VICENZA, Italy - A dozen Italian professionals from several organizations and units hardly knew how the U.S. Army Garrison Italy AMICI Program would be during their icebreaker back in July 2022.
AMICI, which means “friends” in Italian, stands for American Military Italian Civilian Integration. It is a six-month-long enrichment program created in 2017 for the Italian workforce within Vicenza and Darby military communities. During this period, participants get to know and gain a better understanding of the U.S. Army mission in Italy.
“The AMICI program is fantastic because it shows you the whole organization,” said Elisabetta Bon, one of this year's participants, after her experience at the Jump Tower on Caserma Ederle Feb. 15.
Bon has been working for two years at Travel, Central Processing Facility, where she assists Soldiers during their military moves overseas.
“In your job, you perform your best, but you will never get the vision that you have by participating in this program,” Bon added. She explained that she had the chance to learn about other duties and to meet commanders who tell you firsthand what they think from their point of view.
Before starting this program, each participant did not know how each unit or directorate supported the community.
“Each supporting unit would provide a briefing that would lay out each unit's capabilities and services,” explained AMICI Program Manager Jay Pasion.
In his first year as a manager, he mentioned that this is one of the events he is most proud of.
“It gives our Italian professionals a broader view on why they are important to the garrison. This gives the tenant units the opportunity to brief the AMICI participants and provide a better understanding between both U.S. and Italian civilian and military communities,” he said.
Throughout several activities participants experienced during these past months, the response from each of them has been positive, said Pasion.
Facing some activities has been a challenge. The biggest one was at the 34-foot jump tower where 173rd Infantry Brigade Combat Team “Sky Soldiers” assisted participants in their jump after they toured a static display for weapons and vehicles.
“I'd say that the most challenging event was today’s activity at the jump tower,” said Giovanni Albanese, construction mixed commission specialist with USAG Italy. “This program has a lot of opportunities to get yourself out of the comfort zone, and the jump tower certainly was one of them,” he added.
Albanese also highlighted that this type of experience offers the possibility of sharing stories with all the Soldiers during their daily life.
“Thanks to this program, we have the chance to see the big picture and understand firsthand how we fit in, so we can realize and appreciate how important everybody is in this community and it is a great motivation for us and for everybody,” Albanese said.
After an event in March on Caserma Del Din, all participants will receive a certificate of completion.
“They [participants] will take all information back to their offices, so others can learn from their experiences gained through the program,” said Pasion.