41st flock: the s.ten. Barbagallo celebrates its 100th anniversary in Sigonella

(To air Force)

Thursday 16 December, on the occasion of the 81th birthday of second lieutenant Melino Barbagallo, after 41 years from his enlistment in the Air Force, the Sigonella airport - home to the XNUMXst wing antisom - wanted to give a day full of memories to the s.ten. Barbagallo, special guest of the airport.

Accompanied by his sons and by the members of the Arma Aeronautica (AAA) of Catania, Mr. Barbagallo participated with interest in the briefing morning and assisted with emotion to the photographic film, specially prepared with images of the 50s portraying himself as a young man.

Between tales of stories and anecdotes from his period of service, the s.ten. Barbagallo has retraced the places of his past, arousing in the staff the ideals and values, as well as an unchanged professionalism, still alive and inspiring.

Arrived in front of the War Memorial of the 87th flight group, Mr. Melino, after a moment of meditation, placed a laurel wreath in memory of his fallen colleagues.

Afterwards, the commander of the 41st wing and of the Sigonella Airport, Colonel Howard Lee Rivera, welcomed the welcome guest in his office to greet the wartime flag of the department and best wishes for the 100th anniversary of Mr. Melino. A cake decorated with the coat of arms of the Air Force in fact, and a toast with the typical "ghez" shouted by the Aviators, broke the silence and emotion of the s.ten. Barbagallo.

On the sidelines of the event, Colonel Rivera's words of thanks followed: "Today the presence of St. service that we carry out every day at the service of free institutions and citizens ".

The s.ten. Melino Barbagallo was born in Catania on December 16, 1921. In 1941, he enlisted in the Air Force and in 1942, after attending the Air Force specialist school and transferred to Gela Airport, he participated in various war missions in the Mediterraneo, aboard the CANT Z 1007bis aircraft, earning several honors of merit. 

After the end of the war, after having acquired the radiotelegraph operator's license, he was assigned to the Fontanarossa Airport. In 1953, as an on-board radar operator, he was employed in the 87th flight group - first autonomous and then the 41st wing antisom - initially operating from Catania-Fontanarossa Airport and subsequently from Sigonella Airport.

Until the date of his leave, in 1979, the s.ten. Barbagallo flew for several thousand hours on the aircraft of the maritime patrol specialty: Helldiver S2C-5, Harpoon PV-2, Grumann S2F and BR-1150 Atlantic. On the date of his discharge he was appointed second lieutenant for war merit.

In 2018, at nearly 97 years of age, he granted his wish to fly on the 41st Wing's current aircraft, the P-72A maritime patrol vessel.