THE CONTRIBUTION OF THE ARMED FORCES

Military assistance has always proved so helpful when one is faced with such a complex and unusual problem as that of having to organize an Olympic Games. It is the answer to problems such as the ready supply of equipment and transport not to speak of the availability of qualified and disciplined men who are well prepared for such a relatively brief task.
It is for this very reason that the organizers of each Olympiad have always been prompted to call on the co-operation of the Armed Forces, which have always proved particularly useful in many spheres, for the supply of technical equipment and manpower. It must likewise be admitted that one of the most difficult problems to be faced in such an arduous task as that of an Olympiad is the limited choice of fields from which to find personnel and transport.
Thus, when in June 1955 the City of Rome was honoured with the assignment of the Games of the XVII Olympiad, the Organizing Committee, apprehensive of these very difficulties, applied to the Ministry of Defence for assistance and was successful in obtaining its complete and valued co-operation.
It was then planned to constitute an Olympic Military Detachment so that duties and displacement of the military forces within the framework of the organization could be co-ordinated.
This body gradually brought together personnel and transport placed at disposal by both the Ministry of Defence and the Organizing Committee of the Games under a single Command.
It was thus possible to agree on a series of preliminary duties which led, in January 1957, to the official constitution of the projected Olympic Military Detachment.
The requests of the Italian National Olympic Committee led to the holding of special meetings by experts to assess the volume of material that could be supplied by each of the services of the Armed Forces.
In March 1958, now that the Olympic Military Detachment had been formed, attempts were intensified to arrive at decisions and agreements, among these being the co-operation of the Italian Navy for the organization of the Olympic yachting competitions.
On 15th January, a first operating nucleus of the Olympic Military Detachment came into being under the jurisdiction of the Chief of Staff for Defence.
The nucleus was entrusted with precise liaison tasks with the Organizing Committee of the Games.
Staff establishment
Among the main tasks of this Detachment was that of consultation with the Organizing Committee for all questions regarding the provision of transport, materials, and personnel by the Armed Forces, as well as the study of the various problems in connection with the organization of the Games insofar as this concerned the Armed Forces. More particularly, it was decided to draw up a plan whereby the Detachment's duties were extended to undertake the finding of appropriate personnel and materials, including communication networks and transport.
The staff establishment was progressively prepared and was completed shortly before the opening of the Olympic Games, namely, during the first week of August. At the time, the Olympic Military Detachment consisted of 387 Officers, 476 non-commissioned officers, 3,384 servicemen, and all the materials and transport necessary for the performance of its duties which included road and water transport means, engineering equipment, communication equipment, hygiene services, commissariat and veterinary services.
A valuable contribution of personnel and transport was also made to the Medical service by the Italian Red Cross which had asked to be incorporated into the Detachment, a request which was accepted.
To give a complete idea of the extent of the contribution made by the various services of the Armed Forces, in addition to the establishment of the Olympic Detachment, it should be noted that substantial numbers of units from the Army were made available when required for carrying out of extra special duties. Thus, for example, an additional contribution was: 700 soldiers for the Marathon, 300 soldiers for the Road Walk events, 300 soldiers for the carrying out of works, plus some hundreds of soldiers from the Territorial Military Commands of the Central, Southern, and Sicilian Military Regions who were used for the organization of the Olympic Torch Relay.
A special study was made to ascertain what material was required for furnishing purposes and the classification of transport. From a display of all barrack and field material available, a mixed committee chose what, in quality, was considered to be in line with requirements. Having also selected the quantity and types of transport required in accordance with the request made by the Organizing Committee, it was decided that in order to complete full requirements the Organizing Committee should have recourse to the hire of such additional transport as was necessary from private companies.
In May 1959, all problems in connection with the basis for co-operation having been solved, a general agreement was stipulated between the Ministry of Defence and the Organizing Committee laying down the main principles of military co-operation within the Olympic organization.
Once in possession of all essential details, the H.Q. of the Olympic Military Detachment began working out the structural composition of units which was based on the following main principles: – creating an organization capable of meeting the many requirements in the most flexible and speedy manner, setting up within the H.Q. of the Detachment only such offices strictly limited to functions of direction and supervision of each branch of activity and ensuring that these subordinate commands were devoid of bureaucracy; – ensuring the maximun economy of personnel and limiting choice to specialized personnel having practised sport and having a genuine interest in sport; – dividing up the personnel into units in accordance with the structural policy of the Army; – avoiding the creation of complicated service and administrative control by drawing on personnel, in as far as possible, coming from the Military Territorial Command of the Central Region or from territorial units of other services of the Armed Forces.
