When Lewis Eisenberg's nomination as U.S. Ambassador to Italy and San Marino was confirmed earlier this summer, he said he promised himself to make the U.S. military here a top priority and to visit bases as soon as possible after his arrival in Rome.

Eisenberg visited U.S. Army Garrison Italy's Caserma Ederle and Del Din Dec. 5 and Camp Darby near Pisa Dec. 13. The ambassador visited Naples in mid- November, where he met NATO Joint Force Command Commander Admiral James Foggo at the headquarters in Lago Patria. There he heard a command brief on U.S. basing in southern Italy and Command in Naples.

"I have made it a priority in this assignment to visit all of the U.S. military installations in Italy. The work that these men and women are doing is critical to U.S. and Italian security, and that of the entire NATO alliance. It has also been great to see the level of support we are getting from Italy -- not only at the national level, but also at the local level," said Eisenberg.

CLOSE UP LOOK AT INFRASTRUCTURE AND HOUSING

The ambassador began his visit to Vicenza-based Army units with a senior leaders' lunch at the Caserma Del Din dining facility.

Afterwards, he met senior leaders from USAG Italy, U.S. Army Africa, 173rd Airborne Brigade, 207th Military Intelligence Brigade, and 414th Contracting Support Brigade during a walking tour of the facilities. Each leader had the opportunity to share their unit's mission, challenges and future outlooks.

"Anytime we have the opportunity to talk to an ambassador is valuable to me as a leader," said Col. Erik M. Berdy, commander, USAG Italy. "Our objective was to make sure he understood the installation's mission requirements, the top readiness and power projection requirements for the garrison, and the great support we get from our host nation partners. His interest and the questions he asked all the leaders made it clear to me that we have support from our embassy team."

Eisenberg also visited Villaggio Housing Area, home to Army families. There, the ambassador walked through a home typically assigned to a junior enlisted Soldier and his/ her family. Before leaving Vicenza, he recorded a message for military members in Italy that will air during the holidays on American Forces Network Vicenza radio.

A LOOK AT LOGISTICS

A week after visiting units in Vicenza, Eisenberg traveled to Camp Darby near Pisa. Camp Darby, part of USAG Italy, directly facilitates Army logistics and sustainment missions for U.S. Transportation Command and Army Material Command, as well as U.S. Air Force munitions operations.

Before stopping there, the ambassador and Consul General Ben Wolhauer in Florence met with the mayors and prefects in Pisa and Livorno to discuss local economic and security issues.

"The ambassador visited the U.S. Air Force's 731st Munitions Squadron and the 839th Transportation Battalion that services as the single port manager for more than 180 seaports in 22 countries around the Mediterranean Sea," said Camp Darby Deputy Garrison Manager Catherine Miller.

"We also took him to visit the 405th Army Field Support Battalion-Italy at nearby Leghorn Army Depot. I think he left here with a much better understanding of the value of these installations and the incredible Italian- American partnership that supports military operations in Europe, Africa and the Middle East."

According to U.S. Embassy Rome, the ambassador is on track to visit all the U.S. military installations in Italy within his first 150 days of arriving in country.