Name: Gianmarco BELLINI
Rank/Branch: Major
Unit: Italian Air Force
Home City: Padua
Date of Loss: 16 January 1991
Country of Loss: Iraq
Loss Coordinates:
Status: Released Prisoner of War 03/04/01
Acft/Vehicle/Ground: Tornado
Other Personnel in Incident: Maurizio COCCIOLONE (Navigator)
Source: Compiled by Homecoming II Project  09 March 1991 from one
or more of the following: raw data from U.S. Government agency sources,
published sources, interviews. Update 2010 POW NETWORK.
SYNOPSIS: On January 16, 1991, Allied forces began concentrated air strikes
on Iraqi military targets in Iraq and Kuwait. Participating in the strikes
were U.S., British, Italian and Kuwaiti air forces. The United Kingdom had
the second largest military contingent of troops after the U.S. with
35-40,000 troops, 75 Tornado fighter/bombers, and sixteen warships.
Italian Air Force Captain Gianmarco Bellini was the pilot of a Tornado GR1
fighter/bomber which flew in the first wave of strikes. During the strike,
two Italian fighter jets were shot down, including Bellini's Toronado. It
is not possible from early reports to determine the exact locations of the
Bellini was captured by Iraqi forces. In all, seven Allied airmen were
shot down captured in the first waves of strikes.
Major Bellini was awarded The Military Valour Medal the highest award in 
the Italian army. 
Date: Mon, 07 Jun 2010 22:52:06 +0200
From: "Enrico Manfredi d'A. L. v. S."
To: "P.O.W. Network - Chuck and Mary Schantag" <>
Subject: Italian court insults POW !!!!

Dear sir and friend,

This information is to be sent to all the veterans POW all around the world ! It's a real shame!!!


In the night between 17 and 18 January, 1991, Major Gianmarco Bellini (Italian pilot) in his Tornado aircraft, took off with all the other members of the Italian wing for the first mission of Desert Storm in the airspace controlled by the Iraqi Army. Major Bellini was assigned to a squadron of fighter airplanes comprised of various nationalities (U.S. & UK). He was the only one able to complete the air refueling, while the other aircraft, hampered by weather conditions, had to come back. The mission profile provided that this action must be accomplished with a single aircraft, therefore Bellini went alone. His plane was hit by flak and he had to eject from his aircraft inside the Iraq border. He was captured by Iraqi troops. On March 3rd 1991, the offensive was then already over, he was released from Prisoner of War status.

In 2010 the Italian Armed Forces and the Court in Rome did not recognize Colonel Bellini under the status of POW because formally the Gulf war was not a "war" in the terms of the court despite the fact that he was awarded of the Valor Military Medal (the highest award in Italy Army service). In spite of the stormy weather which let forced the rest of the Italian wing to return to base, he carried on his mission alone deep in enemy territory, and after the destruction of the target his Tornado was destroyed and he fell prisoner in enemy hands, tolerating 47 days of torture and abuse. He strongly refused to divulge tactical and strategical information of the United Nations Coalition. The Valor Military Medal was actually awarded from the hands of the President of the Republic of Italy in 1991.

This decision of the floppy swinging Italian politicians is an insult t o all the Italian veterans and more an insult to the world wide community of th e Gulf War veterans who fought in Desert Storm 20 years ago.

All of us Veterans of that conflict must shout "You will never walk alone Colonel Bellini!"


original flight record of the mission