Italy celebrates 100 years of 84th SAR Center

Italy celebrates 100 years of 84th SAR Center

30-May-2024 Source: AMI

The centenary of the establishment of the 84th SAR ( Search And Rescue ) Center was celebrated on May 21st on the Gioia del Colle air base .

Established on 28 April 1924 in Venice as the 84th Seaplane Group, with assets from the First World War, it was transformed into a Maritime Reconnaissance Group in October 1937 and equipped with central hull seaplanes CANT Z.501 (Mammaiut) and CANT Z .506B. In August 1948 it was moved to Vigna di Valle, where it became an Air Rescue Group reporting directly to the Air Force Search and Rescue Service Command with HU16A Grumman amphibious aircraft. On 19 October 1959 the Group moved to Ciampino to carry out search and rescue tasks (SAR – Search and Rescue), where in 1965 it was recognized as the SAR Group of the 15th Wing. In 1979 the 84th Group was deployed on the Brindisi air base, equipped with AB-204 helicopters and subsequently Agusta Sikorsky HH-3F ”Pelican”, acquiring the name of 84th Combat Search and Rescue Center in 1980. In September 2012, the 84th Center was repositioned on the “A. Ramirez” of Gioia del Colle with the new Agusta Westland HH-139 helicopters, where it is still located together with the 36th Fighter Wing.  

The ceremony was presided over by the Commander of the 15th Wing of Cervia, Col. Andrea Giuseppe Savina, and took place in the presence of local military and civil authorities, Center staff and their families, as well as a large representation of staff in farewell who for the occasion met to share life experiences and common memories.

“They have been one hundred years of continuous transformations, years characterized by multiple functions and in which there have never been any shortage of challenges. The means have changed, the technology has evolved, but the spirit and passion that united the men and women of the 84th have not changed, values ​​that have made this unit of the Armed Forces great “, declared the Ten. Col. Francesco Pastore , Commander of the 84th SAR Center in his greeting address. “ special thought today goes to those who lost their lives in service to fulfill their duty, transmitting values ​​such as a spirit of sacrifice, loyalty and humility, values ​​by which we draw inspiration daily in carrying out the assigned mission ”.

On the occasion of the ceremony, the ” special color ” version of an HH-139B helicopter supplied to the Center was presented , with which a flyby was also carried out. A videographic exhibition further enriched the event, allowing us to ideally retrace the history of the department and the many experiences of those who served the country with dedication, esprit de corps and sense of duty with the heraldry of ” Duffy “.

The 15th Wing has the task of ensuring the Search and Rescue (SAR) service for the recovery of the crews of crashed military aircraft, through autonomous operations or in competition with other land, air or naval assets. It contributes to rescue operations to safeguard human life and the civilian population, in the event of calamities or natural disasters, to Anti-forest fire operations (AIB) by cooperating with the Civil Protection and other State organisations. It integrates the National Air Defense device through operations to combat the threat coming from low and very low performance aircraft (Slow Movers Interception – SMI) and to support the security of sensitive areas and objectives during large public events. It provides the training and qualification of pilots and flight crews assigned to flight units with rescue tasks, as well as basic and advanced survival training in maritime and mountain environments. The 83rd SAR Group and the 81st Crew Training Center (CAE) are part of the 15th Wing, on the same site as Cervia. Having to guarantee Search and Rescue throughout the national territory, the Department then has under its control the 80th SAR Center (Decimomannu), the 82nd SAR Center (Trapani), the 84th SAR Center (Gioia del Colle ) and the 85th SAR Center (Pratica di Mare). The 15th Wing, equipped with HH-139 helicopters in the A and B versions, works promptly 24 hours a day, throughout the national territory, 365 days a year, through the dependent SAR Centers. From its establishment to today, the crews of the 15th Wing have saved over 7800 people in danger of their lives.

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