A U.S. Army paratrooper with the 173rd Airborne Brigade is missing after allegedly being put under 24-hour watch and escaping from a base in Italy. 

The paratrooper, a private first class assigned to the 173rd, went missing early Friday morning while training at Aviano Air Base in northern Italy. More than 48 hours later, he remains unaccounted for, with paratroopers from the brigade searching for him throughout the town of Aviano.

Internal messages from paratroopers assigned to the 173rd Airborne Brigade viewed by Task & Purpose identified the missing soldier as a private first class who was put under 24-hour watch earlier this past week. The paratrooper allegedly ran off post, throwing his phone away before being detained. He was put in the Personnel Alert Holding Area (PAHA) facility on Aviano Air Base, with others assigned to watch him in two-person hourly shifts around the clock.

The 173rd Airborne Brigade confirmed to Task & Purpose that a soldier had been reported missing while on a training exercise at Aviano Air Base, roughly 130 kilometers from the 173rd’s headquarters in Vicenza, Italy. After initial publication of this story, Col. Michael Weisman, a spokesman for U.S. European Command, said in a statement that “We can confirm that a Soldier was reported absent by their unit while training at Aviano. The unit is attempting to contact and locate the soldier, and we appreciate the support provided by our Italian law enforcement partners.”

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According to the internal chats viewed by Task & Purpose, the paratrooper was put under 24-hour watch to make sure he did not hurt himself or harm anyone else. He apparently went missing on Friday shortly after 2 a.m. local time. Per those sources, he has been missing for more than 48 hours. Troops are looking at different locations around Aviano, including churches, hospitals and train stations. Search went overnight, with soldiers driving through the town in search of the missing soldier. A BOLO (be on the look-out) alert was sent out, according to internal texts.

The 173rd has not posted about a paratrooper being missing on any of its social media accounts. It’s not clear how many soldiers or other people are involved in the search for the missing soldier. 

Update: 3/10/2024: This story has been updated with a statement from U.S. European Command.

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