HomeNewsFeaturesDisplay

Camp Darby Airmen help Italian veterans

In the spirit of Rosie the Riveter, Airman 1st Class Jennifer Reiff concentrates on prepping a wall for painting during a volunteer effort to refurbish an Italian veterans hall in Livorno, Italy.  Airman Reiff is with the 31st Munitions Squadron at nearby Camp Darby.   (U.S. Air Force photo/Joyce Costello)

In the spirit of Rosie the Riveter, Airman 1st Class Jennifer Reiff concentrates on prepping a wall for painting during a volunteer effort to refurbish an Italian veterans hall in Livorno, Italy. Airman Reiff is with the 31st Munitions Squadron at nearby Camp Darby. (U.S. Air Force photo/Joyce Costello)

Airmen replaster a wall during a volunteer effort to refurbish an Italian veterans hall in Livorno, Italy.  The Airmen are with the 31st Munitions Squadron at nearby Camp Darby.   (U.S. Air Force photo/Joyce Costello)

Airmen replaster a wall during a volunteer effort to refurbish an Italian veterans hall in Livorno, Italy. The Airmen are with the 31st Munitions Squadron at nearby Camp Darby. (U.S. Air Force photo/Joyce Costello)

Paint chips fly as Airman 1st Class David Dearstone scrapes a wall during a volunteer effort to refurbish an Italian veterans hall in Livorno, Italy.  Airman Dearstone is with the 31st Munitions Squadron at nearby Camp Darby.   (U.S. Air Force photo/Joyce Costello)

Paint chips fly as Airman 1st Class David Dearstone scrapes a wall during a volunteer effort to refurbish an Italian veterans hall in Livorno, Italy. Airman Dearstone is with the 31st Munitions Squadron at nearby Camp Darby. (U.S. Air Force photo/Joyce Costello)

Airmen from the 31st Munitions Squadron at Camp Darby, Italy, and veterans of the Italian Folgore Parachutist Brigade take a break during the refurbishing of the Associazione Nazionale Paracadutisti D'Italia meeting hall in nearby Livorno. (U.S. Air Force photo/Joyce Costello)

Airmen from the 31st Munitions Squadron at Camp Darby, Italy, and veterans of the Italian Folgore Parachutist Brigade take a break during the refurbishing of the Associazione Nazionale Paracadutisti D'Italia meeting hall in nearby Livorno. (U.S. Air Force photo/Joyce Costello)

Staff Sgt. Ivan Vallejo prepares to remove a bulletin board during a volunteer effort to refurbish an Italian veterans hall in Livorno, Italy.  Sergeant Vallejo is with the 31st Munitions Squadron at nearby Camp Darby.   (U.S. Air Force photo/Joyce Costello)

Staff Sgt. Ivan Vallejo prepares to remove a bulletin board during a volunteer effort to refurbish an Italian veterans hall in Livorno, Italy. Sergeant Vallejo is with the 31st Munitions Squadron at nearby Camp Darby. (U.S. Air Force photo/Joyce Costello)

CAMP DARBY, Italy (AFPN) -- They are separated by generations and age, they don't wear the same uniform and they don't even speak the same language, but the 31st Munitions Squadron Airmen here and veterans of the Italian Folgore Parachutist Brigade were bought together with the common goal of refurbishing the Italian veterans hall.

Master Sgt. James Poole, the 31st MUNS first sergeant, was looking for a way to get his troops involved in the local community, build bonds and express gratitude to the host nation. He discovered that Associazione Nazionale Paracadutisti D'Italia, the Italian equivalent of the Veterans of Foreign War organization in the U.S., was looking for strong bodies to help repair their building in the center of Livorno, a port town on the Tyrrhenian Sea.

"I believe that helping people is an internal desire we all have and by providing this opportunity to volunteer to my Airmen, they could venture out in the community and make a difference," said Sergeant Poole. "I am proud of the Airmen who came forward to help out; it speaks volumes about their character."

On the first day, when the troops arrived on the scene, they did an assessment to decide what tasks could be tackled and what repairs were feasible.

One young Airman noticed a bulletin board bolted into a cement wall and asked if they should leave it and paint around it or remove it and re-plaster the wall.

"Let's remove it, we've got plaster," responded two other enthusiastic Airmen. 

As the days passed, the Airmen scrapped away layers of paint; behind the economic flat white was a golden yellow belying of a different time. Layer upon layer, the Airmen sweated and toiled until they reached dark, grey crumbling cement. 

Covered in paint specks and dusts, Senior Airman Gregory Skidmore said he was glad to get out into the local community and make a difference.

