December 8, 2022

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2008. 35 years later, the American era ends in the Madeleine archipelago

US Army Departure from La Madeleine on January 25, 2008

The site where more than 20,000 American soldiers were staying was demolished

LA Madeleine. 12.30 pm. Gregory Billy, Commander of the U.S. Navy Support Operation, Alla Madeleine, issues orders to lower the flags. Until a few minutes ago, the Italians and the Americans shook close. La Madeleine welcomed Americans on January 1, 1973. He also saw them leaving on January 25, 2008. The NSA “Discount Ceremony” is celebrated on a sunny morning. The archipelago will no longer be a support base for US Navy submarines. “Special of 35 years”, reads the farewell brochure. “The End of an Extraordinary Era”.

Closes a page of history. Tears and emotion. The Mamali Anthem and the American Anthem The Star-Spongled Banner. First one, then another. La Madeleine’s unauthorized officers parade the school’s students with two flags, standing in front of 500 guests who arrived via Princip Amedeo. There are civil, military, and religious officials. Commanders of the Naval Support Operation on the Platform were Captain Gregory Billy and Rear Admiral Michael Grouthawn of the European Fleet of the U.S. Navy. And there are those who can’t help but shed tears. It is useless to hide.

The emotion is clearly visible in the air. Groothhousen rightly defined yesterday as “a bitter farewell ceremony”. Because it is true that Americans go home. But it is equally true that the island was a safe haven for all the ships, the more than twenty thousand Americans who had the opportunity to call La Madeleine “home.” During these 35 years, Marines lived in the city, made friends, went to schools, and visited amazing beaches. “The decision we celebrate today _ begins Captain Gregory Billy _ was very different from the idea I had when I arrived two and a half years ago, and the prospects of the U.S. Navy when I was in La Madeleine in November 2004. However, one day leaving the island was inevitable. The success of planning and closing the site so quickly and efficiently is a testament to the skill, professionalism and hard work of the NSA’s military and civilian personnel.

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The Madeleine base has provided support to numerous support ships, units of the 6th Fleet and NATO Operations Forces, as well as soldiers stationed on the island and their families. “Team La Madeleine” was also an effective foreign policy tool because it implemented programs to promote positive relations between the American and Italian communities. But above all, the island played a strategically important role for NATO operations in the US Navy and in the Mediterranean during and after the Cold War. Winning team spirit. From the podium Admiral Grouthawn described Italy as a “reliable and loyal ally”. Something strong. Unity in the fight against terrorism in the Middle East. But he warned: “We can never take our relationship with Italy for granted.”

Then silence. The time for decline has come. This is a very moving moment. The flags are first lowered and then folded. Admiral of Marisartechna Ermenegildo Ugasy is getting ready to get the “paper” with the stars and lines. American Rear Admiral Grouthausen does the same on the tricolor. An exchange that further strengthens the friendship between the two countries. The Blessing Ceremony of Monsignor Sebastiano Cunningham concludes. Gregory thanked the Bishop of Billy Tempio. His, yesterday morning, main presence. When an era comes to an end, prayer is essential. That is what the Americans said when they called them the “Eternal Father” to guide them further into the future.

“Traditionally – the Navy’s top officials explained – we always celebrated two ceremonies. One solution that brings hope, rather one closure that marks the end of an era with the qualifications of the men and women who contributed to achieving the goals.” The work of the Americans in La Madeleine was “accomplished.” Still tears. Recommended scenario. “The United States Navy will always be grateful to you,” concludes Admiral Translator Muffleda Trova. Instead, he wants to address the most beautiful words in his uncertain Italian, “to the men and women of the archipelago.” And the best option can be only one: “Calm sea and sea breeze.”

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