The garrison’s lineage is tied to the 22nd Quartermaster Regiment constituted in May 1936 and re-designated in April 1942 as the 22nd Quartermaster Truck Regiment. During World War II, the regiment participated in three campaigns in Italy earning the Army’s Meritorious Unit Commendation. In October 1945, the 22nd Quartermaster Truck Regiment was inactivated, but reactivated in October 1985 as the 22nd Area Support Group. In October 2005, all Area Support Groups in Europe were re-designated as United States Army Garrisons; the 22nd Area Support Group subsequently became the United States Army Garrison Vicenza and officially re-named USAG Italy on 3 October 2015. USAG I is comprised of two communities – the Darby Military Community (DMC) and the Vicenza Military Community (VMC). The VMC primary locations consist of two Italian Army bases (Casermas Ederle and Del Din), an army housing area, a USAREUR Ammunition Supply Point (#7), a small communications site and two leased locations.
The USAG Italy's mission is to provide base support operations and installation management services for our Soldiers, civilians, and family members by continued enhancement of family support services, dedication to mission readiness, and the enrichment of overall cultural understanding. USAG Italy conducts deployment operations in support of tenant units and onward movement of forward deployed units passing through Italy. The garrison conducts law enforcement and force protection operations and provides direct support and general support maintenance and supply support.
In 1951, the U.S. and Italy signed an agreement that the U.S. would operate lines of communication across Italy, and that the U.S. would occupy land near Livorno. This land became Camp Darby, located in Pisa, named for Brigadier General William O. Darby, who was killed in action in northern Italy on 30 April 1945.
In 1955, all U.S. occupation forces in Austria were withdrawn upon the entry into force of the Austrian State Treaty. Under provisions of the agreement with Italy, Camp Darby was the initial reception station for soldiers, equipment and supplies returning from Austria.
With Austria now neutral, northern Italy's eastern flank became vulnerable to attack. To reduce the danger in that area, the U.S. agreed to establish a force there and on 2 October 1955, the U.S. Army Southern European Task Force (SETAF) was activated. SETAF's first headquarters was on Camp Darby, but the largest number of soldiers has always been in Vicenza, Italy. Shortly after activation, USASETAF headquarters moved to Verona, Italy. Troop strength reached 10,000 and USASETAF was formally established via a U.S.-Italian agreement.
In 1959, following President Dwight D. Eisenhower's visit to Rome, a third agreement brought significant changes to USASETAF. Italy's military forces were re-established. As a result, U.S. troop strength was cut in half; equipment from disbanded U.S. units was turned over to Italy; and Italian Army personnel were assigned to the USASETAF general staff to assist with unique bi-national responsibilities.
As a result of this agreement, the 62nd Engineers and an artillery company were moved to Caserma Passalacqua. Both companies had nuclear weapons. The artillery company's Sergeant missiles had nuclear warheads and the engineering company was an ADM (Atomic Demolition Munitions) engineering unit.
The headquarters moved again in 1965 from Verona to Caserma Ederle. Caserma Ederle had already existed as an Italian post. Soldier strength dropped to 2,500 in 1970 and civilian employment went down 70 percent in a unilateral cost-reduction effort. The port opened by 8th Area Support Group in Livorno was returned to Italian control.
On 20 October 1963, the 5th Battalion (Sergeant Missile), 30th Field Artillery was activated in Caserma Ederle. LTC Ronald L. Little assumed command of the 5th Battalion, which consisted of A, B, and Headquarters batteries. The 5th Battalion, 30th Field Artillery was inactivated on 15 December 1975.
SETAF's mission and geographical area of responsibility increased in 1972 when the command enlarged its signal support unit and took control of the 558th U.S. Army Artillery Group (USAAG) in Greece and the 528th USAAG in Turkey. These units had been in support of NATO since the early 1960s, along with the 559th USAAG, which had been a USASETAF unit in Italy since 1964. The 509th Infantry Regiment (Airborne Battalion Combat Team - ABCT) was previously placed under the command of SETAF in 1973 and later inactivated in the mid-1980s; it was replaced by the 4th Battalion, 325th Infantry Regiment, part of the 82nd Airborne Division. The 4/325th ABCT was composed of three line companies (including a COHORT company) Alpha, a headquarters company, a combat-support company, and a 105mm artillery battery. A member of NATO's Allied Mobile Forces (Land), the 4/325th ABCT was the right flank element of the European front during the late Cold War and was deployable by parachute to anywhere in the region.
