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Command Corner

Fellow Allied Joint Force Command Naples members and families:

A lot has already happened during the first months of the current year. While we are preparing for the NATO Response Force 17, our headquarters has conducted its first exercises, coordination meetings and conferences. In order to get ourselves fit and into shape for the command of the enhanced NRF and to prepare for the concept of perpetual standby, it is crucial for us to improve our individual capabilities. To achieve this, I challenge you to broaden your knowledge wherever and whenever you can.

As this issue of the Golden Lion will inform you, there are many opportunities to gain extra experience aside from the Newcomer Orientation Day and Newcomer Training. For everybody who wants to know more about NATO, but was never able to attend a course at the NATO School in Oberammergau, Germany, the Professional Development Program has scheduled two events in September to introduce basic NATO knowledge to our non-commissioned service members.

Additionally, we need to know as much as possible about our fellow warrior sisters and brothers who might deploy some day with us to any remote place on this earth to accomplish the mission of this headquarters. We already had the opportunity to examine the individual equipment provided by the Italian Army to its soldiers; again a big “Thank You!” to the Garibaldi Brigade, Caserta, for their great support. Continuing this line of effort, the German contingent will display their personal kit to the members of JFC Naples in May, and more events like that will follow. What do we know about the nations’ armed forces that provide NATO with troops? We serve alongside members from more than 22 different countries every day, but how are they organized, how do they work compared to our own? We will provide some introductions to the Armies, Navies, and Air Forces of the countries that are represented here at JFC Naples. Our partner countries conduct training events and competitions throughout the year that provide great opportunities for the interested to broaden their horizon. Aside from the Slovenian NCO winter camp about which you can read here today, there are the Croatian Summer Camp and the Croatian Army Best Soldier Competition you can apply for.

Moreover, the Swiss NCO Academy in Lucerne offers NATO accredited leadership courses which former attendees hold in high esteem. Your Directorate Senior NCO Representatives will inform you when and how to apply. I also encourage all of you to seek proactively for opportunities and possibilities to improve and to enhance your experience and education. There are many taskers around with information that might be of interest to you. So go out and hunt the good stuff…because you can!

German Army Command Sgt. Maj. Marcus Meyer



Command Senior Enlisted Leader  JFC Naples




JFC Naples member attends NCO Winter Camp in Slovenia




NAPLES, Italy — When German Army Master Sgt. Pascal Grewe was informed of an upcoming competition for noncommissioned officers, he immediately raised his hand to volunteer.

Grewe was chosen from a group of applicants to represent Allied Joint Force Command Naples at the 9th International NATO and Partners for Peace NCO Winter Camp at Pokljuka, Slovenia, March 11-18.

What Grewe didn’t anticipate was a requirement to be on skis for a good portion of the course. The 33-year-old Paderborn, Germany, native had never skied before.

“I had already raised my arm before I heard it involved skiing,” said Grewe, adding that event organizers assured him that skiing experience wasn’t a necessity to attend the camp. In fact, almost half of the camp members had limited ski experience before arriving in Slovenia.

The 28 NCOS from 12 different nations didn’t just ski during the week-long camp. Although the participants spent time skiing - up and down as no ski lift use was allowed - and also participated in a competition biathlon of skiing and shooting, the course involved a variety of other activities such as leadership and education exercises, mountain survival, rappelling, guest speakers and tours of military museums.

“About 80 percent of the course was outside,” Grewe said. “It was never boring.”

A group of Slovenian NCOs and their counterparts from an Austrian mountaineering brigade were quickly able to ascertain the slope experience of the troops by dividing up the gear, walking up the hill and telling the camp members to go down.

Grewe was able to learn to navigate the hills within a couple of days with the assistance of the NCO instructors and said, with a widening grin, he already has the urge to plan a ski trip.

“When I put everything on, I really liked it,” Grewe said.

Grewe, who works with the Base Support Group’s real life support cell, said he never would have imagined that he, as a 16-year German Army logistics veteran, would be doing biathlons and mountain survival training upon his arrival to JFC Naples in October of 2014.

