MARINE CORPS AIR STATION CHERRY POINT, N.C. --
Members of the Italian Air Force arrived at Cherry Point May 31 to participate in Bold Quest, a joint operation exercise which began May 23.
Exercise Bold Quest 13-1 is a series of capability and assessment events which will test the interoperability of Mode 5 Identification Friend or Foe.
The Italians with Rome’s 14th Wing and 8th Squadron arrived from Pratica Di Mare Air Base in Rome in a Boeing-767 Areonautica Militare in a nonstop flight that lasted more than 10 hours.
“This is our first time in Cherry Point,” said Italian Air Force Maj. Federico Gentilucci, the chief operations officer of Rome’s 14th Wing. “We all learned how to fly in the states so being here is going to be great for us.”
The exercise provides 2nd Marine Aircraft Wing and air station personnel an opportunity to train with their NATO allies and sister services.
“In Cherry Point, we are able to provide a service to any aircraft no matter what the size or nation is,” said Steven Lewis, an airfield management specialist with air operations on Cherry Point.
Over 40 passengers and crew with cargo for Bold Quest began their visit by going through a customs phase, which is required by any aircraft coming from overseas to their first point of entry, in order to clear them for their stay.
The air station will provide station facilities and resources as well as the use of Marine Corps Auxiliary Landing Field Bogue and Outlying Landing Field Atlantic. Both landing fields will provide expeditionary environments for participants.
After being cleared through customs, the Italians were given a place to stay and meet other members of Bold Quest.
“It’s always a pleasure to be in the United States,” said Gentilucci. “We are really looking forward to participating in this.”
Bold Quest is scheduled to conclude June 29.