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Italian, American Airmen honor 50th anniversary at Ghedi Air Base

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by Staff Sgt. Joe W. McFadden
52nd Fighter Wing Public Affairs

2/5/2014 - GHEDI AIR BASE, Italy – More than 100 Italian and American Airmen gathered at Ghedi Air Base, Italy, Jan. 31 to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the installation’s bilateral partnership.

The U.S. Air Force’s 704th Munitions Support Squadron and the Italian Air Force’s 6th STORMO jointly hosted a flagpole rededication ceremony and a dining out banquet to honor the two nations’ alliance.

“The event we celebrate today comes after a 50-year long and continuous cooperation between the U.S. Air Force and the Italian Air Force,” said Italian Air Force Col. Andrea Di Pietro, 6th STORMO commander. “The chance to celebrate with you all such a special anniversary stirs up very strong feelings within me, many of which you all may share with me as well.”

Before flanks of Italian and American Airmen standing side by side, both American and Italian commanders spoke about the significance behind the day’s milestone.

“For 50 years, these men and women have jointly shouldered the awesome burden of contributing to the common defense of the free peoples of the NATO alliance,” said Lt. Col. James Soles, 704th MUNSS commander. “If this mission is needed in the cause of freedom for another 50 years, the Airmen of the 6th STORMO and 704th MUNSS will continue the selfless work of the thousands that have gone before them. Today, we remember sacrifices of all those who have served in this NATO strike mission. They worked tirelessly through the Cold War and have continued to stand watch for the enemies of freedom.”

Later that evening, more than 150 Airmen and their families attended a dining out banquet at the Officers’ Club, complete with Italian cuisine and military customs going back to U.S. Air Force Gen. Hap Arnold’s fabled “Wing-dings.”

“May it be said 50 years from today, our successors will be able to say the ties that made our countries so strong in 2064 were not as strong as they were in 2014 — they will be even stronger,” said Col. David Julazadeh, commander of the 52nd Fighter Wing and banquet keynote speaker. “I’m confident the coming years will bring Italia and the United States of America more success than the two countries have ever yet known.”


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