- Aviano Air Base
Infobox Military Structure
name= Aviano Air Base
partof=United States Air Forces in Europe (USAFE)
location= Located near
Aerial Image of Aviano Air Base
Location in Italy
type= NATO Air Base
used=1911 - present
commanders= Brigadier General Craig A. Franklin
31st Fighter Wing
name = Aviano Air Base
IATA = AVB
ICAO = LIPA
type = Military
elevation-f = 410
elevation-m = 124
coordinates = coord|46|04|N|12|36|E|display=inline
r1-number = 05/23
r1-length-f = 9,800
r1-length-m = 2,987
r1-surface = Concrete
Aviano Air Base Airport codes|AVB|LIPA is a
NATO airbasein northeastern Italy, in Friuli-Venezia Giuliaregion. It is located in Avianomunicipality, at the foot of the Carnic Alps, about 15 kilometers from Pordenone.
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 U.S. Air Force and alsothe air component of the U.S. European Command, a Department of Defense unified command.
The 31 FW includes a maintenance group, a mission support group, a medical group and an oerations group (OG). The 31 OG's operational fighter squadrons are::
510th Fighter Squadron"Buzzards": 555th Fighter Squadron"Triple Nickel"
Both are equipped with Block 40 F-16CG Fighting Falcons, tail coded "AV".
Aviano's current mission is to conduct regional and expeditionary operations under
NATO, SACEURor national tasking.
Pre-dating the U.S. Air Force, Aviano Air Base was established by
Italyin 1911, it 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 Paglianoand 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.
World War II, both the Italian Air Forceand the German Luftwaffeflew 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, 1955with 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 Commandbases in the United States in support of NATOalert 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, 1966to handle the rotational units from the United States on a permanent basis.
With the closure of U.S. operations at
Torrejon Air Base Spainon May 21, 1992, the 401st Tactical Fighter Wing moved to Aviano, supplanting the 40th Tactical Group. After Hurricane Andrewdestroyed Homestead AFB, Florida, the 401st was deactivated and replaced by the 31st Fighter Wing on April 1, 1994.
On June 2, 1995, US Air Force Captain
Scott O'Grady, attached to the 555th Fighter Squadron in support of Operation Deny Flight over Bosnia, was shot down by a Bosnian SA-6 surface-to-air missile and forced to eject from his aircraft. Six days later, he was rescued by United States Marinesof the 24th Marine Expeditionary Unitbased on the USS Kearsarge.The event would come to be known as the Mrkonjić Grad incident.
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 Alpsat 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 Baraldiniwith the promise to US officials that no further investigations on the Cavalese incident would have been allowed or putten forth.Fact|date=February 2008
Allegations have been made that on
February 17, 2003, Hassan Mustafa Osama Nasrwas kidnapped by CIAagents while he was walking to his mosquein Milan, transported via Aviano Air Base to Alexandria, Egypt, and turned over to the custody of Egypt's State Security Intelligence. In 2005 and 2006, Italian authorities issued warrants for dozens of persons they believe are connected to the kidnapping including a security forces commander at Aviano Air Base at the time of the alleged abduction.
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 Forcecommand 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:
*Area A1 contains a few of Aviano's support functions (such as the library and chapel) and the newly built school for the base population's children.
*Area A2 contains the Fitness Centers, Dining Halls, some older Dormitories, Thrift Shop and Fire Department.
*Area C contains Civil Engineering activities, Initial Issue, and contractor facilities.
*Area D contains a soccer/football feeld and pick nick area.
*Area E, 16th Air Force Headquarters area, contains AFN, some communications functions (base operators) and K-9 facilities. The Italian
Carabinieri(military police) also have their base headquarters in this area.
*Area F is the flightline area, and by far the largest area in Aviano. This sprawling complex contains the active runway and two taxiways, the operational and support units: 31st Fighter Wing Commander's Office, a portion of the Traffic Management Office, Air Mobility Command Passenger Terminal, Supply, Security Force Offices, flying squadrons, new dormitories, Billiting, BX and Commissary, Food Court, Post Office, Movie Theater, Fitness Centers, Recreational Area (ball parks, track, campground), Golf Course, Pass & Registration, and Drivers Testing. The
US Armyalso has a Blackhawk helicopterunit operating out of the north corner of Area F.
Water supply system
Serving a population of roughly 5,400, the water system features six potable wells and two emergency links to the municipal system. Treatment is minimal, usually chlorine injection at the wellheads. Water in one base well had excessive
tetrachloroethene(PCE) in the fall of 1999. PCE is a solvent used to clean machinery, electronic parts and clothing. The well was immediately closed and the public notified. Follow-up sampling detected no further problems or threats to health. The average daily water production is 400,000 to 600,000 gallons
* Cavalese cable-car disaster
United States Air Forces in Europe
Some of this text in an early version of this article was taken from pages on the [http://www.aviano.af.mil/ 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:
* Donald, David (2004) Century Jets: USAF Frontline Fighters of the Cold War. AIRtime ISBN 1880588684
* Endicott, Judy G. (1999) Active Air Force wings as of 1 October 1995; USAF active flying, space, and missile squadrons as of 1 October 1995. Maxwell AFB, Alabama: Office of Air Force History. CD-ROM.
* Fletcher, Harry R. (1989) Air Force Bases Volume II, Active Air Force Bases outside the United States of America on 17 September 1982. Maxwell AFB, Alabama: Office of Air Force History. ISBN 0912799536
* Martin, Patrick (1994). Tail Code: The Complete History of USAF Tactical Aircraft Tail Code Markings. Schiffer Military Aviation History. ISBN 0887405134.
* Ravenstein, Charles A. (1984). Air Force Combat Wings Lineage and Honors Histories 1947-1977. Maxwell AFB, Alabama: Office of Air Force History. ISBN 0912799129.
* Rogers, Brian (2005). United States Air Force Unit Designations Since 1978. Hinkley, England: Midland Publications. ISBN 1-85780-197-0.
* [http://home.att.net/~jbaugher/usafserials.html] USAAS-USAAC-USAAF-USAF Aircraft Serial Numbers--1908 to present
Another reference to Aviano Air Base was included in the novel
The Brokerby John Grisham. Joel Backman asks where the driver is taking him. The driver responds Aviano Air Base followed by his version of its history.
* [http://www.aviano.af.mil/ Aviano Air Base] (official site)
* [http://www.globalsecurity.org/military/facility/aviano.htm Aviano Air Base at GlobalSecurity.org)]
Wikimedia Foundation. 2010.
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