Air Force Bases

San Vito dei Normanni Air Station, Italy

Location: Located c. 7 miles north-northwest of Brindisi, Puglie, between the port of Brindisi and the town of San Vito dei Normanni, Italy.

Origin of current name: Named after a town in Italy.

Date current name was assigned to base: July 17, 1961

Previous Names: San Vito dei Normanni Comms Stn, 1 Nov 1960.

Date Established: November 1, 1960

Date Occupied: August 10, 1960

Construction Began: July 16, 1959

Base Units: 6917th Radio Sq, Mobile (rdsgd 6917th Radio Gp, Mobile, 1 Jul 1961; 6917th Scty Gp, 1 Jul 1963), 1 Nov 1960; 6917th AB Sq, 1 Jul 1974; 7275th AB Sq, 1 Oct 1978

Changes in Capability: San Vito dei Normanni AS, without an airfield, began as an off-base installation of Aviano AB with support personnel and equipment furnished by the 6900th Scty Wg in 1960; a primary installation since 1 Mar 1961; base operated from its activation by the United States Air Force Security Service (USAFSS); on 1 Oct 1978 base reverted to HQ Sixteenth AF (USAFE), hosting the 6917th Elect Scty Gp and other assigned U.S. and Allied units and organizations.

Changes in Status: Off-base installation of Aviano AB, 1 Nov 1960; primary installation, 1 Mar 1961.

Base was Decommissioned on October 1, 1994

History:

San Vito dei Normanni Air Station, Italy opened in 1960 and closed in 1993, employing 700 Air Force and fewer Navy intelligence personnel listening to the same areas as Field Station Augsberg along with additional listing in the Middle East.

For 34 years during the Cold War, the place hosted various intelligence people that intercepted and analyzed transmissions from former Warsaw Pact countries.

Though the base closed in October 1994, as part of the US military drawdown, the Bosnian mission kept San Vito's gates open.

In 1993, the two Air Force units initially deployed people and hardware to San Vito while supporting Operation Provide Promise, a humanitarian airlift that sustained thousands of sick and starving civilians trapped by Bosnia's civil war. Eventually, as Balkan peacekeeping efforts began in earnest, that tasking switched to Operation Deny Flight, with 352nd SOG and 16th SOW resources staying put.

By late 1997 a 1,300-member coalition force, spearheaded by Joint Special Operations Task Force 2, operated 10 miles outside of Brindisi at San Vito Air Station. Its role: supporting NATO troops deployed to Bosnia-Herzegovina and aircrews monitoring a no-fly zone above that volatile country, where swarming Serbian mobs attacked Army patrols in September 1997. Bolstered by commandos from France's Armee de l'Air (air force) and a sprinkling of US soldiers and sailors, the 352nd Special Operations Group, RAF Mildenhall, England, and the 16th Special Operations Wing, Hurlburt Field, Fla., comprise most of the joint task force.

In 2000, the facility was once again closed. The landmark FLR-9 antenna array was disassembled. In 2003, the base reverted to Italian government ownership.

Since then, the Italian government donated parts of the base to the United Nations World Food Programme (WFP). In December 2006, WFP began using the facility as a simulation-based training center for its logistics officers, as well as logistics personnel of other humanitarian organizations.

  • News from the web