AVIANO AIR BASE, Italy — Col. Luca Cappelli is the new Italian base commander at Aeroporto Pagliano e Gori, better known to Americans as Aviano Air Base.

As commander, he’s not only responsible for Italian personnel, but also regulates a variety of U.S. operations. Cappelli assumed command from Col. Filippo Zampella in a ceremony Wednesday on base.

Cappelli, a bomber pilot with more than 2,000 hours on the F104 Starfighter and PA200 Tornado, began his air force career in 1984. He’s served two tours at Ghedi Air Base, which has a small American contingent, and has taught at Italy’s Air Force War College in Florence since 2006.

Zampella’s new assignment is at the Italian Air Force Academy in the Naples suburb of Pozzuoli.

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