschooling as an option for their future.

The Homeschooling in Sigonella board is dedicated to assisting families who wish to explore their educational options and continue to receive e-mails from interested parents asking for information. For those who were unable to attend the talk about homeschooling, or have questions throughout the year, please don't hesitate to contact us at m. We would be happy to meet with you and discuss homeschooling as an option for your family. Whatever your educational choice, we hope that April's "Month of the Military Child" was a reminder of the value of the little people in our lives.

May 17 and 18 the U. S. Fleet Forces (USFF) Command will be providing a training workshop intended to provide leadership and program managers with available resources and assistance in implementing OPNAV and USFF requirements in executing Sexual Assault Prevention and Response (SAPR) and Suicide Prevention Policy. Aside from the USFF staff briefing on program and policy changes, Mr. Eric Hipple, outreach specialist and retired NFL Quarterback from the Detroit Lions, will be presenting topics ranging from coping with stress, bystander intervention, and building resiliency. As part of the USFF workshop, stand-up comedian, Bernie McGrenahan "A Comedian with a Message," will be performing on Thursday, May 17 at 2 p.m. in the Midtown Theater.

The workshop schedule is as follows: May 17 from 8 - 11:30 p.m.: COs/XOs/OICs/CMCs installation and tenant leadership, Compass Room 2 - 3 p.m.: All-Hands “Happy Hour” Comedy is the Cure Performance, Bernie McGrenahan, "A Comedian with a Message," Midtown Theater May 18 from 7:30 - 11:30 a.m.: Program Managers (SAPR Victim Advocates/SAPR Points of Contact & Command Liaisons, Substance Abuse Rehabilitation Program coordinators, Drug & Alcohol Program Advisors, as well as Suicide Prevention Coordinators), Compass Room Noon - 2 p.m.: Chaplains, NAS I Chapel 12:30 - 4:30 p.m.: Front Line Supervisors (E5-E9, O1-O4) Base Theater

Wellness Fair, May 19 Want to know more about wellness, prevention and healthy lifestyles? Come to the Wellness Fair, Saturday, May 19 from 10 a.m. - 2 p.m. at the High School Track. Organized by Naval Hospital Sigonella Health Promotion in partnership with the Navy Exchange, DECA and MWR, the Wellness Fair will feature more than 20 organizations from all over the base who will provide healthful information, giveaways, prizes, games and more!

For more information on the USFF workshops and/or the "Happy Hour" comedy show, contact Angela Dooney at the Fleet & Family Support Center, 624-4291.

Asian Pacific American Heritage Month Celebration, May 20

Friday, 11 May 12 *Breakfast: Rolled Oats, Grilled Sausage Patties, Oven Fried Bacon, Asstd Omelets, Eggs to Order, Roasted Potatoes, Waffles, Asstd Doughnuts, Cinnamon Rolls. *Lunch: Chicken Corn Chowder, Baked Fish, Meat Loaf, Paprika Buttered Potatoes, Glazed Carrots, Fried Okra, Spiced Cake w/ Frosting, Crisp Drop Cookies. Speed line: Grilled Cheese/Hamburger, Baked Beans, French Fried Potatoes. *Dinner: Chicken Noodle Soup, Baked Fish W. Cherry Tomato Sauce, Tossed Green Rice, Corn O’Brien, Lima Beans, Spiced Cake w/ Frosting, Crisp Drop Cookies.

Tuesday, 15 May 12 *Breakfast: Hot Farina, Oven Fried Bacon, Asstd Omelets, Grilled Sausage Patties, Eggs to Order, Roasted Potatoes, Waffles, Biscuits and Gravy, Asstd Doughnuts, Blueberry Muffins. * Lunch: Chicken Vegetable Soup, Roast Turkey, Pasta al Forno, Steamed Rice, Mashed Potatoes, Turkey Gravy, Carrots and Orange Amandine, Club Spinach, Fruit Cocktail Upside Down Cake, Oatmeal Cookies. *Speed Line: Roast Beef Sandwich, French Fried Potatoes. Dinner: Zesty Bean Soup, Chicken Quartered, Orange Rice, Southern Greens, Seasoned Mixed Vegetables, Fruit Cocktail Upside Down Cake, Oatmeal Cookies.

