Gianmarco Bellini, a popular Italian Air Force officer who served with UN Coalition forces and was a prisoner of war during the 1991 liberation of the State of Kuwait, has given his jacket as a gift to the Italian Air Force Museum as a gesture of appreciation to be part of the "most just war in the modern history of the world." Gianmarco has handed over his jacket to Chief of Staff of Military Aviation Lieutenant General Pasquale Preziosa in a special ceremony attended by many diplomatic and military figures, as the last Italian air fleet returned home after being deployed to Afghanistan to serve with NATO's International Security Assistance Force (ISAF).
Captain Gianmarco Bellini recalled, during his speech at the ceremony, that he and captain Maurizio Cocciolone were captured by Iraqi forces on January 18, 1991 when their Tornado fighter bomber was shot down shortly after the launch of the war. They were held prisoners by Iraq for 47 days.
"With the greatest honor, I present my jacket which I wore during my imprisonment to the museum; a jacket that symbolizes suffering and sacrifice in the line of duty," he pointed out.
On his part, Lieutenant General Preziosa expressed his greatest appreciation to Gianmarco's service to his country and said that his jacket will be part of the Italian Air Force history. In return, Perziosa has given Gianmarco his original "certificate of imprisonment" that was issued from the International Red Cross and honorary medals for serving in Kuwait's liberation.
Lieutenant General Preziosa emphasized the historical mark of Italy's participation in Kuwait's liberation for the Iraqi aggression; the first Italian participation in a war after the Second World War. Italy, then, has engaged in many peace keeping missions in Bosnia and Afghanistan.
Preziosa and Gianmarco expressed pride of their country in taking part of the most just war in the history of modern time i.e the liberation of Kuwait.
After the liberation war, bilateral between Italy and Kuwait have gotten closer than ever.