Caserma Ederle

Caserma Ederle

Infobox Military Unit
unit_name=US Army Garrison Vicenza (Caserma Carlo Ederle)

caption=SETAF Headquarters and HQ for the 173rd ABCT
dates=Became SETAF HQ in 1965
current_commander=Brigadier General WILLIAM B. GARRETT III
patron=Saint Michael the Archangel

Caserma Ederle (Camp Ederle) is a United States Army post located in Vicenza, Italy. The post is the headquarters of the Southern European Task Force as well as of the 173d Airborne Brigade. Caserma Ederle serves as the headquarters of U.S. Army Garrison Vicenza, an umbrella for all U.S. properties in Vicenza. It is also the garrison for several important European-based U.S. military units. The post is named after Major Carlo Ederle, an Italian hero of World War I and recipient of the French War Cross, among other military honors.

Life on the base

A soldier assigned to a tour of duty at Caserma Ederle is normally permitted to bring family members for the Permanent Change of Station. Still, many of the military personnel assigned to Caserma Ederle are unaccompanied.

The post offers virtually all of the standard amenities present on most U.S. Military installations. There is a Post Exchange, a commissary, a theater, etc. Single or unaccompanied soldiers live primarily in barracks located on the post itself, while those personnel accompanied by dependents live in housing quarters or in Italian houses rented by the U.S. Military. The housing quarters for accompanied soldiers and their dependents are located in a separate area of Vicenza known as Villaggio della Pace (litterally "Village of Peace", but actually named after the Street passing near the Village and the Camp).


On October 25, 1955, the Southern European Task Force was first established at Camp Darby, located in Pisa, Italy.

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, named for Brigadier General William O. Darby, who was killed in action in northern Italy, April 30, 1945.

All U.S. occupation forces in Austria were withdrawn after the Austrian State Treaty was signed in 1955. Under provisions of the agreement with Italy, Camp Darby was the base for the exit of soldiers, equipment and supplies from Austria.

With Austria 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 October 2, 1955, the U.S. Army Southern European Task Force 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 moved the headquarters to Verona, Italy, to . Troop strength reached 10,000 and USASETAF was formally established with 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 had been re-established. 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 69th 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 ADOM (Atomic Demolition Munitions) engineering unit.

The headquarters moved again in 1965 to Caserma Carlo Ederle in Vicenza. 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.

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 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 assigned to the command of SETAF in 1973, and was redesignated as the 325th Infantry Regiment (82nd Airborne Division) in the early 1980s. The 325th ABCT was composed of three line companies, a headquarters company, a combat-support company, and a cohort 105mm artillery battery. A member of NATO's Allied Mobile Forces (Land), the 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 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.


The 1st Battalion, 508th Infantry Regiment served in Vicenza (on Caserma Ederle) from April 1996 until it was reflagged as the 1st Battalion, 503rd Infantry Regiment in June of 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.

Political reorientation of Europe in 1989 and 1990 caused major revision of U.S. and NATO military priorities. With the drastic reduction of threat of general war, SETAF received new missions for regional tactical operations as command and control headquarters for 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. [cite web | author =U.S. Army | url = | title =SETAF History | publisher =U.S. Army Southern European Task Force| accessdate =August 8 | accessyear =2006]

The 3rd Battlion 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 Lt.Col. John P. Abazaid, who later became the Commander of Cent. Com. of the current Gulf War to present day, as a General.(2007)

Dal Molin Planned Base Annex

The US military plans to extend the military footprint in Vicenza to include all elements of the 173rd ABCT. The new base annex is planned to be located on the disused civilian Dal Molin airport, roughly two miles from Caserma Ederle. The plan was first agreed by Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi's administration. The next prime minister, Romano Prodi, government initially opposed it, but eventually agreed to the extension plan. The expansion to Dal Molin is led by engineer Kambiz Razzaghi. The plan provoked many problems in Romano Prodi's coalition, although he concluded a new 12 point program with his allies [ "BBC", 23 February 2007 [ Italian coalition 'to back Prodi'] en icon ] . This was met by opposition from both the Italian left-wing and the nationalist right-wing, with an estimated 100,000 people marching in several protests in Vicenza against the extension plan on February 17, 2007. The Communist Refoundation Party (PRC), the Party of Italian Communists (PDCI), the Greens, and a part of the Democrats of the Left (DS) and of the Margherita parties opposed the plan by organizing a two-day-long opposition protest. Vicenza is eventually slated to be home to all six battalions of the 173rd Airborne Brigade. Currently, only two infantry battalions and portions of the brigade's two support battalions are in Vicenza, and the move would bring the total number of stationed troops in Vicenza to 5,000 [ [ Italians march in US base protest] , BBC, February 17, 2007 en icon] .


See also

*List of US military bases in Italy
*History of the Italian Republic

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