The United States Armed Forces own and operate command posts all over the world, including several overseas in Europe and Asia. One such base is Caserma Ederle, also known as Camp Ederle, located in Vicenza, Italy. Caserma Ederle is primarily an Army-controlled base, but also houses soldiers from other branches of the U.S military as well.
Caserma Ederle is located around 25 miles west of Venice, Italy. It is a smaller base, with scaled down versions of regular military facilities and programs. Those who are stationed at Caserma Ederle often live off-base due to housing restrictions. The base itself includes: Post Exchage (PX), Commissary, Theater, Clubs, Welfare programs, Recreational Opportunities.
The base is home to the U.S Army Health Clinic-Vicena, which currently serves a population of more than 8,000 personnel. It is also home to the Vicenza Exchange, the largest mall complex south of the Alps. The mall offers a wide variety of facilities such as a one hour photo, florist, tailor, Laundromat, barber shop, food court, and car rental.
Soldiers assigned to serve on Caserma Ederle are normally allowed to bring their families when assigned under Permanent Change of Station. Many of the soldiers living there, however, are unaccompanied. Soldiers living in the base unaccompanied typically live in barracks located on Caserma Ederle’s grounds or in government-leased housing in the local community. Soldiers who come to Caserma Ederle accompanied by their families or dependents often choose to live on base in housing quarters. On base housing is limited, however, due to Caserma Ederle’s size. Housing units for accompanied soldiers and their dependents are located in separate, gated areas of Vicenza known as Villagio della Pace, meaning “Village of Peace.” Single offices, more often than not, live on the economy.
Vicenza is one of the most scenic locations of any Armed forces command posts. It is located near the historic Venice, Italy, and just south of the Swiss Alps. Vicenza has a population of just over 160,000 people. It is home to several world-famous cultural and architectural landmarks such as The Basilica. Outside of its thriving cityscape are vineyards, farms, and industrial land developments.
Caserma Ederle originally existed as an Italian post for the Italian army. However, in 1963, the 62nd Engineers and its artillery company were moved to Caserma Ederle from Verona. Since then, the base has had a number of assignments. During the 1980s its main goal was to protect the Alpine passes from Soviet invasion and control the nuclear weapons stockpiles located in Northern Italy. Caserma Ederle was also home to the 45th Field Hospital, US Army Medical Activity, which was part of the 7th Medical Command.
In the 1990s, the 1st Battalion, 508th Regiment serves in Caserma Ederle. It acted as a logistical command until 1992. It helped with the operation of infantry units and managed a major depot at Camp Darby in conjunction with the 8th Area Support Group. It became responsible for the reception of armed forces as well as their preparation for combat.
During the Gulf War, Caserma Ederle’s main task was carrying out the campaign known as “Operation Provide Comfort.” Led by Lieutenant Colonel John P. Abizaid, the base served as a sort of backup to forces operating in Iraq.
Today, the army base acts as the backbone to several units, including the U.S Army Africa Headquarters, the 173d Airborne Brigade Combat Team, the 21st Theater Sustainment Command-Italy, the U.S Army Health Clinic, and Camp Darby, located in Livorno, Italy.
Units Housed at Caserma Ederle: SETAF Infantry Brigade, 1/508th Infantry (ABCT), 509th Signal Batallion, 14th Transportation Battalion, 22D Area Support Group, USARHC-Vicenza, Armed Forces Network.
Aviano Air Force Base in Northeast Italy. This base conducts and supports air operations in Europes southern region.
Naval Air Station Sigonella in Sicily, Italy. Sigonella is a frequent stop for U.S airlifters coming from the United States to Southwest Asia.
Camp Darby in Livorno, Italy. Cap Darby is the largest US base outside of US territory.
Today, Caserma Ederle acts as the headquarters for United States Army Africa (USAREF), formerly known as the Southern European Task Force (SETAF). The USAREF is the United States component command of Africa Command, also known as AFRICOM. AFRICOM was created under the recommendation of Donald Rumsfeld in February of 2007 and the authorization of Robert Gates in December of 2007. It was formally activated on October 1, 2008. Its official mission statement explains:
“U.S. Army Africa, as the Army Service Component Command for U.S. Africa Command, enables full spectrum operations while conducting sustained security engagement with African land forces to promote security, stability, and peace. As directed, deploys a contingency headquarters in support of crisis response.”
AFRICOM covers the entire African continent with the exception of Egypt, which is under the direct supervision of USCENTCOM. Its only engagement so far has been in Libya, assisting with military intervention during the Libyan rebellion. Its current Combatant Commander is General Carter F. Ham, while its Deputy for Military Operations is Vice Admiral Charles Leidig. It employs roughly 3,600 soldiers, including intelligence personnel. All branches of the military are represented in AFRICOM, most notably with Army: Africa, making it a unique military program. It has also formed several subordinate programs, such as:
The State Partnership Program, which connects the U.S National Guard to different African nations for military training and relationship-building.
Operation Odyssey Dawn, the first major combat deployment directed by Africa command.
Africa Partnership Station, the U.S Africa Command’s primary maritime security engagement program.
Joint Combined Exchange raining, the multi-national exercise designed to coordinate and build relationships between security forces assigned to the Trans-Saharan region of Africa.
These programs have proven very valuable in the stabilization of African nations over the past decade as well as the coordination between both United States and international forces abroad.
Caserma Ederle has become one of the most crucial of the United States’ military bases. Over the years it has developed as an asset to the United States military, strengthening its presence overseas and working to keep relationships with both Europe and Africa strong.