A delegation of Italian “Wounded Warriors”, led by Lieutenant Colonel Gianfranco Paglia, Italy’s Gold Medal of Military Valor and advisor to the Minister of Defense, visited the USA from November 28 to December 2, 2016. The delegation of Italian soldiers wounded during mission, comprised of Lieutenant Colonel Marco Iannuzzi, Command Sergeant Major Bonaventura Bove, Corporal Salvatore La Manna and Corporal Monica Contraffatto.
During the visit in Washington D.C., the Embassy of Italy and the Office of the Defense and Defense Cooperation Attaché organized several institutional, social and cultural events.
On November 30, Lieutenant Colonel Gianfranco Paglia, accompanied by Major General Luca Goretti, laid a wreath on the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier at the Arlington Cemetery. The event was attended by the Italian delegation as well as by a number of Italian military personnel in service at Italian and American agencies and American training institutes active in the Washington D.C. area.
Later in the day, a gathering with the Ambassador of Italy, Armando Varricchio also took place at the Embassy of Italy. Many American “Wounded Warriors” participated with their families, along with a number of representatives from American civilian and military institutions. This created a bond that further sealed the excellent friendly relationship between Italy and the US. During the event, in a climate of sincere goodwill and cordiality, the Italian military personnel had the opportunity to spend time with their American colleagues.
On December 1, the Italian delegation then met a large group of representatives of the Italian community at the Holy Rosary Church “Casa Italiana”. The occasion proved once more how close Italians residing in the US are to the Italian Armed Forces. This support was also noted during the recent celebrations of the Day of National Unity and Armed Forces.
Of particular importance were the visits of the Delegation to the Marine Corps Base in Quantico, Virginia, as well as the visits to the main memorials of Washington D.C., namely the World War II Memorial, the Korea War Memorial, the Vietnam War Memorial and the Memorial to Rev. Martin Luther King Jr.
The success of the initiative further consolidated the friendly and collaborative relationship established during the recent “Invictus Games”, organized in Miami in May 2016. The many events of the visit made it possible to strengthen the shared objectives and experiences of the organization and the management of the psycho-physical recovery of veterans who return from military missions in defense of safety and peace in war zones.