Americans Join the Air War in Northern Italy While many of the Foggia graduates were transferred to the Western Front to fly with the American Expeditionary Force, about 75 remained in Italy under the command of Capt. Fiorello LaGuardia, who simultaneously held office as a Congressman from New York, and later served as Mayor of New York City. These "Foggiani" were attached to Italian bomber squadrons, mostly at San Pelaggio air base near Padua, to gain experience in bombardment and augment the understrength squadrons. These missions marked the first combat bomber operations by members of the U.S. Army Air Service and were flown in Caproni bombers. American participation was very active and several airmen received Italy's highest decoration, the Medaglia di Oro, for their combat heroism. Click here to return to the Italian Aviation in WWI Overview. Find Out More Related Fact Sheets The Foggiani Note: The appearance of hyperlinks does not constitute endorsement by the National Museum of the USAF, the U.S. Air Force, or the Department of Defense, of the external website, or the information, products or services contained therein.