PCS Guide: 31st Fighter Wing, Aviano Air Base, Italy

GOODFELLOW AIR FORCE BASE, Texas -- Aviano Air Base is a NATO base under U.S. Air Force administration and is home to the 31st Fighter Wing.

The wing's mission is to deliver combat power and support across the globe to achieve U.S. and NATO objectives.

The 31st FW maintains two F-16 fighter squadrons capable of conducting offensive and defensive air combat operations. It is also the only American fighter wing south of the Alps and is therefore critical to operations in NATO's southern region.

In peacetime, the 31st FW prepares for its combat role by maintaining aircraft and personnel in a high state of readiness. The 31st FW also includes the 603rd Air Control Squadron, capable of providing air surveillance, control and communications.

Located in northern Italy, the climate is subtropical and humid, marked by hot, wet summers and moderately cold winters.

Aviano Air Base was established by the Italian government in 1911, and was used as training base for Italian pilots and construction facility for aircraft parts.

During World War I, Italy used the airfield in missions against the Austro-Hungarian and German armies.

During World War II, both the Italian Air Force and the German Luftwaffe flew missions from the base. British forces captured the base in 1945; they conducted air operations there until 1947, when the Italian Air Force resumed operational use of the airport. The Italian Air Force used the base until 1954.

At that time the U.S. and Italian governments signed a joint-use agreement making the base a member of NATO.

In 1992, the 401st Tactical Fighter Wing moved to Aviano. In 1994 Hurricane Andrew destroyed Homestead AFB, Florida and the 401st was deactivated and replaced by the 31st Fighter Wing, which had been at Homestead AFB.

(Aviano Air Base history and information are gathered from historical facts. Courtesy of the 17th Training Wing Public Affairs.)