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NAPLES, Italy — Some sailors living in the barracks at the Capodichino base at Naval Support Activity Naples could lose the extra cash they’ve been collecting to help offset food costs, officials said.

Commands are sweeping through lower enlisted sailors’ personnel records to make sure recipients of commuted rations, better known as COMRATS, are in fact entitled to receive the additional monthly pay, said Chief Petty Officer John Dillon, the base administrative department’s leading petty officer.

Sailors who lose their COMRATS also will see a cut in their cost-of-living allowance, or COLA, since the two subsidies are related, Dillon said.

“We’re making sure everyone is getting what they are fully entitled to, but not getting something they are not entitled to,” Dillon said.

Those who aren’t entitled to the subsidy will get a meal pass instead, which means they don’t have to pay for breakfast, lunch or dinner when eating at the military dining facility, which at Naples is called the “Ciao Hall.”

The eligibility review came about because of tough financial times, and a looming threat that the dining facility might close, Dillon said.

And in his weekly message, base commanding officer, Capt. Floyd Hehe, warned of more cuts to come.

“Folks, there are tough times coming. We’re having to look down the barrel of some pretty significant cuts in the way we do business and some of these things we consider business as usual may evaporate,” Hehe wrote in the base newspaper.

The supplement helps servicemembers defray the cost for meals if they don’t have regular access to military dining facilities.

Those who qualify for the $272 monthly pay — the same amount regardless of rank and years in service — include those who live off base, work when dining facilities might be closed, or live on one base and work at another. The COLAs, however, are calculated based on rank and time in service.

Sailors who live in the barracks and have access to at least two meals provided at a dining facility won’t qualify, Dillon said. But they will collect $41 a month, called “barracks COMRATS,” Dillon said.

The exact number of sailors who might be affected is not yet known since Dillon is reviewing more than 200 waiver requests. Commands can request waivers for sailors who can’t get to the dining facility, such as people who work nights. COMRATS won’t be cut off before sailors have a chance to enroll on the meal plan.

Dillon expects final decisions to be made by Aug. 1.

There are currently 346 single sailors at the Capodichino barracks. Of those, 50 receive a meal pass. Sailors who live in the support site barracks in Gricignano will continue to collect COMRATS since there is no military dining facility there.

Young sailors who were told they will be affected are upset by the news.

“This is basically going to make me poor,” said Petty Officer 3rd Class Erin Kennedy, 20, who heard that she may lose roughly $500 a month via e-mail from her chain of command.

Many sailors in Naples don’t opt to eat on base, especially dinner, said Petty Officer 2nd Class William Dycus. “I mean, we’re living in Italy. Who would want to eat American food?”


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