Sailors assigned to Patrol Squadron NINE (VP-9) and U.S. Naval Forces Europe Detachment Maritime Ashore Support Team (CNE DET MAST) were recognized for their participation in community relations (COMREL) projects during an awards ceremony in Motta Sant’ Anastasia, Sicily, May 16.
Dr. Angelo Giuffrida, the mayor of Motta Sant’ Anastasia, presented Cmdr. Katrina Hill, commanding officer of VP-9, and Lt. Cmdr. Daniel Elsass, officer in charge of CNE DET MAST, with a certificate of appreciation for a school painting project Jan. 31 and a Motta sports field beautification project March 14.
“We are eternally grateful for the involvement of the Sailors,” said Giuffrida during his opening remarks. “This might seem like just a volunteer occasion to you, but to us it means building positive rapport with the American militaries.”
The opportunity to volunteer is valued by both Sailors and Sicilians. Some military members said they gain an appreciation for the community and importance of their contribution by volunteering for COMRELs.
“During my time here in Italy, the community relation projects I’ve participated in helped establish and maintain a mutually valuable relationship with the local residents of Sicily,” said Yeoman 1st Class Eduardo Clemente.
VP-9 is forward deployed to the U.S. 6th Fleet area of responsibility and is currently assigned to CTF 67, responsible for tactical control of deployed maritime patrol and reconnaissance squadrons throughout the European and African areas of responsibility.
Press Release, May 29, 2014; Image: vp9.navy.mil