Navy rethinking change to Naples alcohol policy
A policy change letting teens and young adults buy beer and wine on the military base in Naples, Italy, has lived a short life.
After getting wind of the recent change — which would have let civilians and military dependents buy alcohol on base at age 18 instead of age 21 — senior Navy leaders ordered a rethink of the idea.
So, Rear Adm. Michael Groothousen, commander of Navy Region Europe, acting on orders of a “higher authority,” rescinded the policy change Friday, and ordered it reviewed, said Scott Campbell, a spokesman for Navy Region Europe.
“We want to make sure that we have the right policy,” Campbell said.
Capt. Floyd Hehe, commanding officer of Naval Support Activity Naples, announced at a Sept. 18 town hall meeting that he had decided to lower the purchase age for beer and wine for dependents and civilians, bringing them more in line with regulations governing their active-duty counterparts.
Active-duty sailors can buy beer and wine at age 18; and dependent teens and young adults already are going out in the town to buy alcohol, where there are no age controls on the purchase of alcohol.
Lowering the age restrictions to let them purchase and consume alcohol on base gives officials and parents “at least some kind of oversight, some kind of safety and security for dependents,” Hehe reasoned.
Officials want to make sure that modifying the age for the purchase of beer and wine — be it from the Navy Exchange mini-mart or the Irish pub on base — is necessary and doesn’t place the teens and young adults at risk, Campbell said.
Hehe said Friday he’ll notify his commanding officers and senior enlisted leadership of the overturned policy.
Groothousen has not indicated how long the policy review should take.