With a ceremony held in the late afternoon today in the center of Galatina, in the province of Lecce, the pilot licenses were awarded to 49 frequenters who, after a training course of about a year, concluded the piloting course at the Flight Schools of the Air Force of the 61st wing, which is based in the Salento town, of the 72nd wing of Frosinone and of the multiCrew crew training center of Pratica di Mare.
Among the certified, twenty-six are Air Force officers, who together with two attendants of the Hellenic Air Force and one of the Royal Saudi Air Force received the military pilot licence, while seven attendants of the Army, four of the Carabinieri, five from the Guardia di Finanza, two from the State Police and two from the National Fire Brigade have obtained the helicopter pilot licence.
The ceremony, organized by the schools command of the AM/3^ Bari air region (which employs the three flight departments) in collaboration with the municipal administration of Galatina, was attended by the Minister of Defense, Guido Crosetto, the chief of staff of the Air Force, general of the air team Luca Goretti, regional and city authorities, the families of the young certified pilots, together with the many citizens of the Salento center who crowded Piazza Dante Alighieri for the occasion.
After the greeting address of the mayor of Galatina, Fabio Vergine, the Chief of Staff of the Air Force, general of the air team Luca Goretti, took the floor, who wanted to underline the importance of "spirit of sharing and collaboration between institutions, which sees the Air Force, a now centenary organization, making its natural and undisputed skills available in the aerospace sector in favor of those who aspire to operate in the third dimension". Then addressing the patented young people, he exhorted them never to forget “the importance of working with unity of purpose, with the desire to work together. That teamwork – recalled the general – which, as a famous American writer said, is the fuel that allows ordinary people to obtain uncommon results. In this sense, we are all a small cog in a greater mechanism that allows us to 'detach ourselves from the ground' every day and to fulfill the noble task of defending the skies of our Italy, protecting our people, allied countries and friends".
After the delivery of pilot licenses and eagles to all young visitors, a moment sealed by the overflight of a formation of four MB 339 trainer aircraft of the 61st wing, Defense Minister Guido Crosetto took the floor. “This today – said the Minister – it is a fundamental stage for your lives, a stage in a doubly difficult journey: because you have chosen to serve the country, in uniform and flying. It is a great responsibility, because behind every uniform there is the State, of which you are a valuable piece. Thanks to all of you, and to your families who have supported you, for having made the choice to defend the country and to help it evolve on a daily basis thanks to your skills".
Afterwards, after the meeting between the authorities and the patented young people, a concert was held - in the same place as the ceremony - by the Fanfare of the Air Force School Command/3rd Bari Air Region open to the citizens, an event that - in particular in the year of the Centenary of the Air Force - wanted to underline and strengthen the very close link between the city of Galatina and the Salento military airport, one of the realities of excellence at national and international level in the field of military flight training . Air base named after a heroic pilot from Galatina, Fortunato Cesari, who perished in the war in East Africa during a flight mission.