AVIANO AIR BASE, Italy --
Following the surrender of German forces in northern Italy on May 3, 1945, the British 6th Armored Division liberated the area where Gerry Cinquemani, an unofficial member of the U.S. Army, was working.
“My father, though Italian, enlisted with the Americans during the Second World War,” said Leo Cinquemani, 31st Medical Group chief of acquisitions. “I have pictures of him wearing the U.S. Army uniform, as many Italians here did during the war.”
After the war, Gerry and his wife made their way to Pompei for work and had their son, Leo, in 1949. While they lived in Pompeii, the Royal Air Force’s No. 55 Squadron moved from Udine to Aeroporto Pagliano é Gori, now also known as Aviano Air Base. In 1947, the RAF departed Aeroporto Pagliano é Gori and returned the base to the Italian air force.
“A few years later my father was offered a job at the commissary here, where he worked for the next 15 years,” Cinquemani said.
Following in his father’s footsteps, Cinquemani served in the Italian army for a year before returning to Aviano on October 1, 1970, to accept work as a civilian warehouse technician at the base commissary. In 1973 he started working for the medical logistics flight, and served in customer service, medical equipment management, contracts services, warehouse operations and acquisitions for senior base medics and commanders.
“I celebrated 50 years of working at the base this October,” he said. “I’ve met so many colleagues and friends who’ve come and gone, and seen many beautiful and bad things.”
Cinquemani currently serves as the chief of acquisitions, and is responsible for the overall operation of the medical supply, contracts, and acquisitions program. He reviews and coordinates all host nation and stateside acquisition services, manages the medical contract services and leads a four member team. His efforts are in direct support to the various patient care services available at the 31st MDG.
“Leo’s job is all about partnerships and relationships,” said U.S. Air Force Capt. Alexandre Rogan, 31st MDG medical logistics flight commander. “His understanding of this key aspect of life has permeated through his work and has elevated our team and the [31st] MDG exponentially.”
In his time at Aviano, Cinquemani received numerous command and base awards such as the NATO Meritorious Service Medal and Air Force Civilian of the Year, and has seen many historic events, mission changes, and expansions within the medical group.
In the past year alone, Cinquemani coordinated and established a vital courier service contract that saved the medical logistics flight 450 man-hours, and was essential in sourcing multiple dental and waste disposal capabilities that impacted 8.3 thousand beneficiaries. As chief of acquisitions he managed 78 supply accounts, benefiting four squadrons. Cinquemani's performance led to him being recognized twice as a squadron quarterly award recipient and once as a group award recipient.
Recently, he even received a call from Secretary of the Air Force Barbara Barrett to congratulate and thank him for his 50 years of service to the U.S. Air Force.
“Leo is the man!” Rogan said. “What more can I say? I will never forget the way he cares and loves everyone in his professional and personal life. His attitude of ‘we can get it done’ will echo through the medical logistics flight for years to come, and his legacy will continue at the [31st] MDG. Leo is the ultimate Airman.”
The Cinquemani family has been a part of the U.S. partnership with Italy since World War II, fighting and working side by side with their American counterparts. Leo Cinquemani will retire on December 31, 2020, and take a piece of Aviano’s legacy with him.
“I’ve kept in touch with so many people I’ve met over the years, and have lived through many changes,” he said. “I have a lot of history here, and many opportunities and experiences I’m happy to have had.”