"When you get to volunteer, to help others in a foreign country, you get to see things that you wouldn't normally see," said Airman Skidmore. "I never thought about there being organizations like the VFW in other countries. My wife, who is Italian, was happy and surprised that I was having this opportunity to lend a hand of friendship during the course of a normal work week."

Airman 1st Class Jennifer Reiff added that she had been stationed in Italy for two years and it felt great to her to be able to contribute to fellow vets in her host nation.

"Coming here and helping really raised my morale and makes me glad to able to serve my county and help out others," said Airman Reiff.

Italian Brig. Gen. Salvatore Iacono, president of the Livorno ANP branch, expressed his heartfelt thanks to the Airmen for their hard work and restoration efforts.

"Work of this nature has a cost, and our association doesn't have profits to cover this; so we really appreciate all of the work, time and exertion the Airmen have done this week," said General Iacono. "I was the Italian base commander of Camp Darby from 2000 to 2002, and I am glad to see that there's continued good will cooperation between American and Italian NATO allies."

Also appreciative was the commander of the 31st MUNS, Lt. Col. Tammy Cobb. 

"This really shows you what type of people we having serving in our Air Force," said Colonel Cobb as she surveyed the work of her Airmen. "Not only did these fine, young Airmen volunteer to serve their country, they volunteered to come out to do hard work for 'comrades in arms' and fellow veterans."

Comment on this story   (comments may be published on Air Force Link)

View the comments/letters page

Engage

Facebook Twitter
8 of the surviving #Apollo #Astronauts got together for the 50th anniversary of the #moonlanding. @NASAhttps://t.co/szPJHXupa1
RT @HQUSAFEPA: Gen. Goldfein, during his keynote address at the 2019 Chief of the Air Staff's Air and Space Power Conference said the follo…
.@WrightPattAFB opened a #cyberdefense facility for #USAF Life Cycle Management Center's Fighters & Bombers Directo… https://t.co/QibdORLX2q
RT @GenDaveGoldfein: Our asymmetric advantage is represented in this room. It is all of us working together on a common cause. Great to see…
.@AFResearchLab supports @AFThunderbirds w/cutting-edge aerospace #technology. From G-suits, custom earpieces, fly-… https://t.co/HJ07fLg2aP
Operating from rough dirt strips, the #C130 Hercules is capable of transporting & airdropping troops & equipment in… https://t.co/c4vsC76vRX
Tune into @TheWilsonCenter July 18, 2019 at 8:05 a.m. (EDT) to hear #USAirForce Lt. Gen. Bussiere, @USNorthernCmd A… https://t.co/M2LTH8wpx5
.@DMAFB #Airmen traveled more than 1700 miles to save two critically injured Mexican fishermen onboard the Mazatun… https://t.co/tcTnNPC8Zj
RT @KadenaAirBase: #ICYMI: #TeamKadena will be activating a new special operations squadron for the operation and maintenance of the #CV22
#OTDIH, The B-2 Spirit's inaugural test flight happened from Palmdale to @EdwardsAFB, #California. The B-2 Spirit i… https://t.co/bS7ODGlxsP
.@HAFB #Airmen conduct #F35 missions while temporary assigned to @366FW. This is the largest off-station F-35A Li… https://t.co/KlbXq7jBLg
RT @MacDill_AFB: CSM John W. Troxell has our #TotalForce team here at MacDill feeling empowered! 😎💪 Thanks for visiting our service members…
.@NellisAFB plans to roll out shorts for maintenance technicians to wear on the flight line in the scorching Nevada… https://t.co/fcavaNG112
⚡️ “RAF Lakenheath breaks ground on future F-35 infrastructure” by @usairforce https://t.co/wiOjMMONZD
.@48FighterWing hosted a groundbreaking ceremony for the new #F35 infrastructure at Royal Air Force Lakenheath,… https://t.co/nOmLeR1egG
🗣Calling all #Milwaukeeans! #USAF Captain Curtis Hinca calls #Milwaukee home & is an Air Force Prosecutor… https://t.co/0LqvQdCUqm
RT @ValerieInsinna: Here’s a little bonus footage of @GenDaveGoldfein taxiing before his a ride in @FinnishAirForce F/A-18s. Read the story…
.@NellisAFB, Staff Sgt. Kenneth Delongchamp saved lives during the shooting at the Route 91 Harvest Festival.… https://t.co/GJygss6FBZ
RT @PACAF: Airmen from around the @usairforce tested themselves in the Small Unit Ranger Tactics course at the @25ID #LightningAcademy. #Ai
The latest roundup of the best #AirForce photos is out. See them here: https://t.co/0w3MNpiixe