Adm. Joseph W. Prueher and Italian Lt. Gen. Leonardo Tricarico, together with members of the joint U.S.-Italian Commission, completed the European fact-finding leg of their 30-day comprehensive review of aviation operational and safety measures. Prueher returned to the U.S. Saturday, March 27, with the U.S. members of the bilateral commission following extensive visits and in-depth briefings in Rome, Aviano, Vicenza and Naples, Italy; Stuttgart, Germany; and Brussels, Belgium. The trip included a visit to Cavalese, Italy, where the two leaders laid flower wreaths at the site of last year's tragic accident to honor the memory of those who lost their lives there.
Prueher and Tricarico met several times over the week and attended meetings in both Rome and Vicenza. During the week-long visit, Prueher held discussions with senior Italian, U.S., and NATO civilian government and military officials including Italian Minister of Defense Carlo Scognamiglio; Assistant Minister of Defense Massimo Brutti; Chief of Defense Mario Arpino; U.S. Ambassador to Italy Thomas Foglietta; Commander Allied Forces Southern Europe Adm. James Ellis; Deputy Commander-in-Chief U.S. Forces Europe Adm. Steve Abbot; Supreme Allied Commander Europe Gen. Wesley Clark; Chairman, NATO Military Committee Gen. Klaus Naumann; and others.
Senior military tactical aviation officers from the joint commission conducted interviews and attended briefings with regional military commanders throughout the week in Italy and Germany in order to closely review operational, command and procedural issues relevant to the commission's charter.
Members of the joint commission are working closely together to examine the corrective operational and safety measures implemented since the accident, to assess their adequacy and determine whether additional measures are necessary to ensure the highest levels of operational safety.
Both nations have exchanged liaison officers to continue close team collaboration in the weeks ahead. Tricarico is expected to visit the U.S. on Apr. 9-10, for meetings with Prueher to finalize the review findings. The results of the review, which began March 15, will be presented to the Italian Minister of Defense and the U.S. Secretary of Defense the week of April 12, 1999.
The commission is dedicated by its charter to ensuring a tragedy like the one that occurred at Cavalese last year is not repeated.