The Squadron is back to Cervia Air Base, under the 15th Wing, and flies the HH-101A helicopter.

Italian Air Force reforms 23 Squadron
Italian Air Force reforms 23rd Flying Squadron.

October 30, 2018 - Eight years ago we said goodbye to the 23rd Fighter Squadron "Veltri" on the occasion of its "last QRA" before being dismissed. On that day, many media went to the Cervia Air Base, Italy, to witness the latest actions of one of the most acclaimed Squadrons of the Italian Air Force. The 23rd Sqn. has always warmly welcomed all aviation enthusiasts and was the first unit to organize a spotterday in Italy on the occasion of its 90th anniversary.

Today, many of those who greeted the Veltri (greyhounds) at the time, have retuned to Cervia AB, home of the 15th Wing, to celebrate their reformation! The Italian Air Force does not forget its glorious past and on the right occasion, knows how to grant the right recognition. The Squadron participated in all the main operations during the last period of the First World War and during its long history has held various roles and missions, also participating in the Second World War.

Today, the Veltri are back! Moving from the fuselage of the F-16 ADF fighter jet to that of the new HH-101A Caesar multi-role helicopter, the greyhound is ready to run again along the runway!

During the official ceremony, which was attended by the Commander of the 15th Wing, Col. Diego Sismondini, together with local civilian and military authorities, the last Commander of the 23rd Sqn., Col. Mauro Gnutti, conferred his role to the Lt. Col. Cristian Di Matteo through the symbolic flag handover.

"I'm honored to have received this prestigious role that I will cover in the best way. Men and women of the 23rd Squadron will be involved in increasing commitments and new challenges and I'm sure that they will do their job best," Di Matteo said.

The speech of Col. Gnutti was also very emotional: "this is the day we have been waiting for a long time, for eight long years the Veltri tried to escape from the chains and finally today they has succeeded. Thanks to all of you who have always kept alive the memory of the 23rd Group through stories and images, the Veltri have always remained among us".

In addition, Col. Sismondini emphasized the most challenging moment in the history of the 15th Wing that has under its command seven Flying Squadrons throughout the national territory. However, he is sure that "the Wing will be able to face all the challenges that will come thanks to the extraordinary operability of its personnel."

After the ceremony, Lt. Col. Di Matteo invited guests to admire the first HH-101A helicopter (15-04) assigned to the 23rd Squadron, parked inside the maintenance hangar. The white veltro on the Caesar's dark fuselage makes the aircraft even more fascinating.

The reconstitution of the 23rd Flying Squadron takes place in the year of its centenary, it was formed on 7 July 1918 in S. Luca, Treviso.

Written by Matteo Sanzani

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