Captain Mariangela Valentini, 32, the first female fighter pilot in Italian Air Force history lost her life on the line of duty.
She was killed 5 years ago, on 19 August 2014 in a Mid-air collision of two Tornado GR4 aircraft, while flying as a pilot officer in the first seat with her navigator captain Piero Paolo Franzese alongside two crew of another Tornado, captain Alessandro Dotto, pilot, and captain Giuseppe Palminteri, navigator, All four perished instantly due to not have time to operate the ejection seats.
The body of Mariangela was found under a portion of the fuselage of her own aircraft, unrecognizable, burned out completely due to explosion flames.
It was the last to be recovered, as it was still materially attached to its ejected armed seat, and moreover, it was in a steep gully; therefore, it was not until a team of bomb disposal was possible to defuse the ejection mechanism to bringing her remains to the Lab for DNA test.
Here is a video Honoring ITAF Female Tornado Fighter Pilot Killed On Duty 19 Aug2014: Prima Donna Pilota Caccia Morti
Mariangela Valentini (born 14 Sep 1982) had been a military pilot since 2006 and was flying over the Tornado since 2009.
She had been deployed at Herat in the ISAF operations in Afghanistan, participated in NATO’s Red Flag operation in America in 2010, and had taken part in the military intervention in Libya in 2011.
In the framework of the 6th Wing, she was commander of the 395th and 396th Squadron. Valentini was the first woman in the Italian Armed Forces to lose her life in service.
She was laid to rest with full military honors alongside the other three in a public national military funeral held on Italian government while her coffin was taken by Italian female air force officers with full respect.
Panavia Tornado Mid-air collision
The contact between the two aircraft took place at around 16.30 at an altitude of about 1,000 feet, on a wooded hilly area devoid of dwellings between Casamurana, Tronzano, and Poggio Anzù di Venarotta, causing the explosion of fuel and the disintegration of equipment.