By Anna Ciccotti, IMCOMMarch 5, 2013
VICENZA, Italy (March 5, 2013) -- The first building of the new Del Din installation is now 100 percent complete, and was officially delivered to the Vicenza garrison, Feb. 22.
"I am going to keep my opening remarks here today very, very short and that's because I have done very, very little on this project," said Col. David W. Buckingham, USAG Vicenza Garrison commander, addressing the project team gathered to witness the official completion of the first of 31 buildings that make up the Del Din complex.
"And I have done very little because each one of you has done so much," he said.
Far from being an official ceremony, the occasion provided the garrison leadership an opportunity to recognize not only its own staff but especially the Navy personnel and contractors who have been directly involved with the project over the past five years.
Stepping aside, Buckingham opened the floor to those individuals who, each in their own way, did their part to make it happen.
Buckingham first introduced the construction's senior project manager as the "godfather of the Dal Molin-Del Din, Kambiz Razzaghi," who is presently director of Public Works for the garrison and the previous chief of the Transformation Construction Management Office, or TCMO, in charge of Del Din program execution.
"This is one massive project which has been done so perfectly with everyone working together," Razzaghi said. "There are so many people who have contributed to this project that are not here with us today because they have moved on or are working other projects. I wish they were here to celebrate with us, but I know they are here in their spirit."
Razzaghi thanked TCMO and Navy personnel, the contractor, the commander, the previous commanders and "all those people who supported us to make this dream a reality."
Anna Ciccotti of the garrison Public Affairs Office was introduced by the garrison commander and recognized for her role in "shepherding us in the sometimes challenging Italian political situation."
"It has been an amazing project to work with, and an absolute privilege to be part of this team and share today's success," Ciccotti said.
"It is an exciting day for the Vicenza Military community," said Cmdr. Andrew Hascall, the Navy resident officer in charge of construction, on whose shoulders rested the responsibility for managing the single largest Military Construction project the Army has ever built in Italy.
"There is a lot of hard work by a lot of people finally coming to fruition," Hascall said. "Today we are ready to turn over the first of the facilities necessary to accommodate the Soldiers returning from Afghanistan. Over the next two months, we will finish the rest on our way to opening the base in the second half of the year."
Hascall recognized the exceptional challenges Del Din's prime contractor, Joint Venture CMC-CCC, overcame in designing and constructing a multiple facility complex basically from scratch. The task has not been an easy one, he said.
"The magnitude of the project has been our greatest challenge. Building an entire base is not something any of us have experience doing. We've all built one or two buildings at a time, but never 31 simultaneously," Hascall said.
Dealing with the wide range of complexity involved can be very difficult, and tasks can seem overwhelming, Hascall said. Even if things have not gone perfectly, "the contractors are good people with a professional staff who are committed getting this right."
And they succeeded, he said.
Buckingham introduced Francesco De Simoni, who spoke on behalf of Joint Venture CMC-CCC.
"I would like to thank everybody because, apart from the purely technical aspects, I think each of us has put something more into this project," De Simoni said. He lauded the team for committing personal effort and 100 percent of their energy, enthusiasm and dedication.
Dave Ott, Human Resource director, spoke next about the challenges of identifying system requirements and essential services needed to operate the base, from running a new post office to opening a fitness center, sharing an idea of the diversity of efforts involved in bringing the project toward completion.
"From the perspective of the customer, you all were great," said Ott. "There were some extremely minor things that we were trying to get done as well as some big things. And you all never said, 'No, it's too late.' Instead you said, 'We will see what we can do. Give us the details. And all the way you went.'"
Hascall then presented Buckingham with a giant replica of the Common Access Card, which will be used to access all doors on post, to signify the turnover of the first building to U.S. Army custody.
"Even though I am in the Army and I don't have any ships, the Navy here helped build the buildings so we are going to keep their tradition and christen the new barracks," said Buckingham.
Susan Wong, chief of TCMO, met this additional challenge as godmother of the project, breaking a bottle of prosecco as tradition requires to symbolically "launch" the new building.
"This marks the reality of years of planning and design," said Wong, who has been a major player on the project from conception through design and construction.
"To see it now, having grown from a sleepy hollow to a vibrant college-like post is amazing. The transformation it went through over the past few years is a reflection of the hard work and dedication of all those involved, military and civilians, Italians and Americans," Wong said.
Buckingham summed up the dedication with final remarks on behalf of the "Sky Soldiers" for whom the Del Din base has been built and who will be soon moving in.
"I am really proud of what you have done here for the paratroopers of the 173rd Airborne Brigade Combat Team," said Buckingham, himself a paratrooper. "Thank you all."
Soldiers assigned to Del Din can look forward to moving to their new barracks soon.