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AVIANO AIR BASE, Italy — The Department of Defense has selected Aviano’s anti-terrorism effort as its model program for 2008.

The 31st Fighter Wing earned top honors for the best installation anti-terrorism program, according to an announcement released by the wing.

"Any time your wing program is selected for a DOD award, it’s a big deal," said Bill Trevino, the wing’s anti-terrorism officer and program manager. "But this is one of those you-can’t-rest-on-your-laurels types of things."

Trevino said credit goes to dozens of individuals and units around base, Italian law enforcement authorities and the 8,000 or so Americans who make up the base’s military community.

"We need all those sets of eyes," Trevino said.

Aviano’s program first achieved recognition at the U.S. Air Forces in Europe level and was later selected to represent the U.S. European Command in the competition.

Trevino said he’s hesitant to make too big a deal about the award, because part of a anti-terrorism approach is to maintain a low profile.

That’s not always easy to do at Aviano, though. Its role in the air war over the former Yugoslavia in 1999 made the base the best-known U.S. military facility in Italy.

Italian authorities have acknowledged in the past that could make it a high-profile target for terrorism.

Trevino said the base’s notoriety means that those assigned at Aviano have to be vigilant both at home and at work.

"We want to be constantly alert," he said. "And this (award) certainly doesn’t change that."

E-mail Kent Harris at:

Note to Italy readers

Due to the Christmas holiday, Friday’s edition of Stars and Stripes edition will be delivered late. Editions of the paper were printed in Germany and flown to Italy.

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