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"U.S. Forces Mark San Salvatore’s WWII Liberation", a commemoration of the U.S. Fifth Army's arrival in San Salvatore 68 years ago

Adm. A. Gaiani, commander, Navy Region Europe, Africa, Southwest Asia and commander, Maritime Air Naples speaks at a ceremony in San Salvatore Telesino, Italy. .

Adm. A. Gaiani, commander, Navy Region Europe, Africa, Southwest Asia and commander, Maritime Air Naples speaks at a ceremony in San Salvatore Telesino, Italy. .

Adm. Anthony Gaiani, commander, Navy Region Europe, Africa, Southwest Asia and commander, Maritime Air Naples walks with Professor Pasquale Izzo, mayor of San Salvatore Telesino, Italy.

Adm. Anthony Gaiani, commander, Navy Region Europe, Africa, Southwest Asia and commander, Maritime Air Naples walks with Professor Pasquale Izzo, mayor of San Salvatore Telesino, Italy.

San Salvatore Telesino
April 21, 2012

By Mass Communication Specialist 1st Class (EXW/DV) Jack Georges,
Navy Region Europe, Africa, Southwest Asia Public Affairs

About one hour northeast of Naples, Italy is a small, quiet town that sits in the rolling hills of southern Italy, a town that in 1943 sat at the heart of world events.

When Italy surrendered to Allied forces in 1943 during World War II, the town of San Salvatore found itself at a crossroads between German occupying forces and the Allied invasion of Italy.

After arriving in the coastal town of Salerno, U.S., British and Canadian forces headed north to liberate Italy from the occupying German army. San Salvatore was caught in the middle of a chaotic German retreat as Allied forces advanced. German forces destroyed bridges to slow the American advance and deported or imprisoned a large portion of the town’s adult population.

U.S. military personnel joined town residents April 21 in commemoration of the U.S. Fifth Army’s arrival in San Salvatore 68 years ago.

Rear Adm. Anthony Gaiani, commander, Navy Region Europe, Africa, Southwest Asia and commander, Maritime Air Naples was greeted by San Salvatore mayor Professor Pasquale Izzo, other Italian dignitaries and the cheers of local residents.

U.S. Army Alpha Company of Allied Forces South Battalion and Naples area Boy Scout Troop 007 paraded through town with the official party while hundreds of people lined the streets waving American and Italian flags to celebrate the liberation.

At the conclusion of the parade, Gaiani unveiled the town’s new memorial and dedicated it to the sacrifices made by all in the liberation of San Salvatore.

“Thank you for honoring the sacrifice of our countrymen.  We dedicate this memorial to remember the enormous costs, and through the friendship and cooperation of our Nations we will work toward Peace to prevent future sacrifices,” said Gaiani.

Gaiani noted how moments like this highlight the strength and importance of the U.S.-Italian relationship.

“The events of the past also serve as the foundation of the close relationship between the people of Italy and the United States that has flourished since those days,” said Gaiani.

When U.S. forces entered the town in October 1943, they raised the American flag to signal an end to German occupation. The flag has since been preserved in San Salvatore Telesino as a treasure of its historical heritage.