LECCE – Accompanied by the Minister of Defense, Lorenzo Guerini, by the Chief of Defense Staff, Admiral Giuseppe Cavo Dragone and by the Chief of Staff of the Air Force, air squad general Luca Goretti, the President of the Republic, Sergio Mattarella , took part in the delivery of the patent to 48 new pilots in the heart of Lecce.
These are the students who have successfully completed the difficult training course in military flight schools: some have been trained to be assigned to combat aircraft, others to helicopters, others still to aircraft for operational transport, medical evacuation. , emergency medical transport, search and rescue, in-flight refueling and the transport of the highest offices of the state. The new pilots belong not only to the Arma Azzurra, but also to the Army, the Carabinieri, the financial police, the police and the fire brigade. Also present was a military delegation from Saudi Arabia, one of the many foreign countries that send their aspiring pilots to Italy for cutting-edge training.
Here the video made by Lecceprima
Mattarella arrived at Galatina airport shortly before 11 am, home of the 61st Wing where the student pilots support the most advanced phase of training for combat aircraft. From there the presidential procession reached Lecce, entering the historic center from Porta Napoli and going up via Palmieri. To welcome the president at the entrance of Piazza Duomo the mayor of the capital, Carlo Salvemini, the archbishop, Michele Seccia, the president of the Region, Michele Emiliano and the president of the Province, Stefano Minerva. The ceremony lasted about 45 minutes.
Here the video produced by the Quirinale
The highlight, sealed by the overflight of four T-346 aircraft supplied to the Salento base, was the delivery of the turreted eagles to the 48 pilots: the eagle is the emblem of the Air Force while the tower, which the bird of prey carries on chief, symbolizes the republic. At the end, the president left the square on the notes of the national anthem, not before having signed the honor roll of the 61st flock (in the photo, below).
After the delivery of the patents there was the intervention of Admiral Giuseppe Cavo Dragone: “You are starting an exceptional adventure that will fill you with joy and pride – said the Chief of Defense Staff -, but it will lead you to also face numerous challenges and greater responsibilities. I am sure that your preparation will allow you to meet the expectations of the Defense and the country. Your patent is proof of how the most sophisticated technology cannot make a difference if not supported by the quality of the human element, training and teamwork, elements in which we firmly believe “.
The ceremony was concluded by the Minister of Defense, Lorenzo Guerini: “The delivery of the eagles, as we saw in this exciting ceremony, represents the culmination of a training path and, at the same time, the start of a new professional phase. In short, it is, at the same time, an end and a beginning: that is, a moment of balance and, at the same time, of expectations and plans for the future. I know for sure what is expected of you to make the sky a safe environment so that the pilot’s spirit of adventure becomes the tranquility of those who, in flight or on the ground, rely on you with confidence. It is a fascinating task that I am sure you will be up to. This is confirmed by the values that your families and parents have passed on to you and the determination and skills you have developed in the Air Force and which have brought you here ”.
The safety device is impressive, as always happens on occasions of this kind. All around the route of the visit, the ancient heart of the city continued to teem with tourists, especially foreigners, and to enjoy a beautiful September day. The previous visit of the Head of State to the Salento capital dates back to February 2017: on that occasion he attended the inauguration of the Apollo Theater and also visited the nanotechnology laboratories of the CNR and the rectorate of the University of Salento.