English translation by Frank McMeiken
To celebrate the mission performed by the 6° Stormo in Afghanistan, engineers from the unit painted the forward fuselage of a Tornado IDS with a graphic which portrayed, on a background in desert colours, a map of the Middle-Eastern country and the geographic location of the Mazar-e-Sharif airfield. In the upper left of the map appears the legendary emblem of the Diavoli Rossi (the badge of the 6°Stormo). A sharply angled series of images show, reading from bottom to top, the figure 1 followed by three roundels (in order, the ISAF mission badge, the tricolour roundel of the Aeronautica Militare, and finally the NATO emblem), portraying the number 1,000. The abbreviation FH (Flight Hours) completes the line, celebrating the hours flown by the aircraft and pilots of Task Group Devil. The final text, lower down, “Eyes on Afghanistan”, gives an indication of the role performed by the units during its deployment in support of the ISAF (International Security Assistance Force) mission, and refers in particular to the ISR (Intelligence, Surveillance, Reconnaissance) role which predominated. Finally, there is the profile of a Tornado, which carried the “eyes of the mission”, and an Arabic translation of the text completes the picture. The reader is reminded that the mission identified as Task Group Devil was activated in November 2008 with the departure of four Tornado IDS aircraft from their base at Ghedi (Brescia), and was concluded just short of a year later with the return of the unit’s Bandiera di Guerra (standard) to Ghedi, this occurring on 2 December 2009. The deployment involved 25 flight crews and around 200 engineers to support the operation, this total covering the total rotated throughout the duration of the entire mission. One extraordinary fact is the achievement of a serviceability rate of almost 99%, and, as defined by the present Comandante of the 6° Stormo Colonnello Vestito, “this activity, performed with success, was to the credit of the Stormo, the Air Force, and Italy ".
Special thanks to the Col. Vestito, Lt.Col. Astolfi, Lt.Col. Mignogna and the Warrant Officer Gull
Also for the perfect partnership a special thanks to the Cap. Testa and the Office Public Information (SMA Roma)
Images and text by Giorgio Ciarini