- You will arrive at Marco Polo Airport in Venice, Italy via a commercial airline. From the airport, you can take the Patriot Shuttle from Marco Polo to Aviano AB Mountain View Lodge. To sign up for the shuttle, visit https://www.patriotshuttle.com
. The Service is reimbursable for official travelers. When you arrive at the Mountain View Lodge, your sponsor will meet you. NOTE: In the unlikely situation no one meets you upon arrival, call the Aviano AB Command Post at 0434-30-3100 or DSN 314-632-3100 and ask to be connected to your unit's first sergeant.
Jump Start - The base offers Jump Start, a course to help newcomers get their driver's licenses and start house hunting without waiting for their regularly scheduled Right Start to begin. Military members should be in uniform. The course is offered every Thursday from noon to 3:30 p.m. in Building 1413, Room 136. In order to receive your license immediately following the course, take your test online prior to the briefing by visiting here.
Right Start - The Monday following your arrival, you will start a week-long program called "Right Start." (Click here for the Right Start schedule.) Your spouse is invited to attend Right Start also (for those with kids, Right Start CDC slots are available and you can make your reservations 30 days in advance). The first day of Right Start focuses on "must-have" issues, to include personnel/MPS, Pass and Registration, Passports, Finance, Housing and Legal. There is also a special time slot just for the spouses to meet with established Aviano spouses to address spouse-specific questions and help your family start getting settled at your new base. The second day's focus is on getting your AFI driver's license and other important inprocessing actions. The third and fourth days have very few scheduled events and are intended to give you time to start house-hunting. Your sponsor or someone else from your squadron should be available to help you house-hunt by assisting with transportation until you get your AFI license and access to a vehicle. You might also use part of these two days to begin inprocessing your squadron. The last day of Right Start, Friday, is the most fun - "Benvenuti" (Italian for "welcome"). Benvenuti is a one-day program where your Right Start class begins learning about life in Italy by experiencing the culture and customs firsthand. It even includes lunch at an Italian restaurant and learning to take the train. This day is optional, but you don't want to miss it!
The Second Week - The second week has no official duties except on Thursday when the military member has several hours of briefings in the afternoon. Please note that the 31st Fighter Wing commander has given direction to all commanders at Aviano that inbounds will not report for normal duties for at least two weeks after arriving to allow newcomers to attend the entire weeklong Right Start program and begin house-hunting. Squadron commanders can deviate from this policy in extreme circumstances, but you will need time to get settled so you should expect at least two full weeks before re-porting for regular duties.
Getting involved in the community - The Vicini Americani (or American Neighbors) program is designed to connect Americans in their Italian communities. Under the program, Team Aviano volunteers - designated as Community Liaisons for their respective comunes - help to welcome newcomers, organize local gatherings and inform people about upcoming community events. If you are househunting, feel free to use the information on the linked pages to make informed decisions about where you would like to live.
The Third Week and Beyond - Since it normally takes a month or more to get into your house, and then another 30 days or so to get your vehicle, household goods, and other necessities, you should expect that it may take two full months before you start feeling like you are settled in your new home. That's OK ... don't worry ... thousands of people have done it before you so it can be done. Just expect up front that you'll have frustrating days. It's not easy to move your family from the states to a foreign country, but after you are settled the experience is fantastic. (Remember, you are only an hour away from Venice!)
Your Sponsor's Role - Your sponsor may not be able to personally walk you through every step of this process, but they should be routinely helping you the first two weeks until you get your AFI license, have access to a vehicle, and start house-hunting on your own. The amount of time they devote to sponsor duties will depend on how much help you feel you need, and their work duties, so make sure your sponsor (and your supervisor) know what you need. If they don't know about it, they won't be able to help you. We've been increasing the focus on our sponsorship program, so your sponsor should be there for you from first contact months before arrival until you feel "settled" at about the two-month point.
Your Role - The most important thing you can do to prepare for your PCS is to keep a positive attitude. After reading the list above, it's probably apparent that PCSing to Aviano is tougher than most other bases, but it is not that difficult to do with preparation and a good attitude. You have lots of people and resources at Aviano that will help you during your PCS, but only you can ensure a successful, smooth move. Get smart on the requirements, handle the big things early (no-fee passports/visas, pet travel, etc.), start communicating with your sponsor/key spouse early/often, sign up for free on-line language courses, and start making your list of places you want to tour in Europe! It's up to you, so begin preparing now for your move.