Rear Admiral (LH) Ettore Socci is the Force Commander of Operation SOPHIA from June 12, 2019.

Born in Taranto on the 1st of April 1967, he joined the Italian Navy in 1985. After four years, he graduated at the Naval Academy, earning a degree in maritime and naval sciences.

From 1990 to 2001, he served as operational officer on board of several warships, ranging from small frigate up to destroyer, sailing in Mediterranean Sea, Persian Gulf, Atlantic and Indian Ocean. As Lieutenant, he commanded the water tanker “Brenta”.

From 2001 to 2004, he served ashore as Head of “Electronic Warfare” branch at the Studies and Projects department in the Italian Navy General Staff. During that period, he was national representative for the “NATO EW TRIALS” 2001, 2002 and 2003 and project leader for the “NATO EW TRIALS” 2004.

He attended the 7th Joint High Level Staff Course at the Defence High Studies Centre in Rome (2004-2005). Later, he went back on board, firstly as executive officer of the frigate “Maestrale” (2005-2006), then as Commanding Officer of the oil tanker “Stromboli” (2006-2007).

In 2007 he was back ashore and served as Head of “general staff” branch at the General Office of the Italian Chief of Defence.

After a four-year term, in 2011 he was appointed Head of “Policy & Concepts” branch at the Italian Military Representation to the European Union Military Committee in Brussels. In the period 2013-2014, he participated in the drafting of the EU Maritime Security Strategy, carried out by the “Friends of the Presidency (FoP) Group” of the Council of the European Union. During the Italian presidency semester, he co-chaired the FoP group, drawing up the EU Maritime Security Strategy Action Plan.

Back in Italy from September 2015 to June 2017, he commanded the Augusta naval station, providing logistic and maintenance support to the Italian warships and their crews based and transiting in the military harbour in Sicily. During the same period, he was President of the Navy Officers Club in Augusta.

From July 2017 to December 2018, he served as Military Assistant to the Operation Commander in Operation SOPHIA (EUNAVFOR MED).

Socci awards’ include commemorative crosses for operation “Enduring Freedom” in Afghanistan, for operation in Somalia, for peace mission “SFOR” in Bosnia, for NATO Operation “Sharp Guard, Maritime Monitor, Maritime Guard”, and for WEU Operation “Sharp Vigilance” in former Yugoslavia.

Ettore SOCCI is married and has one son and one daughter. His favourite motto is: “not one who begins but the one who perseveres”.