The Italian Alpini has a long tradition as one of the world’s elite mountain units. Within the Alpini is an even more elite unit — the 4th Alpini Parachute Regiment, a Ranger-qualified, mountain special force’s unit. The 4th Alpini Parachute Regiment can trace its origins to 1882, though its current special operations status dates from 2004. Traditionally, the Italian Alpini have recruited from those already living in the Alps, thus avoiding the need for the acclimatization which is necessary for lowlanders going through mountain training. Members of the 4th Alpini receive mountain, airborne, and ranger training, making them uniquely qualified to carry out recon and direct action missions at high altitudes.

Missions & Training
Among the more specific missions assigned to the 4th Alpini are long range recon in mountainous areas, target acquisition in mountains areas, raids and other direct action, combat search and rescue in mountainous areas, free-fall parachute insertions into the mountains’ waterborne operations on high mountain lakes, forward air controlling, evacuation of Italian citizens, close protection and various other special forces tasks. Although the 4th Alpini train for high altitude operations, they are also capable of functioning as special operations personnel in other areas of operations. The 4th Alpini are considered one of three Italian Army special forces’ units.

Once the candidate for the 4th Alpini Parachute Regiment has passed a physical test, his selection and training begins. He must complete the initial two-month Alpini training course at the Italian Alpine Training Center at Aosta. He then moves on to the four-month military parachuting course at Pisa, which includes airborne light infantry training as well as jump school. The candidate must still complete the seventeen-week Ranger course for members of the 4th Alpini.

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