Due consideration having been given to the duties involved, the personnel, after careful selection, was grouped into an H.Q. with two Sections: an Operative Section composed of 5 Groups embodying the men and equipment from all services of the Armed Forces to be used in generic services relative to events of a general nature; a Technical Sports Section composed of 6 Groups embodying men and equipment from all services intended to perform the same service throughout the entire period of the Games (in the Olympic Village, during competitions, in stadia and sports arenas etc.) and to carry out special technical duties (course and obstacle stewards etc.).
In accordance with a proposal put forward by the Organizing Committee and having found it opportune to supply the personnel attached to venues and the Olympic Village with a special sports uniform— which even though clearly indicated that they belonged to the Armed Forces might prove better adapted to the sports setting and the special services for which they were responsible—, it was agreed that the following should be adopted: – an " Olympic uniform" for officers and non-commissioned officers on duty in the Olympic Village or in contact with foreigners; – a special " Olympic overall" for servicemen on duty in the Olympic Village or in venues; – a " badge " to be worn by all members of the Olympic Military Detachment on the left hand pocket of the normal military uniform.
The executive phases
The contribution of the Olympic Military Detachment may be summarized as being a total of 378,247 working days (men X no. of days on duty) divided up into three phases.
Organizational Phase (from 15th January 1959 to 14th March 1960). During this period of time, the Olympic Military Detachment not only worked out the establishment of its various units but was responsible for the technical planning of works entrusted to it by the Organizing Committee and also collaborated in the organization of various events and ceremonies. In addition, in agreement with the Technical Officials of each individual Sports Federation concerned, it arranged for the necessary services to be performed in competitions and the number of personnel required for that purpose.
Preparatory Phase (from 15th March 1960 to 24th August 1960). Here the Olympic Military Detachment carried out the works previously planned and approved by the Organizing Committee and the Military Authorities.
This implied the building of some 13 kilometres of roads as well as the preparation of the obstacles to be lined along the equestrian course at Pratoni del Vivaro. In addition, they completed the following: the laying of a Bailey bridge on rafts and weighing 24 tons across the river Tiber together with the necessary ramps of access along the banks; the repair of a stretch of the Old Appian Way and the construction of a ramp at the Roman Foruni to allow the passage of the Olympic Torch; the building of some 900 metres of road giving access to the new training range for clay pigeon shooting in the region of Casalotti Nuovi; the drilling for water in various areas and the digging of a water-well at Tor di Quinto; the setting up of stands to accomodate over 40,000 persons and the preparation of a camping site to accomodate 3,136 persons in military tents.
In order to train the personnel, a special manual was produced which gave a general guide on the sports venues, the city, and instructions on behaviour etc.
Operating Phase (from 25th August to 11th September 1960). A time when the contribution of the Olympic Military Detachment was in full force and which can be summarized as follows: Olympic Torch. In addition to the collaboration of the Italian Navy which transported the Olympic Torch from Turkolimano to Syracuse on board the Training Ship " Amerigo Vespucci ", Army personnel helped in the organization and the carrying out of the Relay which carried the torch from Syracuse to Rome. This collaboration consisted of the training of 300 military torch-bearers able to cover the 1,500-metre stages in 5'30" (of these, only 35 were actually used between Matera and Potenza); in identifying and placing identification boards by the 17th August at the 1,176 stages along the 1,516 kms of road from Syracuse to Rome for the Olympic Torch Relay; in transporting torch-bearers from the " provincial assembly points " to the place of departure at each single stage; in arranging to pick up torch-bearers who had completed their stage; in arranging fixed and mobile links along the course and, lastly, arranging to pick up identification boards once the Olympic Torch had passed.
Miscellaneous Events: Particularly qualified and specialized officers collaborated in ensuring the preparation and supervision of the sports venues and in providing technical assistance as planned in advance and according to the requirements of the Organizing Committee.
The Olympic Military Detachment was also responsible for the preparation and supply of personnel (sailors) for the classification, storage, and manoeuvring of the flags of the 84 participating nations, for the raising and lowering of flags in the Olympic Village, at the Opening and Closing Ceremonies of the Games, at all the prize-giving Ceremonies for winners in all the sports venues as well as personnel to fire the ritual cannon salvoes during the Opening and Closing Ceremonies. In addition, the Olympic Military Detachment had charge of the 1,200 carrier-pigeons coming from the Military pigeon-house and which were released during the course of the Opening Ceremony.
