Lieutenant Gianfranco PAGLIA, 183rd parachute regiment "NEMBO"

“Paratrooper platoon commander, part of the Italian contingent sent to Somalia as part of the humanitarian operation commissioned by the United Nations, took part with the 183rd Rgt. paratroopers to a roundup of a neighborhood in Mogadishu. During the subsequent battles, treacherously provoked by the Somali militiamen, with skill and intelligence he competed with the forces under his command to rescue some infantry combat vehicles trapped in the town. After having transported to a safe area some wounded soldiers with his armored vehicle, on his own initiative he returned to the combat area and, regardless of the incessant enemy fire, coordinated the action of his men, countering the enemy attack with the on-board armament. To make his fire action more effective, he leaned out with the entire torso out of the vehicle, exposing himself to the shooting of the snipers who hit him repeatedly. Rescued and transferred to a health facility in Mogadishu, he reacted with serene and virile behavior to the news that the injuries sustained had caused him permanent impairments. Very clear example of altruism, courage, very high sense of duty and steadfastness of mind. – Mogadishu July 2, 1993

"I volunteered for FOLGORE and I knew what it meant. I went to Somalia as a volunteer. I did what I thought was right. It was an incredible life experience, our presence there was vital for so many people. We were on a humanitarian mission and we really gave hope to those who have lost it".