Secretary of Defense William S. Cohen today asked Admiral Joseph W. Prueher, former Commander-in-Chief, U.S. Pacific Command, to undertake a review of operational and safety measures implemented in the aftermath of the ski gondola incident at Cavalese in which 20 people were killed. The review was announced last Friday by President Clinton following his meeting with Italian Prime Minister Massimo D'Alema at the White House. Cohen asked Prueher to conduct the assessment in conjunction with Italian military officials and report to him and to Italian Minister of Defense Carlo Scognamiglio within 30 days.
Prueher was asked to assess the adequacy of the operational and safety measures taken for U.S. aircraft conducting flight training missions from Italian air bases and recommend whether any additional measures are appropriate. The President and Prime Minister's stated goal is "to ensure the highest levels of safety." Prueher will be supported by the Joint Staff and was told to invite the full participation of Italian military counterparts and officials in the Italian Ministry of Defense.
Admiral Prueher is a naval aviator with over 5,500 hours experience in 52 types of aircraft. In addition to his recent command of U.S. forces in the Pacific, he previously served as commander of the U.S. Sixth Fleet in the Mediterranean and NATO's Naval Striking and Support Forces, Southern Europe.