Saturday, 12 May 12 *Breakfast: Farina, Grilled Ham Slices, Oven Fried Bacon, Asstd Omelets, Eggs to Order, Roasted Potatoes, Buttermilk Pancakes, Asstd Doughnuts, Crumb Cake. *Brunch: Breakfast Items, Creole Soup, Teriyaki Chicken, Fried Rice, Asparagus, Calico Corn, Cherry Pie, Abracadabra Bars. *Dinner: Vegetable Soup, Baked Lasagna, Steamed Rice, Seasoned Asparagus, Steamed Cauliflower, Garlic Bread, Cherry Pie, and Abracadabra Bars.

Wednesday, 16 May 12 *Breakfast: Rolled Oats, Creamed Ground Beef, Oven Fried Bacon, Asstd Omelets, Eggs to Order, Roasted Potatoes, Blueberry Pancakes, Asstd Doughnuts, Bear Claws. *Lunch: Beef Rice Soup, Baked Fish w/ Cherry Tomato Sauce, Baked Chicken, Garlic Cheese Potatoes, Rice Pilaf, Cauliflower, Brussels Sprouts Polonaise, Cheese Cake, Chocolate Pudding. *Speed Line: Grilled Cheese/Hamburger, Baked Beans, French Fried Potatoes. *Dinner: Cream of Chicken Soup, St. Louis BBQ Pork Ribs, Steamed Rice, Greens Beans Nicoise, Steamed Peas, Cheese Cake, Chocolate Pudding.

Sunday, 13 May 12 *Breakfast: Rolled Oats, Grilled Minute Steak, Oven Fried Bacon, Asstd Omelets, Eggs to Order, Roasted Potatoes, French Toast Puff, Asstd Doughnuts, Italian Croissant. *Brunch: Breakfast Items, Puree Mongole Soup, Cheddar Chicken Broccoli, Onion Rings, Eggplant Ratatouille, Southwestern Rice, Club Spinach, Almond Cake, Crisp Toffee Bars. *Dinner: Chicken Vegetable Soup, Sauerbraten, Spring Garden Rice, Mashed Potatoes, Natural Pan Gravy, Steamed Cut Green Beans, Seasoned Carrots, Almond Cake, Crisp Toffee Bars.

Thursday, 17 May 12 *Breakfast: Hominy Grits, Corned Beef Hash, Oven Fried Bacon, Asstd Omelets, Eggs to Order, Roasted Potatoes, French Toast, Asstd Doughnuts, Raisin Muffins. *Lunch: Corn Chowder Soup, Roast Pork, Chinese Five Spice Chicken, Mashed Potatoes, Brown Gravy, Steamed Rice, Seasoned Carrots, Asparagus, Peanut Butter Cookies, Cherry Pie. *Speed Line: Hot dogs,Chili Macaroni. *Dinner: Minestrone Soup, Salisbury Steak, Ginger Rice, Mexican Corn, Steamed Carrots, Cherry Pie, Peanut Butter Cookies.

Monday, 14 May 12 *Breakfast: Hot Hominy Grits, Minced Beef on Toast, Oven Fried Bacon, Asstd Omelets, Eggs to Order, Roasted Potatoes, French Toast, Asstd Doughnuts, Streusel Coffee Cake. *Lunch: Creamed of Broccoli Soup, Roast Beef, Lemon Baked Fish, Steamed Rice, Mixed Vegetables, Squash, Brownies, Yellow Cake w/ Icing, Fruit Ambrosia. *Speed line: Turkey/Ham & Cheese Sandwich. *Dinner: Vegetable Supreme Soup, Cajun Meatloaf, Rice Pilaf, Brown Gravy, Peas & Onions, Corn on the Cob, Brownies, Yellow Cake w/ Icing, Fruit Ambrosia.