Mention must also be made of the supply and use of 20 arc-lamp stations for the illumination of courses during evening competitions, the lighting effects produced during the Closing Ceremony, in the folkloristic shows organized by the E.N.I.T. (Italian State Tourist Office) and on the occasion of the grand final reception at the Pincio Gardens.
Within the Hospitality Section at the Olympic Village, in addition to supplying a large part of the furniture and furnishing material for the lodgings of the athletes and accompanying personnel on the basis of a free loan, the Armed Forces contributed to the organization and functioning of the Village with managing and executive personnel which was used respectively in the management of the Village, in the lodging section, and in the provisioning section, with Officers, non-commissioned Officers, and men.
A reserve camping site for 3,136 persons, intended for the reception of young persons coming from countries participating in the Games, was organized on the " Stella Polare " site which covered an area of some 14 hectares.
In the same area provision was made for a sector capable of receiving some 10,000 guests, in the case of the possible arrival of tourists in greater numbers than those forecast.
The tenting and services supplied by the Army were in the region of 250 new tents of the "5 × 5 general service " type, each with a capacity of 16 persons in double-tier beds.
Other important works undertaken by the Olympic Military Detachment were the drainage and setting in order of the training range for pistol shooting which had become unexpectedly flooded, the searches for water and subsequent drilling of wells in those areas where water was required for the watering of ground intended for use in equestrian events, the moving of stands, and setting up barriers etc.
In the information field
In the information field, the Olympic Military Detachment attended to the transmission of news on the events to judges, to classifications etc. The transmissions were relayed by means of communication links organized by the Detachment and which consisted of fixed and mobile radio networks, microwave link networks, and telegraphic networks. These tasks called for the use of about 400 specialized technicians, 90 radio sets, 13 micro-wave link radios, 358 telephones, 10 telephone exchanges, 300 kms of telephone cable, 40 teleprinters, 2 telegraph exchanges, several Bauscher generators of 15 Kw for the supply of the current necessary for the functioning of the signalling and chronographic apparatus.
The personnel responsible for transmissions recorded a total of 78,024 working hours.
Great importance was attached to the telephone networks, which, on account of their dependability and clearness, were preferred in all cases where the time factor was not of primary importance.
The radio networks were used only in cases where the nature of the ground, time, or the particular character of the event being reported did not permit the use of telephone links. This meant, in effect, that radio was used for all those events taking place over long distances, such as the Marathon, the Road Walks and Cycling events and, above all, the transportation of the Olympic Torch from Syracuse to Rome.
The radio network of variable frequency (F.M.) was generally preferred to that of high frequency (M.A.). The particular field in which and for which it operated, the clearness of reception and the urgency of the news explained the preference given to this type of radio transmission which produced really admirable results. In the case of certain events, the variable frequency constituted the only means of communication capable of assuring the regular following and the prompt transmitting of results.
The telegraph networks, realized with the use of some 30 " Olivetti" T 2 ZN on permanent military circuits by cable or on corresponding lines with the microwave link radio circuits, were the most heavily operated of the whole information network. These were in use for linking all the competition venues with the News Collection Centre and from here to the foreign and Italian newspaper Agencies.
The approximate daily volume of traffic borne by the military communication networks during the period from 24th August to 11th September was particularly intense.
The peak periods of radio traffic were recorded during the Cycling, Road Walk and Marathon events whilst the maximum load of telegraphic occurred during the Modern Pentathlon, the Equestrian 3-Day Event, and for the Press Services.
In connection with the type of messages received or transmitted, it should be stressed that compilation of these was not governed by any pre-prepared rules of procedure; the text, as concise as possible and often consisting merely of the names of athletes and numbers indicating the extent or timing of their achievements, alone being considered important.
Both the organization and operating of the motor transport service was entrusted to military personnel. In accordance with the requirements of the Organizing Committee, the H.Q. of the Olympic Military Detachment supplied personnel to the Transport, Traffic, and Parking Section, working in close collaboration with it for all the heavy demands of transport.
