By Anna CiccottiJanuary 17, 2020
VICENZA, Italy (Jan. 16, 2019) - In ceremonies held at the Caserma Ederle Chapel Jan. 16, Italian Col. Umberto D'Andria relinquished his duties as the deputy chief of staff of U.S. Army Africa and the senior Italian officer to Colonel Michele Biasiutti.
D'Andria will continue serving as the Italian Base Commander.
D'Andria, a native of Taranto and an attack helicopter pilot, served previously in challenging assignments in Afghanistan, Lebanon, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Kosovo, and Germany. Here, he had three different roles and responsibilities since arriving in November 2015. He provided steady counsel to four commanding generals, four chiefs of staff, three garrison commanders, and two deputies.
"I'm grateful for the respect they showed to me and the entire Italian staff, both military and civilian, towards the city and province of Vicenza, towards Italy and its traditions. I have always served with American leaders who paid attention, kept an open mind, and were profoundly honest intellectually," D'Andria said.
"They are all outstanding leaders, and their professionalism shows the consideration the U.S. Army has for the Vicenza installations. Personally, they showed me operational, training and family requirements can co-exist in a sustainable way, without the family having to suffer for it," he added.
Serving as the senior Italian officer in the one of the Army's most sought-after duty stations comes with many responsibilities. Enhancing relationships and interoperability with host nation partners is probably the most important duty of the IBC.
"His support has been instrumental in the continued growth of our community. For example, he helped with the consolidation of U.S. Army Africa onto Caserma Del Din. He also helped secure a new $365 million dollar housing project that will undoubtedly improve the quality of life of our Soldiers and their Families," said Brig. Gen. Eric Folkestad, U.S. Army Africa deputy commanding general, during the ceremony attended by many family, friends, and local leaders.
"Through his efforts, Colonel D'Andria helped strengthen the bond of friendship and partnership between our two nations. He continuously worked to improve relationships with the Italian workforce. He knows that people matter and that we cannot accomplish the mission without their work and support," Folkestad said.
Upon his arrival to Vicenza in 2015, D'Andria said "he sensed a need for more integration between the Italian and American community, both on post and off post". He went about organizing senior leaders engagements and team-building events, such as mayors' summits, family installation days, school exchanges, and work-force town halls that have greatly contributed to the wellbeing of the larger military community.
"Some of my best memories over the past four years include seeing the post community coming together for the family installation days, and signing a friendship covenant with the garrison commander for the local organization "Vicenza for Children," D'Andria said.
D'Andria embraced the U.S. Army's emphasis on strategic partnerships between the military community and host nation partners.
"I gave it all I've got. I hope it was enough and have not disappointed anyone," he said.
Effective Jan. 20, D'Andria's single responsibility will be in charge of the Italian Army infrastructure and security here. Duties of senior Italian officer and U.S. Army Africa deputy chief of staff are assumed by Colonel Michele Biasiutti.
Biasuitti is a native of Valdagno, north of Vicenza. Professionally, he is from the Italian Mountain infantry corps or "Alpino". He arrives with command experience at battalion and regiment level. His most recent assignment was in Kabul, Afghanistan where reported in 2018. Previous assignments include NATO missions in Bosnia-Herzegovina and Kosovo.