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AVIANO AIR BASE, Italy — A Navy team from Naples is heading north next week to talk with members of the Aviano Air Force community about damaged tires on their personal vehicles.

Navy personnel will review claims filed by about 300 people whose tires were harmed by anti-terrorism devices installed by the base, said Ron Edgington, noncommissioned officer in charge of the air base’s legal office.

The Navy has jurisdiction for such matters across Italy, just as the Army has similar authority in Germany and the Air Force in the United Kingdom.

Base officials said in February that inspections conducted by the 31st Logistics Readiness Squadron had found more than 2,600 tires with some form of damage thought to be caused by those driving their vehicles over the “tire shredders” put in place to prevent vehicles from entering the designated exit lanes from the base. When initial inspections started to reveal a trend, the base deactivated the devices.

Col. Scott Chambers, the 31st Mission Support Group commander, said about 26 percent of the tires inspected had been found to have some damage.

Inspectors rated each tire on the amount of damage, from none to severe.

About 650 people have attended base briefings on how to file a claim about tire damage. Briefings continue every Wednesday.

The Navy team won’t wrap up all claims, because base officials believe that hundreds of potential claims have yet to be made. He said he didn’t know how many claims will be made.

“It’s a difficult number to get at,” Edgington said, “because we probably haven’t seen all of them.”

Navy personnel won’t be accepting new claims, but rather reviewing those already filed, Edgington said.

Base officials said they have heard of no accidents that can be attributed to damaged tires blowing out.

According to a U.S. statute, those who feel they had tires damaged by the shredders have up to two years to file claims from the date they realistically should have known about the damage.

The base has maintained that it won’t be deciding whether to honor the claims. Edgington said it’s possible that those responsible will decide to honor all of the costs of replacing the damaged tires, pay some of the costs or none at all.

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Kent has filled numerous roles at Stars and Stripes including: copy editor, news editor, desk editor, reporter/photographer, web editor and overseas sports editor. Based at Aviano Air Base, Italy, he’s been TDY to countries such as Afghanistan Iraq, Kosovo and Bosnia. Born in California, he’s a 1988 graduate of Humboldt State University and has been a journalist for almost 38 years.
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