Dandolo MOUT facility opens at Maniago, Italy
September 13, 2013
VICENZA, Italy - U.S. and Italian military officials gathered at Maniago Sept. 4 to officially mark the opening of a newly completed Military Operations on Urbanized Terrain facility. Known as the Dandolo site, the facility resembles a small village or living compound, and is located in close proximity to important joint training areas presently used by both Italian and U.S. forces.
"The Aviano and Maniago area is very important to the training of U.S. Army and Italian army units," said James Matheson, U.S. Army Regional Training Support Division South director.
"The area contains our most well equipped shooting range at Cao Malnisio, two excellent drop zones near Maniago, and a large training space in the Cellina and Meduna riverbeds and flood plains. Constructing this new site between the two drop zones adds an additional capability to the area and allows for airborne operations to include an urban training aspect," he said.
"This project is important because it increases the training capability in the new techniques of engagement and combat in urban areas," said Maj. Alfonso Minella, Italian army liaison to USAG Vicenza.
Participating in the ceremony were Lt. Col. Mike Ripley, Commander, Special Troops Battalion, 173rd Infantry Brigade Combat Team (Airborne); Renzo Bolzicco, Deputy Mayor of Maniago; Mark Nedzbala of Vicenza COE; Harry Kordesch of Joint Multinational Training Command; and Dr. Marco Battistella, president of the Battistella Construction¬ Company, which executed the $490,000 project under management by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Europe District Italy Resident Office.
Ripley thanked Battistella for the professional quality of the construction and in particular for the extra effort expended in completing the project ahead of schedule, which enabled the 173rd IBCT (A) to begin Expert Infantryman Badge training there Sept. 9.
Ripley and Bolzicco noted the benefits of the new training capability for both U.S. and Italian army units as well as the significance of the ongoing cooperation between the two countries to complete training support projects in Italy.
"This type of training, in recent years, has become of fundamental importance for the type of conflicts in various parts of the world. This new type of training center was not present before in the regions of Veneto and Friuli for Italian and U.S. military training," said Minella.¬
The quality of training infrastructure in Italy has significantly enhanced the ability of the 173rd IBCT (A) to conduct its home station training in Italy, said Ripley.