Maj. Gen. Pilot Gianni Candotti was born in Enemonzo (Udine), Italy on 18th July 1961. From 1980 to 1984 he attended the Italian Air Force Academy and earned a bachelor degree in Aeronautical Sciences from Naples University. In 2005 he was granted a Political Science Degree from Trieste University.
In 1984 he earned his Pilot Wings on T-38 aircraft attending the ENJJPT program in Sheppard AFB (USA).
He was assigned at the 46th Air Brigade in Pisa as 50th Sqn pilot. From 1985 to 1988 he took part to several military operations, including the Libyan crises (1986) and the Gulf War supporting the Italian Navy contingent (1987).
In 1988-1992 he was assigned at the 70th Wing in Latina as Instructor Pilot, Section Commander and then 406th Flight Commander.
In 1992 he was assigned at the 14th Wing in Pratica di Mare (Rome) and he qualified on different air assets performing Navigation Aids Calibration, Electronic Warfare, Air to Air Refueling and Strategic Airlift.
In 1993 he was posted at the NAEW Force Component in Geilenkirchen (Germany) as Aircraft Commander, Instructor and Evaluator on the Boeing NE-3A aircraft. He was eventually appointed as 2nd Squadron Deputy for Operations. During his assignment in Germany, he took part to the air operations over the Balkans and he contributed to the establishment of the Balkan CAOC in Vicenza.
In 1997 he was appointed as 8th Air Squadron Commander, 14th Air Wing, Pratica di Mare AFB.
Then he was assigned at the Italian Air War College in Florence, where he performed several duties, such as the Chief of Academics Department and Classes’ Commander up to 2002.
In 2002, he was appointed as 14th Air Wing Deputy Commander and then Wing Commander. During his tenure, many operations and exercises were executed, including a Wing detachment deployment in Asmara (Eritrea), tasked by the UN to recognize and plot the contested border line between Ethiopia and Eritrea.
In 2004 he was assigned to the ItAF Force Command as Division’s Chief.
In 2006 he joined the Joint Defence Staff, as Chief Strategic Direction and Civil Military Cooperation Division.
In 2009-2010 was deployed at the ISAF Headquarters in Kabul where he served as Director Air Plans, Projects, Partnering and Deputy Chief of Staff Stability. He was also appointed as Chief of Elections Task Force, coordinating security issues associated to the 20 August 2009 Afghan Presidential Elections. In cooperation with the Afghan Ministry of Transportation and the Afghan MoD, he contributed to the reconstruction and development of Afghan Civil and Military Aviation.
In 2010 he was posted to the Joint Defence Staff, Plans and Policy Department, as Deputy Departments’ Chief delegated for Military Policy an Armaments Control. During his tenure he was appointed to the NATO Senior Officials Group in charge for the NATO Command Structure Review. He was also appointed to the NATO High Level Group tasked to develop the 2010 Defence and Deterrence Posture Review.
In 2012 he was assigned to the Air Staff, as Chief of Plans and Policy Department.
He was appointed Commander of the Air Operations Command (COA) on 28 September 2016 and he became Director of the European Personnel Recovery Centre (EPRC) on the same date.
During his career, he logged 6300 total flying hours of which 1500 wartime and 2000 instructing in basic/advanced flying courses.
He speaks English and French.
He attended several courses, among which:
– Basic and Advanced Staff Courses at the Italian Air War College;
– 3rd ISSMI Course (Joint Services Staff College);
– 7th Military French Forces Staff College;
– Senior Leaders Seminar at the Africa Centre for Strategic Studies in Washington;
– Key leader training for “flag officers” posted to ISAF mission;
– European Union Senior Mission Leaders course in Belgium.
Among the several medals and decorations received, of note:
– Gold Decoration for crews in combat flights, Electronic Warfare Ops;
– Bronze Decoration for crews in combat flights, AAR Ops;
– NATO Medal for Bosnia Ops
– NATO Medal for Afghanistan Ops;
– French forces “Ordre du Mérite”.
He has been happily married since 1987 with Ms. Gianfranca Salvadori (a Naval Shipyard Business Manager) and they have two children, Victor (26, Naval Engineer) and Michelle (20, professional pianist).