“If someone would have told me I’d be doing that, I would say he’s a crazy guy,” Grewe said. “I’m living in Italy with the sun, what should I do in the snow?”

The course, Grewe’s second NATO school following his completion of the NCO advanced leadership course in Switzerland, offered much more than snow and mountain skills.

Grewe said he learned a lot about how the NCO structures of different countries operate, and he said he enjoyed learning about all the different jobs the camp participants do regularly in their militaries.

“It’s a great opportunity to see what the militaries of other countries do and to make connections,” Grewe said. “I hope others use the opportunity to go to any NATO schools being offered.”

Grewe said overcoming language barriers through the course’s various exercises was a great skill that NCOs, especially ones working in an international environment, can put in their toolboxes. He also added that the education and benefits of socializing with the other NCOs following each day’s events was as important as the camp’s academic and physical challenges.

“The competition isn’t the main point,” Grewe said.

When asked about his ski skills after a few days on the Slovenian slopes, Grewe said he had an immense sense of self-satisfaction by conquering the unknown, but added there’s still some practice to be done.

“I’m not comfortable enough to call myself a skier yet,” Grewe said.

Story by U.S. Army Staff Sgt. Mark Patton



This Week in History

On April 4, 1949, 12 Allies signed the North Atlantic Treaty. Norway, Denmark, The Netherlands, Belgium, Luxembourg, France, Italy, Portugal, the United Kingdom, Iceland, Canada, and the United States vowed to stand together against aggression - an attack against one would be an attack against all. These core values remain intact today, and the alliance now includes 28 Allies.



On April 1, 1700, pranksters in England began popularizing the annual tradition of April Fools’ Day by playing practical jokes. The day, also referred to as All Fools’ Day, has been celebrated for centuries by different cultures, but its exact origins remain a mystery. Some speculate that April Fools’ Day dates to 1582, when France switched from the Julian calendar to the Gregorian calendar, as called for by the Council of Trent in 1563. People who didn’t get the news or failed to recognize that the start of the New Year had moved to Jan. 1 and continued to celebrate it during the last week of March through April 1 became the target of jokes and pranks. These included unknowingly having paper fish placed on their backs.

Others have linked April Fools’ Day to ancient festivals such as Hilaria, which was celebrated in Rome at the end of March. Hilaria involved people dressing up in disguise. There is also speculation that April Fools’ Day was tied to the vernal equinox, or first day of Spring in the Northern Hemisphere, when Mother Nature fooled people with unpredictable weather.

In Scotland, the tradition became a two-day event, starting with  “hunting the gowk,” in which folks were sent on phony errands (gowk is a word for cuckoo bird, a symbol for fool) and followed by Tailie Day, which involved pranks such as pinning fake tails or placing “kick me” signs on others.

April Fools’ Day spread throughout Britain during the 18th century. In Scotland, the tradition became a two-day event, starting with “hunting the gowk,” in which people were sent on phony errands (gowk is a word for cuckoo bird, a symbol for fool) and followed by Tailie Day, which involved pranks played on people’s derrieres, such as pinning fake tails or “kick me” signs on them.



Event Calendar and NATO Holidays

2016—JFC Naples Fitness Center Schedule

April 8—ISC trip Solfatara by night

April 19—ISC Turkish luncheon

April 22—International Children’s Festival

April 25—NATO Holiday / Italian Liberation Day

June 2—NATO Holiday / Italian Republic Anniversary

Aug. 15— NATO Holiday / Feast of Assumption

Sept. 16—JFC Naples International Food Fest

Oct. 7 — JFC Naples Oktoberfest

Oct. 24—Nov. 2 / Trident Juncture 16 Exercise

Dec. 2—JFC Naples Holiday Tree lighting

Dec. 8 — NATO Holiday / Immaculate Conception

Dec. 26 — NATO Holiday / Granted Day for Christmas Day