Friday, 18 May 12 *Breakfast: Hot Oatmeal, Grilled Sausage Links, Oven Fried Bacon, Asstd Omelets, Eggs to Order, Roasted Potatoes, Waffles, Asstd Doughnuts, Cinnamon Rolls. *Lunch: Cream of Potato Soup, Breaded Pork Chop, Baked Fish, Tempura Fish, Oven Glo Potatoes, Tossed Green Rice, Seasoned Mix Vegetables, Summer Squash, Oatmeal Raisin Cookies, Chocolate Cake, Vanilla Pudding. Speed Line: Grilled Hamburger/ Cheeseburger, French Fried Potatoes, Baked Beans. *Dinner: French Onion Soup, Chicken Cacciatore, Steamed Rice, Spinach, Cauliflower Polonaise, Oatmeal Raisin Cookies, Chocolate Cake, Vanilla Pudding.



11, 2012

iPod Battle at Connections Forget the battle of the bands. You don’t have a guitar. Forget rap battles. You don’t have the skills. There’s a battle coming to Connections and you already have the gear you need. Create your playlist and let’s go. This is an iPod battle. An iPod battle doesn’t require any talent except to throw down an amazing playlist. If you think you know what it takes to make the crowd go off - this battle is for you. Here’s how it works: Get a team together of two or three people with great taste in music. Put your heads together to create the greatest playlist imaginable. Create a

team name and team costumes that will set you apart and draw attention. As you battle other teams, you’ll have 60 seconds at a time to make the crowd go crazy. You can use any 60 seconds of any track. It can be fast or slow, it doesn’t matter! Keep in mind the more the crowd likes you the louder they’ll be, so don’t be afraid to do anything to get the crowd engaged! After three rounds of 60-second tracks the winner will be determined by applause and will go home with a big prize! Be on the lookout for an iPod Battle and Foam Party coming to Connections soon!


Tuesday, May 15 5:00 PM 5:30 PM 7:30 PM 8:00 PM

John Carter A Thousand Words Silent House Act of Valor

PG-13 PG-13 R R

Wednesday, May 16 5:00 PM 5:30 PM 7:30 PM 8:00 PM

Friday, May 11 No School For Elementary! 2:00 PM Megamind 5:00 PM The Vow 5:30 PM Gone 7:30 PM The Avengers 8:00 PM Silent House

The Avengers Gone Silent House 21 Jump Street

PG FREE PG-13 PG-13 PG-13 R

Thursday, May 17

PG-13 PG PG-13 PG-13 R R

Friday, May 18

5:00 PM 5:30 PM 7:30 PM 8:00 PM

John Carter The Vow Eat Pray Love 21 Jump Street

PG-13 PG-13 R R

PG-13 PG-13 G-13 FREE R

A THOUSAND WORDS….PG-13 STARRING: Eddie Murphy, Cliff Curtis and Kerry Washington

After stretching the truth on a deal with a spiritual guru, literary agent Jack McCall finds a Bodhi tree on his property. Its appearance holds a valuable lesson on the consequences of every word we speak. (1 hr. 31 min.) SILENT HOUSE…….R STARRING: Zac Efron, Taylor Schilling and Blythe Danner

A Marine travels to North Carolina after serving three tours in Iraq and searches for the unknown woman he believes was his good luck charm during the war. (1 hr. 25 min.) THE LUCKY ONE…………...PG-13 STARRING: Elizabeth Olsen, Adam Trese and Eric Sheffer Stevens

Saturday, May 12 2:00 PM 2:30 PM 4:30 PM 5:00 PM 7:30 PM 8:00 PM

John Carter Dr. Seuss’ The Lorax A Thousand Words The Avengers Silent House 21 Jump Street

Sunday, May 13 Meet the Avengers!! 2:00 PM The Avengers 2:30 PM Dr. Seuss’ The Lorax 4:30 PM The Lucky One 5:00 PM John Carter 8:00 PM 21 Jump Street

5:00 PM 5:30 PM 7:30 PM 8:00 PM

The Avengers Wrath of the Titans 21 Jump Street Silent House

PG-13 PG-13 R R

Trapped inside her family's lakeside retreat, a young woman finds she is unable to contact the outside world as events become increasingly ominous in and around the house. (1 hr. 41 min.)

