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Chief of Italian Defence Staff

General Mario Arpino

1999 - 2001


General Mario ARPINO was born in Tarvisio (UDINE) on July 20 Th, 1937. He attended the Air Force Academy from 1956 to 1959, with the "Rostro Class".

In 1960, he graduated as a "Military Pilot" at Amendola Jet Training School.
During his career he has totalled more than 4800 flying hours on several aircraft including jet, propeller and helicopter.

He attended the Basic and Advanced Staff College Course at the Italian Air War School (Florence) and the High Strategic Defence Study College (Rome).

His first operational assignment was with the 51st Wing (Istrana), where he spent 7 years as an interceptor pilot of 218'and 22nd Squadrons until becoming the 5518' Flight Commander.

In 1967 he was assigned to the 53 nd Wing (Cameri) where he was Officer Commanding Operations of 21st Fighter squadron and subsequently of the Wing.

In 1973, with the rank of Lieutenant Colonel, he was Commander of the Electronic Warfare Squadron (Pratica di Mare Air Base).

In 1974, he was assigned to Air Staff Planning/Operations Branch (Rome) where he held different appointments and in 1976 upon promotion to Colonel, he became Chief of Plans Office.

From 1977 to 1979 he was assigned to the 46th Tactical Transport Brigade, firstly as Chief of Flight Division and later on as Commanding Officer.

Reassigned to Air Staff Planning/Operations Branch, in 1979, he became Chief of "Operation Office'', in 1980 Chief of "Plans Office" and in 1982, as Brigadier General, Deputy of Air Staff Plans/Operations Branch.

In 1986, after an assignment at Chief of Financial and General Planning Branch in the Italian Defence General Staff, he was nominated Chief of the Air Staff Plans/Operations Branch.

From 1987 to 1989, as Major General, he was Commandant of the Air Force Academy and, at the end of 1989, Deputy Commander of the 2nd Air Region.

From October 1990 to March 1991, during the Gulf War, he held the appointment of Italian Air Force Representative and Chief of Italian Air Force Liaison Unit in the Multinational Central Air Force Command (Riyadh - Saudi Arabia).

From 1991 to 1994, promoted to Lieutenant General, he was nominated Deputy Chief of Staff of the Italian Air Force.

From July 1994 to June 1995 he held the appointment of Commander in Chief of the 1st Air Region.

On June 4th, 1995, he was designated Chief of Staff of the Italian Air Force and on February 15th, 1999, he was nominated Chief of the Italian Defence Staff.

General ARPINO has been awarded the following:

  • Knight of the Military Order of Italy,
  • Knight of the Grand Cross of the Order of Merit of the Italian Republic,
  • Mauriziana Medal for Long Military Service,
  • Gold Medal for Long Air Navigation,
  • Gold Service Cross,
  • Italian Cross for the Military Operation in the Gulf,
  • Spanish Cross for Aviation Merit,
  • The Legion of Honour of France,
  • The Legion of Merit (U.S.A.),
  • 3rd Degree Medal of the King of Saudi Arabia,
  • Memorial Saudi Medal for Liberation of Kuwait,
  • Cross for 18' Class Aviation Merit,
  • Several Crosses for Merit of different Countries.
  • Distinguished Award: wounded in service.

General ARPINO is married to Anna Paola and has three children: Enrica, Alberto and Giovanna.

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