The 3/325 ABCT (Blue Falcons), occupied Caserma Ederle during the late 1980s as a contingent of the Southern European Task Force of the United Nations. The 3/325 ABCT specialized in airfield seizures, and one of the most likely deployment scenarios during the Cold War was to attack and gain control of an airfield behind enemy lines of the USSR to provide a point into which more forces from the U.S. could build a stronghold. They trained extensively in cold weather tactics and operations in a specialized base in Folgaria, Italy. They deployed annually to train in Turkey, usually as part of joint operations training among other airborne units within SETAF, to include the British, French, Spanish, Italian, German, Turkish, etc. They also trained extensively in Grafenwöhr, West Germany. The 3/325th was also trained as a Military Operations in Urban Terrain unit.
The primary missions of SETAF during the 1980s were the defense of the eastern Alpine passes in anticipation of a Soviet invasion, and command/control of the nuclear weapons stockpiles still located in northern Italy.
Also stationed here was the 45th Field Hospital, US Army Medical Activity (USAMEDDAC), part of the 7th Medical Command. The 45th Field Hospital was a 26-bed hospital supporting the troops stationed at Caserma Ederle. The health clinic at Camp Darby, Livorno, was supported by the 45th Field Hospital as well as the health clinic at Sinop, Turkey.
The 1st Battalion, 508th Infantry Regiment was stationed at Caserma Ederle from April 1996 until it was reflagged as the 1st Battalion, 503rd Infantry Regiment in June 2006.
Until 1992, USASETAF was considered a logistical command. In addition to the infantry units, SETAF operated a major depot at Camp Darby in conjunction with the 8th Area Support Group. With its designation as a support command and later a theater army area command, USASETAF was to be responsible for the reception, preparation for combat, and onward movement of forces entering the southern region for general war.
The political reorientation of Europe in 1989 and 1990 resulting from the end of the Cold War caused major revision of U.S. and NATO military priorities. With the drastic reduction of the threat of general war, SETAF received new missions for regional tactical operations as command and control headquarters for U.S. Army and joint units. Its three artillery groups were inactivated and the two support groups became support groups with unique missions. The 8th Area Support Group's depot operation developed into the maintenance and issue of theater reserve stocks organized in unit sets sufficient to fully equip a heavy brigade.
The 3rd Battalion of the 325th Regiment also served during this period and were successful in the campaign of "Operation Provide Comfort", during the first Gulf War in Iraq. They were commanded by Lieutenant Colonel (later General) John P. Abizaid, who later commanded U.S. Central Command (CENTCOM) from July 2003 to March 2007.
A reorganization to command structure created USAG (United States Army Garrison)-Vicenza to handle the (non-combatant forces) installation activities of Caserma Ederle.
Caserma Del Din
Caserma Renato Del Din, built on the former Dal Molin site that was vacated by the Italian air force in 2008, supports the consolidation of most of the 173rd Infantry Brigade Combat Team (Airborne) in Vicenza in line with the reorganization of the U.S. Army force structure in Europe.The $310 million Design/Build Military Construction (MILCON) contract was awarded March 28, 2008 and completed in time to support troop movement from Germany during summer 2013.
The Del Din program incorporated sustainability during planning, designing, construction and operational phases, demonstrating the importance that the U.S. Army places on the stewardship of Italian lands, turning an old airfield into one of the U.S. Army’s most environmentally friendly installations.
Del Din is the first Department of Defense installation to achieve, at a minimum, a Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) Silver Certification for an On-Campus project. In an On-Campus Project every building must meet the LEED requirements to be certified; the same prerequisites are also mandated for shared utilities, amenities, site landscape, efficiencies and infrastructures. Credits for certification ensure that the new facilities minimize environmental impact, conserve energy, provide a healthier and safer environment for Soldiers and civilians.
Archeological surveys were a necessary prerequisite before construction and the U.S. Army Garrison Vicenza hired a team of dedicated archeologists to ensure full investigation and documentation was performed under the strict supervision of the Italian regional Office for Archeology Heritage. Previously known and unknown Roman archeological remains were encountered while the prehistoric Neolithic evidence gathered is considered among the most important for that age ever discovered in Italy. The Del Din archeology discoveries have made an significant contribution to understanding human settlement in the area.
Camp Darby has had a rich history over the years. This military complex between Pisa and Livorno was formally dedicated on November 15, 1952 and was named Camp Darby in memory of Brigadier General William O. Darby.