THE VOW…………….…PG-13 STARRING: Rachel McAdams, Channing Tatum and Sam Neill

Saturday, May 19 PG-13 PG PG-13 PG-13 R

2:00 PM 2:30 PM 4:30 PM 5:00 PM 7:30 PM

Mirror Mirror John Carter The Avengers The Lucky One 21 Jump Street

PG PG-13 PG-13 PG-13 R

COMING  SOON: American Reunion, Three Stooges, Bullet To The Head, Lockout, Chimpanzee, Think Like A Man, 5 Year Engagement, Pirates! Band of Misfits, Safe

A car accident puts Paige (McAdams) in a coma, and when she wakes up with severe memory loss, her husband Leo (Tatum) works to win her heart again. (1 hr. 44 min.)

Movie schedule is subject to change. Please call to confirm. Movie Hotline: 624-4248





11, 2012


Find the way!



11, 2012




Did you know? If humans had the metabolism of a hummingbird, they would have to intake 155,000 calories a day. Dolphins, primates, and humans are the only species that recognize themselves in the mirror. In WWII more civilians died than soldiers. The first phone with apps on it was invented in 2004. A 75 year old person will have slept about 23 years. Mosquitos are more attracted to the color blue than any other color.



AUTOMOBILES 1992 teal green Chevy Camaro RS+, asking $6,500 OBO. 25th Anniversary Edition, 95K miles, Runs great, fully loaded, Cragar Mufflers, T-Top, new battery, shocks and brakes. Contact: Joe at 339-21-81-204 1996 Alpha Romero. Asking $6K. V6/Auto/4door/low mileage, excellent body and engine, A/C, electric and heated seats, built-in navigation sys, sub-woofers and 6xCD changer in trunk. Reliable car. Call Jose at 3400646615 or email: for photos.

lock brakes, power brakes, steering, windows, mirrors; A/C, cd/mp3, new front tires, brakes, battery; factory warranty good until May 2014. $9,500. Cell 340-789-1417; email: 1998 white Lancia Delta, $1,800 OBO. 5-speed, 4 door, A/C, electric windows. Runs great. Call Julie at 366257-6311. 1998 BMW 323, V-6, 5 speed manual, 2 door, hatchback, very well maintained. 255K kilometers, runs great coast to coast. $5K. Contact Oliver at 3494005667 or email: FOR SALE

Integra, $4,500. Like new. 107,000 miles, good tires. V-4, A/C, automatic, power steering/windows/locks, cruise control, 2 door hatchback, sun roof. Available June 1. Call Don at 3386523780. Can show Friday after 5 p.m. or Saturday. 2006 BMW 330I, $21K. Like new, 48,500 miles. Brand new 18" 255/225 tires. Fully loaded, V-6, leather interior and power everything! Available now. Call Don at 3386523780. 2007 Ford Focus 2 door hatchback, 50k miles, U.S. SPECS, automatic transmission, 4 cylinder, 2.0 l, anti-

37' Sanyo wide color swivel flat screen TV, 220V (European), Full HD/LCD/3 HDMI, 1080 P, w/ wireless headset system. Paid 700 Euro, asking 500 Euro. Call Jose @ 3400646615 email jose_romeo_diaz@ or for photos. VO LU N T E E R S Sigonella Elementary School is in need of volunteers to help out with field day, Friday, May 18. If you are able to help contact for more information.

PTO board members needed for all positions. Contact current PTO President ElisaThompson ( or PTO teacher representatives, Sallie Davis or ( Cathy Indresano ( Volunteer Assistant Coaches are being sought for Sigonella Middle/ High School. The requirements for assistant coaching are: 1) Previous experience playing/coaching. 2) Commitment of three days per week min. for after school practice, M-F, 35 p.m . 3) Positive relationship skills in working with adults and teenagers. Contact Coach McKown at Sigonella Relay For Life Committee is looking for volunteers to help setup the evening of May 18, work the Relay For Life event on May 19 and break down and clean up after the event on May 20. A general volunteer meeting will be scheduled to discuss the details of the event once there is a sufficient number of volunteers to help make the event successful. If you are interested or have any questions, please send an email to our Publicity Chairman Jacob Balesi at with the date and times that you would be available to volunteer.


SAWS ANIMALS Max, 2 years, male, tuxedo, cat, real mellow and calm house cat, current on shots, microchipped.

11, 2012

Lucky, 4 weeks, male, black, puppy, does well with everyone, seen by a vet but too young for vaccinations.

Gracie, 6 months, female, black, dog, real sweet and friendly with people and other animals, current on shots, microchipped.

