Born in Civitavecchia (Rome) in 1967, RDML Marco PAPI attended the Naval Academy in Livorno where he graduated in 1990 with the rank of Ensign and a degree in Maritime and Naval Sciences.
His initial tours include flight training with the US Navy in Naval Air Station Pensacola (Florida) and Corpus Christi (Texas), where he awarded his Naval Aviator wings in 1992 (airplanes and helicopters).
Back in Italy, he reported to Naval Air Station Catania for a short training period for the qualification on AB-212 ASW (UH-1N). Since 1993 he served in the Italian Fleet as an embarked pilot on several ships and specifically as "flight commander" on board of the frigates ITS LUPO and ITS AVIERE, before reporting in 2001 as staff officer at the Italian Navy General Staff - Naval Aviation Department. In the same period, he also attended the Naval War College in Livorno (1997) and the Naval Command Course in Augusta (1998).
From 2009 to 2012, he served at the NAHEMA NATO Agency (France) in the NH-90 program as "Helicopter/Ship interface" and "Man/Machine interface" specialist.
As Naval Aviator he has flown on T-34 and T-44 aircraft and TH-57, AB-212 and NH-90 helicopters, performing about 1500 flight hours and 530 ship day/night deck landings.
Before his current assignment (March 2021) his most significant assignments have been:
- C.O. of the Support Ship Palmaria (1998 – 1999);
- EH-101 Helicopter project officer in the Navy General Staff (2001 – 2007);
- C.O. of the 5th Helicopter Squadron (2007 – 2008);
- Chief of "Flight Safety" Office in the Navy General Staff (2012 – 2015);
- C.O. of the Amphibious Assault Ship SAN GIORGIO (2015 - 2016);
- Deputy Director of the Naval Aviation Department in the Navy General Staff (2016-2017).
- Chief of Staff and Deputy Commander of the Italian Fleet Air Arm (2017 – 2021)
Major awards and decorations:
- Decoration of Knight of the Order of Merit of the Italian Republic;
- Medal for long military career;
- Medal for service with NATO on operations in relation to the former Yugoslavia;
- Medal for WEU mission for Operation Sharp Guard;
- Gold Cross for distinguished service seniority;
- Gold Medal for "Air Duty";
- Bronze medal for "Long Command Duty";
- Decoration of Merit for long service in the Navy General Staff;
- Decoration of Merit as Naval Aviator qualified for day/night ship deck operations.
Rear Admiral Papi is married with Serena and has three children, Martina (27), Andrea (23) and Gianluca (14).