IRAQ, ITALIAN TROOPS IN NASIRIYAH, 'ARIETE' REPLACES 'FOLGORE'
Brig.Gen. Piero Costantino, Commander of the Paratroopers Brigade 'Folgore' handed over the command of the Italian Joint Task Force Iraq to Brig.Gen Roberto Ranucci, Commander of the 'Ariete' Armoured Brigade. The handing over ceremony at Camp Mittica transferred responsibility to General Fabrizio Castagnetti, Commander of the Interforze Command.
The participation of Maj.Gen. J.B. Dutton, commander of MND-SE, of the Dhi Qar province governor, and of other Iraqi political and military authorities testified the importance of the event. The 'Folgore' Paratroopers trained the new Iraqi Army officers, and carried out patrolling and check points to ensure security in the province, while the MSU Carabinieri pursued the important training of the new Iraqi police. The EOD units (bomb squad) cleared the mines from a 10,000 sq.metre area.
Over the past 5 months, 6,344,518.00 USD (international funds) and 4,405,902.45 euro (national funds) were spent for the activities of the Folgore brigade for the reconstruction.
The contingent signed an MoU to hand over complete autonomy to the Iraqis in choosing opportunities and giving priority to interventions. Italian medics - reports a statement - are busy helping and curing all those in need, and have carried out 5,700 surgeries for the people of the Dhi Qar province. Seven children were taken to Italy to be cured in high level healthcare structures. The ceremony reached its apex in the touching homage, by gen. Costantino, to the memory of the crew of the 'Milan 63' Army helicopter, which crashed on 30 May, and to the memory of Sgt. Davide Casagrande, killed in an accident on 14 July.
Shortly after 7 pm, 6 paratrooper instructors jumped from two AB-412 of the 53rd Tactical Group to bring down the flags of Italy, Iraq and Rumania, and the ensigns of the two brigades. (AGI) .