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AF Chief of Staff returns with honor

Gen. David Goldfein, Air Force Chief of Staff, speaks to Team Aviano at an all call during his base tour, July 6 at Aviano Air Base, Italy. Goldfein visited several squadrons during his tour and conducted an all call to talk about his views on the Air Force’s future.

WASHINGTON (AFNS) -- Air Force Chief of Staff Gen. David L. Goldfein visited several air bases across Italy July 5-9, 2018, where he met with military and political leaders to strengthen international partnerships.

During his first stop, Goldfein met with Italian Air Force Col. Vincenzo Tozzi, Aviano Air Base commander, and thanked him for the support, hospitality and generosity members of the Italian Air Force and neighboring community offer U.S. Airmen and families assigned to the 31st Fighter Wing.

The base, Goldfein said, is a symbol of American-Italian unity, and represents a more than 60-year partnership between the U.S. Air Force and Aviano. Together, the U.S. and Italian Airmen stationed there provide critical support to NATO forces in the southern region.

“Every Airman on this base is tied directly into the mission, every one of you plays a role and Aviano connects directly to deterrence,” said Goldfein during an all-call with 31st FW Airmen, before departing Aviano AB.

Arriving at Amendola AB for the second leg of his trip, Goldfein was greeted by the Chief of Staff of the Italian Air Force, Lt. Gen. Enzo Vecciarelli, and Lt. Gen. Luca Goretti, Italian Defense Attaché.

While there, he visited the nearby city of Lucera, where his grandparents lived before migrating to the U.S.

In a ceremony hosted by the municipality, Goldfein was named an honorary citizen of the city, the first foreign citizen to receive the distinction.

Goldfein said he would not forget the honor, and thanked the city’s mayor, Antonio Tutolo, council members, and the crowd of local citizens gathered for the ceremony, promising to visit again.

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Upon departing from Amendola AB, Goldfein made one final stop at Ghedi AB, where he was welcomed by Italian Air Force Col. Luca Maineri, commander of NATO’s 6th Stormo Wing.

There, he received a base tour that included the 704th Munitions Support Squadron, a geographically separated unit assigned to the 52nd Fighter Wing at Spangdahlem AB, Germany.

Concluding his tour of Italian air bases, Goldfein expressed gratitude to his Italian counterparts for the partnership between the U.S. and Italy, long-standing NATO allies.

“The strength in Italy is unbreakable, thanks to the foundation and bonds of trust and confidence established by those who came before us,” he said. “And today, we find each other at the intersection of airpower and amity, a 74-year history of mutual respect and shared values between our nations, and a shared interest in global order.”

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