Partial History of Comiso AB. - Please Add More...
Comiso Air Station
Comiso Air Station is a part of Vincenzo Magliocco Aeroporto, an Italian air base. The installation began as an aerodrome that was constructed in southeastern Sicily, at the foot of the Iblei Mountains and near the city of Comiso, between 1935 and 1938. In 1936 it was dedicated and named in honor of Major General Vincenzo Magliocco, the first Sicilian to become a general officer in the Italian Air Force. General Magliocco was killed while leading a ground reconnaissance mission during the Ethiopian War.
Magliocco Aerodromo became one of several key airdromes in southern Sicily during World War II. German forces were stationed there in 1941, as part of Italy?s Axis Alliance, and conducted air operations against Allied positions in North Africa.
Aerial bombardments by the Allies rendered the airdrome unserviceable in July 1943. Ground assault forces of the II Corps, under the command of (then) Lieutenant General Omar Bradley, captured the base on July 11, 1943. Six days later, after quick repairs to the airfield, Allied air forces began operations at Magliocco.
The airdrome remained under Allied control until American forces left in 1945. The airfield and facilities at Magliocco fell into disuse during the postwar years. In 1954 Al Italia, the Italian national airline, began commercial operations there. Al Italia left in 1973 and the airport became an Italian Air Force radio monitoring station.
On August 7, 1981 it was officially selected as the second European main operating base for Ground Launched Cruise Missiles (GLCM), deployed by the North Atlantic Treaty Organization in response to the development and deployment of new intercontinental and intermediate range missiles by the Soviet Union.
On March 17, 1982, Commander George W. Holland, of the U.S. Navy Civil Engineering Corps, arrived at Comiso as the resident officer in charge of construction.
The Air Force activated the 7024th Special Activities Squadron at NAS Sigonella in May of 1982 as a primary point of contact and liaison with the Italian Ministry of Defense regarding initial site preparations at Comiso.
These preparations included the demolition of most old Italian Air Force facilities ---completed on August 13, 1982--- and the establishment of an interim base support facility or ?porta-cabin city? for the 1983 summer arrival of the 487th Combat Support Group.
The 487th Combat Support Group was assigned to Comiso AS in May of 1983; their efforts led to the June 30, 1983 activation of the 487th Tactical Missile Wing.
Construction of permanent facilities began that summer, with the first major support facilities --- which included the first two dormitories --- completed in late 1983.
These facilities belonged to the first of three increments of construction, which would activate the wing and base in stages. The completion of the first increment of facilities brought ?Ready Merlin,? the wing?s initial group of dispersal-qualified operations, maintenance and security personnel, to Comiso on Jan 11, 1984.
The first increment was completed in the summer of 1984. The second and third increments began in 1984, but by 1985 many recreational facilities were several months beyond their original completion dates.
Such facilities could not compete with operational construction for resources---and in 1985, with droughts in the summer, flooding in the fall, power blackouts throughout---resources were minimal.
With the completion of most operational facilities in late 1985 and early 1986, the second and third increments reached the final stages of construction.
In 1986, the last major phase of construction at Comiso AS began with the start of congressionally funded support facilities, which would convert Comiso from a remote to an accompanied tour location.
In June of 1986 the Secretary of Defense approved a limited number of 24-month accompanied tours for Comiso. The first family housing units at Comiso, built under a Build-Lease program, were completed in the spring of 1987.
Jul 29 2000 10:31:09:000PM