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U.S., Italian Military Leaders Meet

By Jim Garamone
American Forces Press Service

FLORENCE, Italy, July 6, 2007 – The top U.S. military officer today thanked the Italian chief of the Defense Staff for Italy’s firm support in the war on terrorism.

Click photo for screen-resolution image
Marine Gen. Peter Pace, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, talks with his Italian counterpart, Adm. Giampaolo Di Paola, during a meeting in Florence, Italy, July 6, 2007. The two senior military leaders discussed worldwide operations. Photo by Staff Sgt. D. Myles Cullen, USAF

(Click photo for screen-resolution image);high-resolution image available.

Marine Gen. Peter Pace, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, and Italian navy Adm. Giampaolo DiPaola spoke about a variety of issues during a meeting here.

The discussions are more on the line of a talk between friends, “because we are friends,” Pace said following the meeting. The military-to-military connection between Italy and the United States is a mature one, he said, and it allows military leaders to accomplish a great deal without a lot of hassle.

Servicemembers from Italy and the United States serve together in many areas of the world. Italy has more than 18,000 servicemembers serving outside the country. It was one of the first countries to provide troops in Afghanistan, and Italian officers command NATO’s Regional Command West based in Heart, Afghanistan. Italy also is set to take over command of the International Security Assistance Force’s Capital District, which helps provide security in and around Kabul.

Italy also heads the NATO Training Mission in Iraq. Italian officers are working to develop the Iraqi army officer corps. In addition, NATO is going to take on some of the police-training mission.

Italians soldiers are participating in the United Nations Mission in Lebanon. Italian army Maj. Gen. Claudio Graziano commands the U.N. force, and about 2,500 Italian soldiers patrol in southern Lebanon.

The two military chiefs also discussed ongoing efforts in the Balkans and other operations. They closed with discussions on Italy’s move to transform the Italian military.

Italy has been a good host to generations of American soldiers, sailors, airmen and Marines. The U.S. Army’s 173rd Airborne Brigade is based in Vincenza; Aviano Air Base is a major operational field for the U.S. Air Force; and U.S. Navy Europe has its headquarters in Naples.

Before the meeting, Di Paola took Pace and his party to the Palazzo Vecchio and the Uffizi Gallery in downtown Florence, ground zero for the Renaissance. The two men viewed the genius of Michelangelo, Leonardo da Vinci, Botticelli and many more.

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Gen. Peter Pace, USMC

Related Sites:
NATO International Security Assistance Force
State Department Background Note on Italy

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