The aircraft carrier Giuseppe Garibaldi, flag ship of the Italian Navy until 1999, was built by Fincantieri (Italcantieri) at the Monfalcone shipyards and commissioned in 1985. She is the fifth ship of the Italian Navy to be named after the 19th century Italian General Giuseppe Garibaldi; previous units were:
a 1861 Frigate (acquired when the unification of Italy);a 1901 Armoured cruiser;a 1937 Light cruiser;a 1961 Guided missile cruiser.
The light aircraft carrier Giuseppe Garibaldi incorporates features suiting it for the carriage and operation of V/STOL fighters which made her participate in the main international operations carried out by the Italian Navy. The first was the Restore Hope Operation in Somalia, back in 1994, to support the amphibious operations of the Italian contingent and, again in Somalia, in 1995 in support of the UN contingent as part of the UNOSOM Task Force.
From April 26 to June 17, 1999, ITS Garibaldi was deployed in the Adriatic Sea to provide operational and logistic support within the DINAK Operation in Yugoslavia. From November 2001 to March 2002 she was used as an aircraft carrier and Command Headquarters for Enduring Freedom Operation, sailing about 20,000 miles in 87 days with no technical stops. During this period, the unit performed sea control, interception and anti-access activities, as well as flight deck for the AV-8B aircraft which, together with other aircraft of the coalition, carried out support and anti-access missions in Afghanistan.
From August 29 to October 19 2006, the Italian Navy was readily deployed in Lebanon as commanding headquarters, within the Mimosa Operation first, and the Leonte Operation later.
During this time, the aircraft onboard patrolled merchant convoys on their way to Lebanon, while the unit focused on the amphibious disembarkation in south Lebanon of a contingent strong of about 1,000 soldiers from Reggimento San Marco, the Army Amphibious Corps and Special Forces.
In March 2011, during the Lebanon crisis, ITS Garibaldi participated in the Odyssey Dawn Operation as support ship and, from March 26 to July 26, she was engaged in Unified Protector Operation, in part as Command Headquarters.
As per 1970 and 1973 UN Security Council resolutions, the engagement of the coalition is aimed at controlling over the embargo of sea smuggling of weapons, and the implementation of the Libyan No-Fly Zone. On this occasion too, ITS Garibaldi proved her operational and logistic skills, covering 20,000 miles in 78 straight days.
ITS Giuseppe Garibaldi looks like a traditional aircraft carrier and was originally designed to meet the need for a high seas, anti-ship, anti-submarine unit, able to operate a considerable number of long range aircraft.
The Unit has therefore been fitted with state-of-the-art electronic equipment for Joint Task force command and control; the flight deck and the hangar have been designed to meet the needs of the Italian Navy aircraft. Everything has been tested to provide the unit full effectiveness and top stability under any sea condition.
In relation to a range of different situations, she can carry:• V/STOL «Harrier II AV-8B Plus» close support aircraft; • AB-212 ASW e NH-90 antisubmarine helicopters;• SH-3D e EH 101 medium-lift helicopters.
The Crest of the Unit is meant to pay homage to General Giuseppe Garibaldi (1807-1882), Hero of the two Worlds, brave and strong-willed maker of the unification of Italy.
The crest is ideally divided into two half rounds; in the upper part is depicted Giuseppe Garibaldi with the bowsprit in the background. On the left, the motto: “Obbedisco” (I obey), the historical answer he gave to an order he could not discuss.
In the lower part are the silhouettes from above of all the Units that bore the name “Giuseppe Garibaldi.”
The logo is surrounded by a gold coloured rope and surmounted by a towered crown with rostra, while the name of the Unit: “Incr. P.A. G. Garibaldi”, and the “OBBEDISCO” are in the lower part.