2nd JULY 2014 – Today at Ugo Mara barracks in Solbiate Olona (VA), the home of the NATO Rapid Deployable Corps Headquarters, a ceremony took place to mark anniversary of The Battle of Pastificio and to commemorate those who lost their lives. The 21st Battle of Pastificio was a gunfight that took place in Mogadishu between Somali insurgent groups and Italian troops conducting a raid in search of weapons.
SSOLBIATE OLONA (VA), 2nd JULY 2014 – Today at Ugo Mara barracks in Solbiate Olona (VA), the home of the NATO Rapid Deployable Corps Headquarters, a ceremony took place to mark anniversary of The Battle of Pastificio and to commemorate those who lost their lives. The 21st Battle of Pastificio was a gunfight that took place in Mogadishu between Somali insurgent groups and Italian troops conducting a raid in search of weapons. During the ceremony a monument from the National Association of Italian Paratroopers (ANPd'I) was dedicated to their comrades who fought and died there – a memorial to them and all Italian soldiers who have sacrificed themselves for their country.
The ceremony was attended by the Secretary of Defence, Mr Joachim Alfano, Lt. Col. Gianfranco Paglia (Gold Medal for Military Valour), and numerous civil and military authorities, including the mayor of Solbiate Olona, Luigi Melis. NRDC commander and General of the Army Corps Giorgio Battisti, thanked the ANPd'I from Lombardy for the gift of the monument, and then recalled the events of that tragic day. "Those events still represent a warning, reminding us just how cruel some areas of the world are, and how our soldiers are required to operate in extremely critical situations". He dedicated a heartfelt thought to the fallen and to those who still bear the scars of their sacrifice.
The commander of the EU Military training mission to Somalia, Brigadier General Massimo Mingiardi, was connected by video conference. He highlighted the importance of the presence in Somalia to ensure a future of peace and security. Then Lt. Col. Paglia spoke of the event and recalled how, on that day, three boys remained faithful to their oath of allegiance to the homeland, and to the ultimate sacrifice.
Mayor Melis spoke of the Constitution recognising extra-ordinary events such as this can sometimes mark a turning point towards peace and justice among nations. He stressed that today’s ceremony is a celebration of an important act of courage from the fallen soldiers as well as Lt. Col. Paglia and others wounded in clashes at Pasta checkpoint.
Secretary Alfano said: We have an obligation not to allow these sacrifices to detract from our work towards peace, and to strengthen the pact between the State and the Army.
The ceremony ended with a helicopter jump of ANPd'I paratroopers, all of whom landed accurately on the parade square and ceremoniously presented Secretary Alfano and General Battisti Italian and NATO flags.
In the press conference, Secretary Alfano said that events like the one held today highlight Italy’s importance within the alliance, and through national and international missions the Army’s versatility is highlighted as it can be reshaped according to the needs of the mission. He also expressed the willingness of the Government to invest in NRDC-ITA, understanding its strategic importance and recognising it as an example of National integration.