The Italian-American lost platoon of World War II

Aug 07, 2019 1686

BY: Pete Mecca

My father’s Italian parents, Leonardo and Anna Maria Mecca, resided in a small mountainous village about 50 miles east of Salerno known as Avigliano before immigrating to the United States. They sought America’s freedom and opportunity, but nothing else. Once an important center of woodworking and cutlery artisans, an earthquake in 1980 decimated Avigliano and destroyed most of the ancient buildings.

However, today Avigliano thrives as a tourist attraction with fine eateries and modern hotels, yet my grandparents’ birthplace contributed no significant role in WWII. Further north, approximately 56 miles southeast of Genoa, the hilly township of Ameglia, with a comparable population but less altitude, played a major yet mostly forgotten role during WWII. Swept under the blanket of ‘security’ for many years, the heart-breaking story of 15 brave Italian-American heroes has just recently gained its much deserved attention. And this is their story.

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