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NAPLES, Italy — After a 20-year presence in Sigonella, Sicily, the Navy is moving its Explosive Ordnance Disposal Mobile Unit 8 to Rota, Spain, officials announced Friday.

The move, which involves about 350 sailors and family members, will be done in phases and is expected to be complete by April.

“The biggest reason for the move is because more naval assets go through Rota than Sigonella, so operationally it makes more sense to consolidate,” said Lt. Nathan Potter, a spokesman for Naval Forces Europe. “Also, whenever you move units close to their headquarters there tends to be an increased level of knowledge sharing, training and efficiency.”

The move places the unit with its parent command, Task Force 68, which also includes naval construction, training and security units operating throughout Europe, Africa and the Middle East.

In addition to reducing costs by consolidating staff, equipment maintenance and training, officials said the relocation is expected to increase the unit’s ability to respond to emergent crises because the airfield in Rota operates around the clock, officials said.

Most, if not all of the relocated families will be assigned to base housing in Rota.

novakl@estripes.osd.mil

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