In addition to its collaboration in technical and organizational fields, the Olympic Military Detachment also added to the Medical Service for assistance to athletes by contributing transport and personnel to it. In this connection, it attended to the setting-up and operation of many first aid services for the public. Acting in accordance with specific requests, it placed at the disposal of the Medical Directorate 50 medical Officers, 200 non-commissioned Officers and soldiers, one " Dogliotti " surgical ambulance, 25 motor ambulances, 5 mobile baths and 3 helicopters for transportation of the injured. Reference to this will be found in the chapter dealing with " Medical Assistance ".
Services rendered in competition arenas
The Olympic Military Detachment also collaborated in the venues by placing at the disposal of the various Sports Federations over 1,150 specialized personnel destined to play their part in the running of the events on the programme.
For a number of Olympic events, such as athletics and cycling, the personnel was used to help in matters pertaining to the Organizing Committee whilst in other events the personnel had tasks of a definitely determinative nature, in the phases of organization, execution and direction alike. Here, special mention should be made of the services rendered by experts in the Modern Pentathlon, which included: competition stewards, obstacle stewards, saddling and weighing-in stewards. Other personnel was supplied for the training and grooming of horses, assistance at obstacles, along the course and at the classification indicator boards; others were used within the venues and for attending to communication links.
The Detachment also provided personnel for the equestrian competitions and in particular for the 3-Day event who were trained to act as field stewards and obstacle judges as well for communication services.
Services of a particular and specific nature were provided for the target shooting events both for staffing and directing in the shed and in the ditch at the classification centre and others in the two shooting ranges of Umberto I and Cesano. Lastly, services on land and water were provided for the rowing events which included attending to communications as well as assistance to athletes and craft.
To sum up, the co-operation and contribution of the Armed Forces to the Organization and towards the actual competitions of the Games of the XVII Olympiad may be considered as determinative and conducted to the entire satisfaction of the Organizing Committee. At all times during the memorable days, all members of the Olympic Military Detachment gave ample proof of discipline, of sincere sports enthusiasm, and conscious self-sacrifice.
On September 15th 1960, immediately after the Closing of the Games, the Minister for Defence and President of the Organizing Committee passed in review the units of the Olympic Military Detachment lined up on the large square in front of the Palazzo dello Sport and expressed to them their admiration for the splendid work carried out during the Games of the XVII Olympiad.
Military assistance has always proved so helpful when one is faced with such a complex and unusual problem as that of having to organize an Olympic Games. It is the answer to problems such as the ready supply of equipment and transport not to speak of the availability of qualified and disciplined men who are well prepared for such a relatively brief task.
It is for this very reason that the organizers of each Olympiad have always been prompted to call on the co-operation of the Armed Forces, which have always proved particularly useful in many spheres, for the supply of technical equipment and manpower. It must likewise be admitted that one of the most difficult problems to be faced in such an arduous task as that of an Olympiad is the limited choice of fields from which to find personnel and transport.
Thus, when in June 1955 the City of Rome was honoured with the assignment of the Games of the XVII Olympiad, the Organizing Committee, apprehensive of these very difficulties, applied to the Ministry of Defence for assistance and was successful in obtaining its complete and valued co-operation.
It was then planned to constitute an Olympic Military Detachment so that duties and displacement of the military forces within the framework of the organization could be co-ordinated.
This body gradually brought together personnel and transport placed at disposal by both the Ministry of Defence and the Organizing Committee of the Games under a single Command.
It was thus possible to agree on a series of preliminary duties which led, in January 1957, to the official constitution of the projected Olympic Military Detachment.
The requests of the Italian National Olympic Committee led to the holding of special meetings by experts to assess the volume of material that could be supplied by each of the services of the Armed Forces.
In March 1958, now that the Olympic Military Detachment had been formed, attempts were intensified to arrive at decisions and agreements, among these being the co-operation of the Italian Navy for the organization of the Olympic yachting competitions.
On 15th January, a first operating nucleus of the Olympic Military Detachment came into being under the jurisdiction of the Chief of Staff for Defence.
The nucleus was entrusted with precise liaison tasks with the Organizing Committee of the Games.

Staff establishment

^Top
Among the main tasks of this Detachment was that of consultation with the Organizing Committee for all questions regarding the provision of transport, materials, and personnel by the Armed Forces, as well as the study of the various problems in connection with the organization of the Games insofar as this concerned the Armed Forces. More particularly, it was decided to draw up a plan whereby the Detachment's duties were extended to undertake the finding of appropriate personnel and materials, including communication networks and transport.
