VICENZA, Italy -- U.S. Army Southern European Task Force, Africa (SETAF-AF), U.S. Army Garrison Italy, 173rd Airborne Brigade, Italian military and civilian leaders across the Vicenza community, joined the guest of honor, Paola Del Din, at the 10th anniversary of the opening of Caserma Del Din military installation in Vicenza, June 30, 2023.
U.S. Army Maj. Gen. Todd R. Wasmund, commanding general of SETAF-AF, kicked off the event by thanking guests for their attendance.
“We are so grateful to work and train here, which is all made possible by all of you, your leadership and your continued support,” said Wasmund.
Caserma Del Din is named after Renato Del Din, an Italian infantry officer killed during World War II and posthumously awarded the Italian Gold Medal for Valor. Del Din's sister, Paola, also fought as a member of the allied Italian resistance during the war, earning a Gold Medal for Valor.
Ms. Del Din honored her brother during the event by wearing his medal awarded for heroic actions in combat. Next to his medal, she wore her Medal of Honor featuring a parachute emblem which she called the "baby parachute.” This symbolized her seven combat jumps during WWII.
Prior to the war, Ms. Del Din graduated from the University of Padua with a degree in literature. Once the war started, she entered the ranks of the Venetian Resistance with her older brother, Renato. He would fall a few months later in Tolmezzo, during a daring action against a fascist militia barracks. After her brother's death, she became even more involved in the anti-fascist struggle. In honor of her brother, she assumed the name of "Renata," fulfilling numerous and risky assignments. She will turn 100 on August 22, 2023.
"It is heroes and heroines like her and her brother for which we can be grateful," said Wasmund. "We have to rely on our partnership to make sure we are ready to protect the freedom we enjoy."
Caserma Del Din is built on the former Dal Molin Italian Air Force Base which was vacated in 2008. Today, Del Din houses SETAF-AF headquarters, three battalions of the 173rd Airborne Infantry Brigade Combat Team, as well as the 509th Strategic Signal Battalion.
"I would like to thank Maj. Gen. Todd R. Wasmund for carrying out this important ceremony in the presence of the main local authorities," said Italian Army Maj. Gen. Ugo Cillo, deputy commander of Comando Forze Operative Nord. "[This is] a ceremony which further strengthens the bonds, friendship and mutual respect between Americans and the Italian community of Vicenza."
Distinguished guests included: