Nisei Vets’ 70th Anniversary Tour of Italy

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The following is an update from Friends and Family of Nisei Veterans (http://ffnv.org).

FFNV will be hosting a 70th anniversary tour of Italy from May 20 through June 2, 2013.

We will be visiting areas where the 100th Infantry Battalion and the 442nd Regimental Combat Team fought through Italy during World War II. The trip was conceived by Brian Yamamoto, the son of a Military Intelligence Service veteran. Brian had two uncles who were MIS and an uncle in the 442nd RCT Cannon Co.

Brian met with 442nd veteran Lawson Sakai, who has organized trips to Italy and France in past years. Brian and Lawson first met on a trip that Lawson planned in 2009 to Bruyeres, France. The two discussed areas of interest, trip duration, points of contact, and using a tested travel agency. Lawson recommended using Debra Stern of Peak Travel, who did the logistics of the 2009 trip. Peak Travel had worked with Lawson on several of the earlier European tours as well.

After arriving in Rome, we will board the bus and head to the Sicily-Rome American Cemetery in Nettuno. We will participate in a wreath-laying ceremony and visit the gravesites of 100th Infantry Battalion members buried there.

Plaque from the Curly Nakae monument at USAG Camp Darby in Livorno. (U.S. Army)

We will overnight in Anzio and visit the beaches where the U.S. 3rd Division Landings took place. We will visit the Museo Alleato in Nettuno (Museum of the Allied Landing). We will then head north through Lanuvio to Civitavecchia, which is where the 442nd and the 100th were merged together.

On May 22, we will visit Suvereto, where the city officials will confer honorary citizenship upon the tour members and veterans. The FFNV tour will present replicas of the Congressional Gold Medal to the towns of Suvereto and neighboring Belvedere, which were liberated by the 442nd.

The following day we will visit the town of Tendola to view the two monuments to the 442nd that were dedicated in 2010. We will also present CGMs to Tendola and three neighboring towns at the ceremony in Tendola. We hope to visit the Curly Nakae monument located at USAG (U.S. Army Garrison) Camp Darby in Livorno.

We will then head north to Pisa for a free day of touring there. We will have an optional hiking tour for able-bodied tourists with military historian and author Davide del Giudice, who will lead a group of up to 20 to the top of Mt. Folgorito.

Mt. Folgorito was part of Germany’s Gothic Line defenses, which had the Allied troops stalemated for five months. The 442nd did a daring nighttime climb of several interlocking mountains and overtook the fortifications in 32 minutes.

The remainder of the group will tour the cities of Massa and Carrara with a local guide. We will visit the Sadao Munemori Monument in Pietrasanta before heading to Florence, where we will have a free day to visit museums, churches, and shop.

On Memorial Day, May 27, we will be part of the ceremonies at the American Cemetery in Florence, where a dozen of the 442nd soldiers are buried.

After Florence we will go to Rome, where we will have three free days to sightsee and tour. There will be an optional trip to Monte Cassino, where the 100th earned the title “Purple Heart Battalion.” We will have a farewell dinner in Rome and depart for the airport the following morning.

The general format of the tour will be travel by bus after arrival in Rome via airline. The trip will be limited to 35 minimum with a maximum number of 47 travelers. We are staying in four-star hotels and will be at most locations two to four nights. We will be in Anzio and Civitavecchia one night each.

There will be daily breakfasts, three hotel dinners, two restaurant dinners, and two lunches. There will be a full-time English-speaking guide as well as a step-on guide for the Massa-Carrara day tour.

For more information, trip itinerary, and reservations, please contact Debra Stern at Peak Travel, (800) 999-2608.

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