Support our mission
Raffaele Sansone, 52, serves up a plate of pasta Wednesday at the "Ciao Hall" dining facility at the Capodichino base in Naples, Italy. The facility is slated to close on Sept. 28, a move that means roughly 50 Italian contractors could be out of a job, including Sansone, who has worked there for 18 years.

Raffaele Sansone, 52, serves up a plate of pasta Wednesday at the "Ciao Hall" dining facility at the Capodichino base in Naples, Italy. The facility is slated to close on Sept. 28, a move that means roughly 50 Italian contractors could be out of a job, including Sansone, who has worked there for 18 years. (Sandra Jontz / S&S)

NAPLES, Italy — The Navy will shut the “Ciao Hall” dining facility at the Capodichino base after officials determined that too few sailors use it and that costs to keep it running weren’t justified by the number of patrons.

As a result of the closing, some 30 sailors will see a boost in their paychecks, while 40 Italian contractors stand to lose their jobs. The facility is to close on Sept. 28, officials said.

The sailors, who live in the barracks, no longer will be on a meal pass, and instead will collect commuted rations — better known as COMRATS — a $278 month subsidy, said Lt. John Leitner, the officer-in-charge of Naples’ Personnel Support Detachment. Of the 326 sailors who live in Capodichino’s barracks, fewer than 30 receive “rations-in-kind,” or meal passes.

Navy Installations Command’s criteria for whether to keep dining facilities include one in which galleys offer a minimum of 100 rations-in-kind, said Chris Robus, the regional Morale Welfare and Recreation program director.

It costs the Navy about $2 million to maintain the Naples galley. Overall costs to serve a meal equaled about $27 a person. Lunch, the most popular meal served, costs patrons $3.55.

On average, 110 patrons eat breakfast at the galley; 20 of them are on meal passes. For lunch, the numbers are 245, with 27 on passes, and for dinner, they are 33 with 17 passes.

“Given the low number of sailors on RIK (rations-in-kind,) keeping the galley open is not cost-effective,” said Lt. Cmdr. Wendy Snyder, a spokeswoman for Navy Region Europe.

The Italian employees who are losing their jobs say they feel abandoned by the Navy.

Raffaele Sansone said that at 52, he has little hope of finding employment after he loses his job as a food server.

“I’ll be in the middle of the street, begging,” said Sansone, who held the job for 18 years.

“This is Naples, and here there is no work,” said Biagio Constanzo, 48, who has worked at the galley for 19 years. “More than 40 families will be on the streets, and that’s not good.”

People who live and work at Capodichino have other on-base dining options.

The Capo Landing, which serves hamburgers, Greek food, Italian food and Italian oven-baked pizza, will expand its seating capacity from 125 to 488, including outdoor seating, after the galley closure. It also will serve breakfast and dinner.

The base has a Subway sandwich shop and a Navy Exchange shoppette.

Seaman Apprentice Brad Huebner, 19, said he already has plans for the extra money he’ll receive once the COMRATS kick in, which will show up in sailors’ paychecks Oct. 15.

“That’s more money than we’d normally be getting and it’s good. If you go out in town, you spend less than that, and you have some left over.”

How will he spend the left over?

“I need new uniforms.”


Stripes in 7



around the web


Sign Up for Daily Headlines

Sign-up to receive a daily email of today’s top military news stories from Stars and Stripes and top news outlets from around the world.

Sign up