General Darby was the Assistant Division Commander of the 10th Mountain Division who was killed by enemy artillery on April 30, 1945 on the shore of Lake Garda, Italy.
During World War II, the 92nd Infantry Division and 442nd RCT Japanese American troops were heavily involved in many battles along the gothic line in what would later become Camp Darby. During July 1944, American troops were approaching Tuscany from the south of Italy. On July 21, 1944 a 12- man reconnaissance patrol that was given orders to enter German occupied Pisa under the cover of night and return before daylight. The patrol, guided by a partisan member, were unable to make it back in time and were hidden in a farm home as German Soldiers patroled the area.
By July 19, 1944, the port city of Livorno was liberated by the Americans, but not before German troops fleeing Livorno decided to destroy the ancient lighthouse with dynamite. On July 27, the 100th Infantry Battalion was presented with the Distinguished Unit Citation Streamer by Lt. Gen. Mark Clark, Commanding General of the Fifth Army. July 28, 1944, the 442nd formed part of the Honor Guard for King George VI of England during his visit to Cecina.
In August 1944 the 442nd Infantry entered the front line along the southern banks of the Arno River by Florence. On September 1, 1944, the 100th Battalion, 442nd Infantry was online by Pisa, Italy.
The new sector was lined with mines, bobby-trapped homes and trip wires. Many were injured to include Chaplain Yamada who later wrote his account of the rescue of the lost battalion and of the heroism he saw on the battlefield to the brass back at the Pentagon.
By September 27, 1944, the 442nd went to Marseilles, France. The 92nd Infantry Division continued fighting in many battles from Florence, to Pietrasanta to Massa. Dec. 26, 1944 Buffalo Soldier Lt. John Fox would help win the battle of Sommocolonia by calling artillery down on his own position.
It took two days at sea from France to Italy, but the 442nd returned to Livorno on March 25, 1945 where they were assigned to Fifth Army and concurrently assigned to IV Corps and made part of the 92nd Infantry Division. They bivouac outside of Pisa until they were called to fight up the Linguria coast towards Massa and Lecco. April 1945, they had liberated Massa.
It took the 92nd Infantry division five months stalemate to break the German defense lines above Carrara and pursue enemy forces North along the Linguria coast, entering Genoa, Alessandria and Turin. Hostilities ceased on May 2, 1945 with the unconditional surrender of German forces in Italy.
After the liberation, U.S. forces remained in Tombolo, Leghorn and Pisa. On July 25, 1945, the 442nd became the regiment on POW guard duty for the Pisa, Leghorn and Florence area.
Many of the men of the original 442nd RCT had been through all four campaigns. The last of the original members from Hawaii left the regiment on Oct. 29, 1945. The 100th Bn was presented the Presidential Distinguished Unit Citation and the Italian Cross for Meritorious Warfare was presented to the Regimental Commander by the Italian government.
On Feb. 10, 1946, the 2nd Battalion of 442nd was deactivated.
In June 1951, the United States and Italy concluded negotiations to establish a line of communication and supply through Italy. This would result in the construction of the military post in what is now known as Camp Darby (7617 USFA Post), a general depot (7689 USFA General Depot) along with a port area (9th Medium Port) that would have the basic facilities of a logistical command. According to the 7617 USFA Support Command, in 1952 it cost 7,590,168,157 Lire or just under $12 million.
In November 1952, the depot, port, and post were separate commands. It was later seen, however, that this arrangement did not permit adequate control over the facilities and so the three were reorganized as the US Forces Austria Support Command.
In a later reorganization, the name was changed to USASETAF Logistical Command, and port and depot headquarters were eliminated.
In 1959, the Command name was again changed to USFA Logistical Command SETAF (Field). Units operating in the area include: 7617 Support Command, Quartermaster Detachment, 7617th U.S. Forces Austria Support Command, 21st Signal Co, 28th Station Hospital, 550th ENG Co. (Depot), 69th MP Co. and WAC Co.
In 1960 Camp Darby's command name was changed from USFA Logistical Command SETAF (Field) to the 8th Logistical Command. The patch was the double-headed directional arrows alluding to the unit's mission to provide forward and return transportation from any area. The eight points of the arrows are representative of the unit's numerical designation. One unique mission the 8th Log Command had was the annual maintenance inspection on locomotives of U.S. Army owned foreign rail equipment.