Aviano Air Base

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Aviano Air Base

United States Air Forces in Europe.png

Part of United States Air Forces in Europe (USAFE)
Located near: Aviano, Friuli-Venezia Giulia, Italy
F-16 Aviano AB Italy.jpg
31st Fighter Wing Falcon at Aviano AB
Coordinates46°01′53″N 012°35′49″E / 46.03139°N 12.59694°E / 46.03139; 12.59694 (Aviano AB)
Built1911
In use1954-Present
Controlled by United States Air Force
Garrison31st Fighter Wing.png
31st Fighter Wing (USAF)
CommandersBrig. Gen. SCOTT J. ZOBRIST
 
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Aviano Air Base

United States Air Forces in Europe.png

Part of United States Air Forces in Europe (USAFE)
Located near: Aviano, Friuli-Venezia Giulia, Italy
F-16 Aviano AB Italy.jpg
31st Fighter Wing Falcon at Aviano AB
Coordinates46°01′53″N 012°35′49″E / 46.03139°N 12.59694°E / 46.03139; 12.59694 (Aviano AB)
Built1911
In use1954-Present
Controlled by United States Air Force
Garrison31st Fighter Wing.png
31st Fighter Wing (USAF)
CommandersBrig. Gen. SCOTT J. ZOBRIST
Airfield information
IATA: AVBICAO: LIPA
Summary
Elevation AMSL410 ft / 125 m
Coordinates46°01′53″N 012°35′49″E / 46.03139°N 12.59694°E / 46.03139; 12.59694Coordinates: 46°01′53″N 012°35′49″E / 46.03139°N 12.59694°E / 46.03139; 12.59694
Websitewww.aviano.af.mil
Map
LIPA is located in Italy
LIPA
Location of Aviano Air Base
Runways
DirectionLengthSurface
ftm
05/239,8002,987Concrete
Sources: official site[1] and DAFIF[2][3]
US F-16s at Aviano
General Dynamics F-16C Block 40A Fighting Falcon 89-030 of the 510th Fighter Squadron

Aviano Air Base (IATA: AVBICAO: LIPA) is a NATO Air Base under U.S. Air Force administration in northeastern Italy, in Friuli-Venezia Giulia region. It is located in Aviano municipality, at the foot of the Carnic Pre-Alps, or Southern Carnic Alps, about 15 kilometers from Pordenone.

Contents

Units

Aviano is hosted by the United States Air Force 31st Fighter Wing (31 FW), a part of the United States Air Forces in Europe, a major command of the Air Force and also the air component of the United States European Command, one of the Unified Combatant Command of the Department of Defense.

The 31 FW includes a maintenance group, a mission support group, a medical group and an operations group (OG). The 31 OG's operational fighter squadrons are:

510th Fighter Squadron Buzzards "Purple Fin Flash"
555th Fighter Squadron Triple Nickel "Green Fin Flash"

Both are equipped with Block 40 F-16CM Fighting Falcons, tail coded "AV".

Aviano's current mission is to conduct regional and expeditionary operations under NATO, SACEUR or national tasking.

History

Aviano Air Base was established by the Italian government in 1911, and was used as training base for Italian pilots and construction facility for aircraft parts. During World War I, Italy used the airfield in missions against the Austro-Hungarian and German armies. At that time, two Italian aviators, Captain Maurizio Pagliano and Lieutenant Luigi Gori, conducted an unauthorized, but heroic and successful, air raid on the Austrian naval yards in Pula, in what is now Croatia. In their honor, the base's name was officially changed to Aeroporto Pagliano e Gori, in 1919. During the war the airfield was also overrun by the Austro-German army. Between the two wars the airfield was again used as a training base.

During World War II, both the Italian Air Force and the German Luftwaffe flew missions from Aeroporto Pagliano e Gori. British forces captured the base in 1945; they conducted air operations there until 1947, when the Italian Air Force resumed operational use of the airport. The Italian Air Force used the base until 1954.

United States Air Force Use

In 1954, the U.S. and Italian governments signed a joint-use agreement that brought the base into the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO). Headquarters of the United States Air Forces in Europe (USAFE) officially activated the airfield on February 15, 1955, with the activation of the 7207th Air Base Squadron.

Aviano had no permanent tactical combat aircraft assigned. Instead, the base hosted rotational fighter deployments from Tactical Air Command bases in the United States in support of NATO alert commitments and Air Force weapons-training deployments. The 7227th Combat Support Group was the host unit at Aviano effective December 1, 1957, being replaced by the 40th Tactical Group on April 1, 1966, to handle the rotational units from the United States on a permanent basis.

With the closure of U.S. operations at Torrejon Air Base in Spain on May 21, 1992, the 401st Tactical Fighter Wing moved to Aviano, supplanting the 40th Tactical Group. After Hurricane Andrew destroyed Homestead AFB, Florida, the 401st was deactivated and replaced by the 31st Fighter Wing on April 1, 1994.

On June 2, 1995, U.S. Air Force Captain Scott O'Grady flying his F-16, attached to the 555th Fighter Squadron in support of Operation Deny Flight over Bosnia, was shot down by a Bosnian Serb SA-6 surface-to-air missile and was forced to eject from his aircraft. Six days later, he was rescued by U.S. Marines of the 24th Marine Expeditionary Unit based on the USS Kearsarge. The event would come to be known as the Mrkonjić Grad incident.

Cavalese cable-car disaster

In the Cavalese cable car disaster, on February 3, 1998, a jet flying too low on a training exercise from Aviano Air Base severed a cable car's cable over the Alps at Cavalese, Italy, causing 20 deaths. Current Secretary of State Massimo D'Alema, a Prime Minister at the time of the tragedy, admitted having decided to trade the release of Lexington AMX detainee and activist Silvia Baraldini with the promise to US officials that no further investigations on the Cavalese disaster would have been allowed or put forth.[citation needed]

Imam rapito affair

On November 4, 2009, the conviction by an Italian court of 22 CIA agents, a U.S. Air Force colonel and two Italian SISMI secret agents confirmed the role of the Aviano Air Base in the kidnapping, on February 17, 2003, of Hassan Mustafa Osama Nasr, in the so-called "extraordinary rendition" programme.[4] The man, abducted in Milan by CIA agents, was taken to Aviano Air Base for interrogation before being transported via Ramstein Air Base (Germany) to Alexandria, Egypt, and turned over to the custody of Egypt's State Security Intelligence, where he declared to have undergone electric shock and other tortures.[4][5][6]

The United States Department of Defense awarded Aviano Air Base with the Best Anti-Terrorism Program Award for 2008.[7]

Layout

The layout of Aviano Air Base is unique because the community consists of seven areas, which include the administrative, community and support areas, the 16th Air Force command compound, the flight line area, a munitions storage area, a civil engineering complex, a recreational area and a decommissioned fuel railhead. Aviano Air Base is divided into nine areas stretched between the towns of Aviano and Pordenone, nine miles south of the base. In the wake of the Aviano 2000 project, many elements of the scattered areas are being consolidated into the flightline area. The major areas are:

See also


References

Some of this text in an early version of this article was taken from pages on the Aviano Air Base website, which as a work of the U.S. Government is presumed to be a public domain resource. That information was supplemented by:

External links