"Pristina 1999"

(To Luigi Tancredi)
17/10/19

Il your article on the events of June 1999 in Kosovo, my thoughts returned to those days of twenty years ago.
At the time I was a pilot of the 50 ° Group on the Hercules 130 aircraft stationed in Pisa.

One night we were woken up by an avalanche of 200 paratroopers of the Folgore Brigade on Pristina.
To tell the truth, those were strange years, when the President of the Council publicly stated that Italy did not contribute to military activities using aircraft in Serbia as in KOSOVO.

Between us, therefore, turned the riddle: "Who gave the order?"
"Nobody!" Was the most common response.

The fact is that the 46 ^ Air Brigade remedied three H-130 and two G-222, no more. The situation was not rosy and many had doubts that there would be 5 taking off that night.

The Thunderbolt, always tidy and precise, showed up for boarding and as usual the contacts between the pilots and the paratroop officers took place. It seems to me that besides the Col Moschin and the Tuscania there were also the parades of the 187 ° Regiment. The number of airplanes seemed to be justified by the fact that, as was thought, after the launch and the taking of the airport, it would have had to start an airlift with means and logistic supports.

Obviously those of Folgore thought we knew everything and we pilots, of course, obviously thought the same of them!
While the General of the Thunderbolt was, for us, impenetrable, the greater contacts with our General made us understand that there was, in the whole operation, a concrete margin of uncertainty, since the mantra that was perceived was that, deep down , it was not clear who ever armed that mess!

I went to sleep on my plane, using the stretchers at the top of the fuselage and waiting for the order that never arrived.
I woke up at 9 in the morning and nobody was there. It often happened at the time.

You landed in Pristina a few days later with a spectacular airlift of about ten H-130 coming from all over the world. Curious it was that on one side they ran after us with the UAZ and on the other with the Defender. The British were glaring at the Russians but then nothing happened.

I also know that, in the end, the poor Russians, to whom - as recent history had shown us - nothing came (they were certainly not armed and well-trained Russians today!), Some food were granted ... but not officially.

Then began Amiko, a beautiful page of AM history.