The staff establishment was progressively prepared and was completed shortly before the opening of the Olympic Games, namely, during the first week of August. At the time, the Olympic Military Detachment consisted of 387 Officers, 476 non-commissioned officers, 3,384 servicemen, and all the materials and transport necessary for the performance of its duties which included road and water transport means, engineering equipment, communication equipment, hygiene services, commissariat and veterinary services.
A valuable contribution of personnel and transport was also made to the Medical service by the Italian Red Cross which had asked to be incorporated into the Detachment, a request which was accepted.
To give a complete idea of the extent of the contribution made by the various services of the Armed Forces, in addition to the establishment of the Olympic Detachment, it should be noted that substantial numbers of units from the Army were made available when required for carrying out of extra special duties. Thus, for example, an additional contribution was: 700 soldiers for the Marathon, 300 soldiers for the Road Walk events, 300 soldiers for the carrying out of works, plus some hundreds of soldiers from the Territorial Military Commands of the Central, Southern, and Sicilian Military Regions who were used for the organization of the Olympic Torch Relay.
A special study was made to ascertain what material was required for furnishing purposes and the classification of transport. From a display of all barrack and field material available, a mixed committee chose what, in quality, was considered to be in line with requirements. Having also selected the quantity and types of transport required in accordance with the request made by the Organizing Committee, it was decided that in order to complete full requirements the Organizing Committee should have recourse to the hire of such additional transport as was necessary from private companies.
In May 1959, all problems in connection with the basis for co-operation having been solved, a general agreement was stipulated between the Ministry of Defence and the Organizing Committee laying down the main principles of military co-operation within the Olympic organization.
Once in possession of all essential details, the H.Q. of the Olympic Military Detachment began working out the structural composition of units which was based on the following main principles: – creating an organization capable of meeting the many requirements in the most flexible and speedy manner, setting up within the H.Q. of the Detachment only such offices strictly limited to functions of direction and supervision of each branch of activity and ensuring that these subordinate commands were devoid of bureaucracy; – ensuring the maximun economy of personnel and limiting choice to specialized personnel having practised sport and having a genuine interest in sport; – dividing up the personnel into units in accordance with the structural policy of the Army; – avoiding the creation of complicated service and administrative control by drawing on personnel, in as far as possible, coming from the Military Territorial Command of the Central Region or from territorial units of other services of the Armed Forces.
Due consideration having been given to the duties involved, the personnel, after careful selection, was grouped into an H.Q. with two Sections: an Operative Section composed of 5 Groups embodying the men and equipment from all services of the Armed Forces to be used in generic services relative to events of a general nature; a Technical Sports Section composed of 6 Groups embodying men and equipment from all services intended to perform the same service throughout the entire period of the Games (in the Olympic Village, during competitions, in stadia and sports arenas etc.) and to carry out special technical duties (course and obstacle stewards etc.).
In accordance with a proposal put forward by the Organizing Committee and having found it opportune to supply the personnel attached to venues and the Olympic Village with a special sports uniform— which even though clearly indicated that they belonged to the Armed Forces might prove better adapted to the sports setting and the special services for which they were responsible—, it was agreed that the following should be adopted: – an " Olympic uniform" for officers and non-commissioned officers on duty in the Olympic Village or in contact with foreigners; – a special " Olympic overall" for servicemen on duty in the Olympic Village or in venues; – a " badge " to be worn by all members of the Olympic Military Detachment on the left hand pocket of the normal military uniform.

The executive phases

^Top
The contribution of the Olympic Military Detachment may be summarized as being a total of 378,247 working days (men X no. of days on duty) divided up into three phases.
Organizational Phase (from 15th January 1959 to 14th March 1960). During this period of time, the Olympic Military Detachment not only worked out the establishment of its various units but was responsible for the technical planning of works entrusted to it by the Organizing Committee and also collaborated in the organization of various events and ceremonies. In addition, in agreement with the Technical Officials of each individual Sports Federation concerned, it arranged for the necessary services to be performed in competitions and the number of personnel required for that purpose.
Preparatory Phase (from 15th March 1960 to 24th August 1960). Here the Olympic Military Detachment carried out the works previously planned and approved by the Organizing Committee and the Military Authorities.
