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May 27 2024

JFCNP Conducts a Tour of Monte Cassino in Commemoration of 80th Anniversary of Allied Operations

MONTE CASSINO, Italy - Members of various allies, staff and military branches of JFC Naples conducted a joint allied battlefield tour of five historic sites historically associated with the allied campaign of Monte Cassino on 20 May 2024.

A total of 32 allied officers and non-commissioned officers participated in the tour. The sites visited were the military memorial of Mignano Monte Lungo, site, the infamous Gari (Rapido) River Crossing, The Commonwealth Cemetery of Cassino, the ruins and ghost town of San Pietro di Infine, the Polish cemetery and memorial site followed by the Abbey of Monte Cassino.

Two military veteran historical guides led the group at each site. Both guides represent two veteran non-profit organizations: Shawn Winter, USN (Ret) of the Veterans of Foreign Wars (VFW) Post 12159 “Monte Cassino” and Luigi Settimi, Italian esercito veteran and representative of the 3rd Infantry Division Association, Italy chapter. Both guides led the groups at each stop to provide understanding and historical significance of each battlefield site.

Group Photo at Commonwealth Cemetery at Cassino.  
San Angelo di Theodice, Gari ("Rapido") river crossing.

The battlefield tour was made possible by the support of the US National Service Element, Armed Forces South Battlalion, the 3rd Infantry Division Association of Italy, and Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 12159. The intent was to promote a joint, allied understanding the lessons learned from both sides. It was also important to learn about historical impacts and significance of the Second World War on the development of allied joint military operations as they are today.

The first allied WWII Italian campaigns included recently liberated and reconstituted Italian forces and other allies from multiple countries. They combined to liberate Italy from foreign occupation and facism. It is important to remember that the founding of the NATO alliance was built from the lessons learned of combing and reconstituting forces after the Second World War.

Museum and walk to Audie Murphy grotto at Monte Lungo Memorial and Battlefield site. 

The group learned the importance of an allied common defence, combined arms operations, understanding effects of the terrain and weather on operations, effects of joint fires, protection of civilians, protection of cultural property—all of which are applicable to NATO allied operations today.

The Monte Cassino joint allied battlefield tour is part of the 80th Anniversary commemoration activities and events planned for 2024 and 2025, which includes a monthly docuseries on key battles and topics, and opportunities to visit historic sites and commemoration events planned in local communities across Italy.

Luigi Settimi, 3rd Infantry Division Association Historian, provides a historic overview of the impacts of the war on the population of San Pietro di Infine.

Story by JFC Naples Public Affairs Office

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Via Madonna del Pantano
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Giugliano in Campania, Naples, Italy

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