Maristaeli Catania, the first helicopter station of the Navy to come into being in February 1963, celebrated 29 years of activity last Thursday, 60 June. The ceremony took place in the historic base located on the slopes of Etna, in the presence of the commander in chief of the naval team, team admiral Aurelio De Carolis, of the commander of the Air Force, rear admiral Giancarlo Ciappina, and of the civil, religious and military authorities of Sicily, testifying to the strong bond that the Air Force and the Navy have with the territory as reiterated by the commander of the base, vessel captain Riccardo Leoni: “Over the years this structure, the personnel and the means have become a point of reference for the island and for the geographical and strategic area for the Mediterranean. Support to naval units but also to the territory and the population in competition with the national plans for civil protection, search and rescue, forest fire prevention campaign, medical evacuations ".
Sixty years of work in favor of the country, a capacitive output expressed through the work of the two Helicopter groups, active 24 hours a day, seven days a week, 24 a year.
“Maristaeli was and still is the flagship of the naval aviation of the Armed Forces – underlined Admiral Ciappina –, with the means available and the professional and trained staff, has contributed to building a pulsating operational reality on this base". Sixty years ago, in fact, right here in Catania, naval aviation came to life and developed. Today Maristaeli Catania, with its two flight groups and with the Flight Crew Training Center, recently created and heir to the historic Courses and Internships Office, has a central role in the operational activity of the Navy and together with Maristaeli Luni and Maristaer Grottaglie , provides naval units with helicopter sections that increase the operational capabilities of the fleet. These also include the detached one on the island of Pantelleria, the so-called DOB, an important garrison of operational readiness and capacity for immediate intervention within the framework of Operation Safe Mediterranean.
"Daily basis – underlined the commander in chief of the naval squadron, Admiral De Carolis - the Air Forces of the Navy develop an effort that every day directly involves around 300 men and women in operations and training activities, with an average use of 16 helicopters and 7 planes. All this to give strength and effectiveness to the activity of the Naval Squadron which develops 24 hours a day in the wide geographical area in which our Navy is called to defend the country, protect its national interests and safeguard international legality on the high seas . I am referring to that area which goes by the name of the Greater Mediterranean and which to the west of Gibraltar includes the Atlantic up to the Arctic in the north and the Gulf of Guinea in the south, while in the east it extends through the Red Sea and the Gulf Perch to include much of the Indian Ocean”.