This implied the building of some 13 kilometres of roads as well as the preparation of the obstacles to be lined along the equestrian course at Pratoni del Vivaro. In addition, they completed the following: the laying of a Bailey bridge on rafts and weighing 24 tons across the river Tiber together with the necessary ramps of access along the banks; the repair of a stretch of the Old Appian Way and the construction of a ramp at the Roman Foruni to allow the passage of the Olympic Torch; the building of some 900 metres of road giving access to the new training range for clay pigeon shooting in the region of Casalotti Nuovi; the drilling for water in various areas and the digging of a water-well at Tor di Quinto; the setting up of stands to accomodate over 40,000 persons and the preparation of a camping site to accomodate 3,136 persons in military tents.
In order to train the personnel, a special manual was produced which gave a general guide on the sports venues, the city, and instructions on behaviour etc.
Operating Phase (from 25th August to 11th September 1960). A time when the contribution of the Olympic Military Detachment was in full force and which can be summarized as follows: Olympic Torch. In addition to the collaboration of the Italian Navy which transported the Olympic Torch from Turkolimano to Syracuse on board the Training Ship " Amerigo Vespucci ", Army personnel helped in the organization and the carrying out of the Relay which carried the torch from Syracuse to Rome. This collaboration consisted of the training of 300 military torch-bearers able to cover the 1,500-metre stages in 5'30" (of these, only 35 were actually used between Matera and Potenza); in identifying and placing identification boards by the 17th August at the 1,176 stages along the 1,516 kms of road from Syracuse to Rome for the Olympic Torch Relay; in transporting torch-bearers from the " provincial assembly points " to the place of departure at each single stage; in arranging to pick up torch-bearers who had completed their stage; in arranging fixed and mobile links along the course and, lastly, arranging to pick up identification boards once the Olympic Torch had passed.
Miscellaneous Events: Particularly qualified and specialized officers collaborated in ensuring the preparation and supervision of the sports venues and in providing technical assistance as planned in advance and according to the requirements of the Organizing Committee.
The Olympic Military Detachment was also responsible for the preparation and supply of personnel (sailors) for the classification, storage, and manoeuvring of the flags of the 84 participating nations, for the raising and lowering of flags in the Olympic Village, at the Opening and Closing Ceremonies of the Games, at all the prize-giving Ceremonies for winners in all the sports venues as well as personnel to fire the ritual cannon salvoes during the Opening and Closing Ceremonies. In addition, the Olympic Military Detachment had charge of the 1,200 carrier-pigeons coming from the Military pigeon-house and which were released during the course of the Opening Ceremony.
Mention must also be made of the supply and use of 20 arc-lamp stations for the illumination of courses during evening competitions, the lighting effects produced during the Closing Ceremony, in the folkloristic shows organized by the E.N.I.T. (Italian State Tourist Office) and on the occasion of the grand final reception at the Pincio Gardens.
Within the Hospitality Section at the Olympic Village, in addition to supplying a large part of the furniture and furnishing material for the lodgings of the athletes and accompanying personnel on the basis of a free loan, the Armed Forces contributed to the organization and functioning of the Village with managing and executive personnel which was used respectively in the management of the Village, in the lodging section, and in the provisioning section, with Officers, non-commissioned Officers, and men.
A reserve camping site for 3,136 persons, intended for the reception of young persons coming from countries participating in the Games, was organized on the " Stella Polare " site which covered an area of some 14 hectares.
In the same area provision was made for a sector capable of receiving some 10,000 guests, in the case of the possible arrival of tourists in greater numbers than those forecast.
The tenting and services supplied by the Army were in the region of 250 new tents of the "5 × 5 general service " type, each with a capacity of 16 persons in double-tier beds.
Other important works undertaken by the Olympic Military Detachment were the drainage and setting in order of the training range for pistol shooting which had become unexpectedly flooded, the searches for water and subsequent drilling of wells in those areas where water was required for the watering of ground intended for use in equestrian events, the moving of stands, and setting up barriers etc.

In the information field

^Top
In the information field, the Olympic Military Detachment attended to the transmission of news on the events to judges, to classifications etc. The transmissions were relayed by means of communication links organized by the Detachment and which consisted of fixed and mobile radio networks, microwave link networks, and telegraphic networks. These tasks called for the use of about 400 specialized technicians, 90 radio sets, 13 micro-wave link radios, 358 telephones, 10 telephone exchanges, 300 kms of telephone cable, 40 teleprinters, 2 telegraph exchanges, several Bauscher generators of 15 Kw for the supply of the current necessary for the functioning of the signalling and chronographic apparatus.
