“They are grateful, but don’t need it,” said Reinert, a 15-year member of the US Navy, said. “So from the standpoint of faith, I went to the universe to call me to something where I felt I could contribute.”
Two days later, on March 26, the Navy Reserve called for him with the opportunity to help the Navy’s Sixth Fleet in Naples, Italy, by leading a crisis communication team. Its presence will enable the regular team to carry out its standard tasks without being constrained by the crisis. He has four hours to decide.
“The call from the Pentagon is not what I had in mind, but that is sort of what I did there,” he said.
A year ago this month, Reinert had returned to Duluth from Afghanistan and his first overseas placement. There is a battle terrible and eye opening.
So far in Italy, he has been quarantined at a base adjacent to the Naples airport – a place that is no different from arrangements at the Duluth Air National Guard Base, he said.
From the flight ending, which required 18 different itineraries in an ever-changing travel environment, Reinert pulled down to Rome. The plane is crowded.
“My feeling is that Italians from all over the world are trying to get him home,” he said. “We landed and the plane erupted, cheering, singing and clapping. It was a very emotional moment. “
Italy is one of the countries hardest hit by the COVID-19 pandemic, with 17,127 reportedly dead until Tuesday. Even with limited exposure to the outside world, he paid close attention to strict adherence to pandemic guidelines – no one on the street except people transporting goods and goods.
“Nothing is open here,” he said. “I’m a runner. This helps me maintain my sanity at times like this, but I can’t do it. Not here. It doesn’t matter what distance or distance, it’s not allowed.”
Everyone wears a mask, he observes, and the area holds to a social figure of 1 meter, about half of the US space guidelines. To make it uniform in the country, that’s what the Navy did there, said Reinert.
A lieutenant commander, Reinert is eager to move next week to a larger headquarters nearby, where he will examine local and international news reports to provide details regarding COVID-19 to four and three star admirals as commanders. He will also communicate information to seamen and their families stationed there, and coordinate information with host countries, including Spain and Greece.
Until then, he had woken up to “battle rhythm” with his team, he said.
And even though it’s hard for him to judge people’s tenors, he said he had the feeling that they would become warriors in the future. He wondered if the gloomier tone was left in northern Italy – the hardest hit region.
“Italy has a reputation as a lively place where people come out and love life,” he said. “I didn’t see it. I looked carefully. I saw that everyone was more quiet.”
Reinert hopes he will be in Italy until the country goes through the worst virus and to a better place. He suspected he would come home in the summer.
“My message to the people at home is that everything we do here helps keep the spread out, and makes it less impactful elsewhere,” he said.
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