Subscribe

NAPLES, Italy — Hey sailors — take the stairs. That’s an order.

The skipper of Naval Support Activity Naples, Capt. Floyd Hehe, has put out an edict: If you work for him and you’re in uniform, you’re not to take the elevators.

But it’s not to trim bulging waistlines.

Faced with budgetary shortfalls, Cmdr. Jeff Hicks, director of the base’s public works department, started thinking creatively to save money.

One solution: If all of the roughly 2,600 active-duty personnel, and half of the roughly 1,400 civilians in all the commands in Naples took the stairs instead of elevators, it would amount to a savings of $43,219 in a work year of 200 days.

“If we can save money and have our sailors burn a few extra calories at the same time, where’s the harm?” asked base executive officer Cmdr. Jeff Jackson. “My favorite is watching the people who come back from the gym and take the elevators.”

But there is common sense built into the policy, Jackson said. If you’re sick, wounded or carrying bulky bags of the office’s mail, you’re permitted a ride.

The average trip for an elevator at the Capodichino base in Naples is two floors with the cars returning to the ground floor after ferrying passengers, Hicks said. “That’s like four floors for every movement of the car. It all adds up.”

He started a no-elevator policy five months ago for his Seabees, but for physical fitness motives, reasoning that healthy, young sailors have no need to use elevators.

Hehe’s edict is in place solely for NSA command sailors. “But we’re plowing outwards and ... asking other commanders to do the same thing with their commands,” Hicks said. “I don’t know how many will buy off on it.” There are more than 70 tenant commands operating out of the Capodichino base.

All the bases in Navy Region-Europe are tightening financial belts, he said. As it stands, the region is projecting a $4.8 million shortfall for utilities.

That means some projects, such as renovations or maintenance upgrades, might have to be postponed toward the end of the fiscal year, Hicks said.

“We’ll use the money we have to pay the bills we have to pay, but we’ll have to take it from something else,” he said.

Base officials are asking people to be smart about energy conservation, such as turning off lights when they’re not needed, Jackson said. The base also has started removing light bulbs from certain buildings if lower lighting is sufficient to meet safety standards, Jackson said.

“In the utilities area, that’s where we’re taking a hit,” Jackson said. “We’re reaching for the low-hanging fruit, the simple ways to save. … If we don’t do the simple things, other things can get pretty hard.”

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