The personnel responsible for transmissions recorded a total of 78,024 working hours.
Great importance was attached to the telephone networks, which, on account of their dependability and clearness, were preferred in all cases where the time factor was not of primary importance.
The radio networks were used only in cases where the nature of the ground, time, or the particular character of the event being reported did not permit the use of telephone links. This meant, in effect, that radio was used for all those events taking place over long distances, such as the Marathon, the Road Walks and Cycling events and, above all, the transportation of the Olympic Torch from Syracuse to Rome.
The radio network of variable frequency (F.M.) was generally preferred to that of high frequency (M.A.). The particular field in which and for which it operated, the clearness of reception and the urgency of the news explained the preference given to this type of radio transmission which produced really admirable results. In the case of certain events, the variable frequency constituted the only means of communication capable of assuring the regular following and the prompt transmitting of results.
The telegraph networks, realized with the use of some 30 " Olivetti" T 2 ZN on permanent military circuits by cable or on corresponding lines with the microwave link radio circuits, were the most heavily operated of the whole information network. These were in use for linking all the competition venues with the News Collection Centre and from here to the foreign and Italian newspaper Agencies.
The approximate daily volume of traffic borne by the military communication networks during the period from 24th August to 11th September was particularly intense.
The peak periods of radio traffic were recorded during the Cycling, Road Walk and Marathon events whilst the maximum load of telegraphic occurred during the Modern Pentathlon, the Equestrian 3-Day Event, and for the Press Services.
In connection with the type of messages received or transmitted, it should be stressed that compilation of these was not governed by any pre-prepared rules of procedure; the text, as concise as possible and often consisting merely of the names of athletes and numbers indicating the extent or timing of their achievements, alone being considered important.
Both the organization and operating of the motor transport service was entrusted to military personnel. In accordance with the requirements of the Organizing Committee, the H.Q. of the Olympic Military Detachment supplied personnel to the Transport, Traffic, and Parking Section, working in close collaboration with it for all the heavy demands of transport.
In addition to its collaboration in technical and organizational fields, the Olympic Military Detachment also added to the Medical Service for assistance to athletes by contributing transport and personnel to it. In this connection, it attended to the setting-up and operation of many first aid services for the public. Acting in accordance with specific requests, it placed at the disposal of the Medical Directorate 50 medical Officers, 200 non-commissioned Officers and soldiers, one " Dogliotti " surgical ambulance, 25 motor ambulances, 5 mobile baths and 3 helicopters for transportation of the injured. Reference to this will be found in the chapter dealing with " Medical Assistance ".

Services rendered in competition arenas

^Top
The Olympic Military Detachment also collaborated in the venues by placing at the disposal of the various Sports Federations over 1,150 specialized personnel destined to play their part in the running of the events on the programme.
For a number of Olympic events, such as athletics and cycling, the personnel was used to help in matters pertaining to the Organizing Committee whilst in other events the personnel had tasks of a definitely determinative nature, in the phases of organization, execution and direction alike. Here, special mention should be made of the services rendered by experts in the Modern Pentathlon, which included: competition stewards, obstacle stewards, saddling and weighing-in stewards. Other personnel was supplied for the training and grooming of horses, assistance at obstacles, along the course and at the classification indicator boards; others were used within the venues and for attending to communication links.
The Detachment also provided personnel for the equestrian competitions and in particular for the 3-Day event who were trained to act as field stewards and obstacle judges as well for communication services.
Services of a particular and specific nature were provided for the target shooting events both for staffing and directing in the shed and in the ditch at the classification centre and others in the two shooting ranges of Umberto I and Cesano. Lastly, services on land and water were provided for the rowing events which included attending to communications as well as assistance to athletes and craft.
To sum up, the co-operation and contribution of the Armed Forces to the Organization and towards the actual competitions of the Games of the XVII Olympiad may be considered as determinative and conducted to the entire satisfaction of the Organizing Committee. At all times during the memorable days, all members of the Olympic Military Detachment gave ample proof of discipline, of sincere sports enthusiasm, and conscious self-sacrifice.
On September 15th 1960, immediately after the Closing of the Games, the Minister for Defence and President of the Organizing Committee passed in review the units of the Olympic Military Detachment lined up on the large square in front of the Palazzo dello Sport and expressed to them their admiration for the splendid work carried out during the Games of the XVII Olympiad.