Department of Defense Education Activity

Our Community

Aviano Air Base

Is a NATO base in northeastern Italy, in the Friuli-Venezia Giulia region. It is located in the Aviano municipality, at the foot of the Carnic Pre-Alps, or Southern Carnic Alps, about 15 kilometers from Pordenone. The Italian Air Force has ownership and administrative control of the base and hosts the U.S. Air Force 's 31st Fighter Wing .

The 31st FW is the only U.S. fighter wing south of the Alps. This strategic location makes the wing critical to operations in NATO's southern region. [4] The 31st FW maintains two F-16 fighter squadrons, the 555th Fighter Squadron and the 510th FS, allowing the wing to conduct offense and defensive combat air operations. In peacetime, the 31st FW prepares for its combat role by maintaining aircraft and personnel in a high state of readiness. [4] The base is one of six NATO sites in Europe which hold tactical nuclear weapons. [5]

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 in the months between November 1917 to November 1918. 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 Paglianoe 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.

Units

The 31st Fighter Wing is made up of four groups, each consisting of several squadrons.

The 31st Operations Group

The 31st Maintenance Group

The 31st Mission Support

The 31st Medical Group