Sardinians Saying "Ciao"?
Interesting LA Times article (another copy of the article, less likely to require registration, is here) about how some people, including local leaders, would like to see the U.S. submarine base in La Maddalena (a small Italian island just off Sardinia) closed down. This base was the scene of USS Hartford's grounding in 2003, the only real time recently that American subs there have made the news. And why do they want the Americans out?
"The real issue for us is, after 30 years, we still have an American base here in our archipelago. Is that necessary?" Sardinia's regional president, Renato Soru, said in an interview in Cagliari, the capital city at the opposite end of the island from La Maddalena.
For too long, Soru said, Sardinia has borne the brunt of this military presence, and it's time for other parts of the world to do their share. Moreover, he said, repairing and resupplying nuclear subs in a pristine area of national parks is dangerously inappropriate.
It is not that Sardinians don't like Americans, he insisted. It is a matter of national sovereignty.
"We love American tourists, entrepreneurs, professors…. We are good friends with the U.S.," Soru said. "But would you want a nuclear submarine next to your house?"
I would... but that's probably a minority view with most people. Anyway, it's a pretty good article, and worth a read. I was especially interested to see an update on my old CO from USS Connecticut, Capt. Fritz Roegge, who is, as far as I know, finishing up his tour as Commodore of Subron 22 over there. (The article describes him as "commander of the Naval Support Activity", which I'm pretty sure is a different job than Subron 22; however, he might very well be wearing both hats.)
In other USS Connecticut news: I see they gave out this year's USS Connecticut scholarships (registration req'd); also, I found this web page with a picture of the classic "USS Connecticut GI Joe Crewman"; I've got one stashed away somewhere in the original box...