Mini, 2 years, medium, female, sandycolored, dog, has some food aggression with some other animals but does fine otherwise especially with older, large male dogs and people, current on shots, microchipped.

Jax, 6 months, female, tortie, cat, friendly with people and gets along with other animals, current on shots, microchipped.

To volunteer, adopt or foster, visit or



11, 2012

Budgeting for a new pet BY CPT ELLIOTT GARBER, DVM, MPH NAS Sigonella Veterinarian

CPT Elliott Garber, DVM, MPH is a veterinarian at the Sigonella Veterinary Clinic. CPT Garber and his team provide full-spectrum medical and surgical care to the military working dogs (MWD) assigned to the security team, ensure the safety of all human food sold and served at Sigonella food service locations and provide basic medical and surgical services to the pets of eligible personnel when time and staffing permit. Today we will continue our series on preparing for a new pet here at Sigonella. As I predicted in my last column, the spring has brought with it an incredible quantity and variety of adorable puppies and kittens in need of new homes. We have all seen them advertised on the Facebook boards, wandering through the narrow cobbled streets of Motta and other nearby towns, and staring imploringly out of pet shop windows. We have already discussed some of the most important questions involved in thinking about taking an animal into our homes, but one essential subject remains: How much is this all going to cost? A new pet requires serious commitments of not only time, energy, and love, but also money. It is difficult to estimate exactly how much any given animal will cost over the course of its life due to extreme variability in size and health status. Just imagine a five pound cat versus a hundred pound cane corso dog, and the different amounts of food they eat on a monthly basis. Or think of a relatively healthy mutt that only requires annual vaccines and a neuter versus a purebred cocker spaniel that has chronic allergies and ear infections requiring prescription diets and lots of visits to the vet. However, we can base our estimates on the average dog or cat and come up with some fairly accurate numbers. Let’s imagine that you have decided to adopt a healthy little puppy that a colleague found on the side of the road on the way to work one day. It looks like it will be a medium-sized dog, about fifty pounds, and it doesn’t have any health problems that you can see. You might be thinking to yourself, “Wow, I’m so lucky to get a free puppy! Even in the states it can cost more than $100 to adopt an animal from a shelter!” You’re right about that, but don’t fool yourself into thinking that you have now avoided the majority of the cost of owning a dog. Like any good new pet owner, you first go out for a big splurge at the NEX or a local pet shop to fully equip

yourself. The new bed, kennel, leash, collar, toys, and treats will cost you at least $200. Then you get a supply of dog food for the first couple of months, and see that your monthly cost will be about $25. You call up the friendly vet clinic on base to make your first appointment. Great! The first visit will only be $35. Oh, but then you need to come back three more times to finish out the puppy vaccines. Plus, you will need a microchip and monthly supplies of preventive medications for heartworms, fleas, and ticks. By the time “Rex” is five months old, you’ve now spent about $300 at the vet, minimum. Fortunately, you are lucky to get a surgery slot the next month to get “Rex” neutered. Based on his size, that surgery will be $235. However, if Rex were larger, or a female, the cost could be more than $300. Congratulations! You have made it through the first year. Even for a totally healthy animal, we can see that the costs of ownership have added up to about $1000. If “Rex” had gotten sick, bitten by a snake, or hit by a car, that could add anywhere from a couple hundred to several thousand dollars to your bill. If you needed to go home to visit family in the states for a couple of weeks, and had to board “Rex” with a friend or local kennel, you could spend another two to three hundred dollars. Now brace yourself for the biggest expense of all: the flight back to the U.S. when it is time to PCS. This cost is quite variable, based on availability of military flights, time of year, and size of your pet. If you are able to get on the Rotator and have a smaller pet, you might only need to pay about $100. If you end up having to pay a commercial pet shipping company, the bill could end up more than $2,000. Don’t get me wrong: I don’t want to scare you from adopting that cute puppy. I do, however, want our community to be aware of the true costs of pet ownership before they make that spur-of-the-moment decision. I will look forward to meeting you and “Rex” at the vet clinic soon!


May 11 issue of The Signature  

In this week’s issue of The Signature, AIMD spouses host Relay for Life fundraising run, The Signature’s own, MR2 Gary Spence takes us on a...

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