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31st SFS and Italian Air Force Personnel work together as first line of defense

U.S. Airman 1st Class Matthew Minga, 31st Security Forces member, left, Gianni Vignaduzzi, liaison specialist for the defense force commander, center, and Italian Air Force Primo Aviere Scelto Simone S., force protection member, right, pose for a photo at Aviano Air Base, Italy, Dec. 9, 2020. For 26 years, the 31st SFS and Italian Air Force Protection personnel have engaged their best practices and lessons learned on a wide range of topics. (Photo by U.S. Airman 1st Class Ericka A. Woolever)

U.S. Airman 1st Class Matthew Minga, 31st Security Forces member, left, Gianni Vignaduzzi, liaison specialist for the defense force commander, center, and Italian Air Force Primo Aviere Scelto Simone S., force protection member, right, pose for a photo at Aviano Air Base, Italy, Dec. 9, 2020. For 26 years, the 31st SFS and Italian Air Force Protection personnel have engaged their best practices and lessons learned on a wide range of topics. (Photo by U.S. Airman 1st Class Ericka A. Woolever)

AVIANO AIR BASE, ITALY --

True success can only be achieved through cooperation and collaboration. That has been the fundamental driving force behind the 31st Security Forces Squadron and the “Pagliano e Gori” airport Italian military personnel partnership. 

For 26 years, the 31st SFS and their Italian military counterparts have engaged their best practices and lessons learned on a wide range of topics.

“Our partnership with our Italian partners is very important because we can’t do our jobs without each other,” said U.S. Airman 1st Class Scarlett Vargas, 31st SFS security response team member. “Our relationship is fundamental to everything that goes on, especially on base because the gate is the first line of defense.”

U.S. Airmen network and build relationships to strengthen trusted partnerships with  Italian Air Force Airmen, allowing each to gain valuable experiences about life. 

“I work with Italian Air Force personnel at least twice a week,” said Vargas. “I have learned so much from them, from the Italian culture which includes music, food, language and customs and courtesies.”  

Through their partnership both U.S. and Italian service members build and maintain confidence between one another.

“The best thing about the partnership between us is being able to trust someone from a completely different background and still know we have each other’s back if things went wrong,” said Vargas. 

The partnership between U.S. Airmen and Italian Airmen increases an understanding about each of their missions and how to successfully accomplish each mission.

“Aviano Air Base is truly unique in terms of its hierarchal structure and mission,” said Gianni Vignaduzzi, liaison specialist for the defense force commander. “Consequently, unique and delicate situations are often generated that can only be overcome through a solid, focused, and united force protection alliance. Without this force protection alliance, the ability for both US and Italian force protection forces to confront the security challenges of our times would be weakened, ineffective, and prone to failure.”

As one team, not only do they accomplish the mission but they also are able to improve morale.  

“Together [we] fulfill a mission and most of the time have fun while doing it,” said Vargas. “I personally believe that is the most significant part of our job.”