By Julie A. Gardner, Special to
Stars and Stripes
European edition, Monday, November 24, 2003
Julie A. Gardner / Special to Stars and
After Umberto Armanino, left, received a certificate of
appreciation for tying yellow ribbons onto tanks that his
workers had repainted, he reciprocated with a gift for Lt.
Col. Sandy W. Pogue, commander of Combat Equipment
Battalion-Livorno. Alessandro Galeazzi acts as interpreter.
CARRARA, Italy When four U.S. tanks
were returned recently by an Italian contractor who had been hired
to repaint them, they were sporting something new.
The workers had added small yellow ribbons as a show of support
for the United States and its war on terrorism.
Last week, Army officials from Camp Darby went to meet the
workers and show their gratitude.
They showed concern by putting those bows on the vehicles,
said Lt. Col. Sandy W. Pogue, commander of Combat Equipment
Battalion-Livorno, which is based at Camp Darby. [The ribbons]
represent a safe return.
On Wednesday, he presented certificates to Umberto and Armando
Armanino, co-owners of the Import-Export Armanino auto body repair
shop in Carrara, and three of their employees to say thanks for
The garage staff began repainting military vehicles in
September, when an influx of tanks needing maintenance overwhelmed
the CEB at the Leghorn Army Depot, next to Darby, and the Army
decided to contract out some of the work. When the freshly painted
vehicles were returned later that month, they had the yellow
I was inspecting the tanks when I noticed the ribbons, said
Pogue. I was elated to find out it was local nationals showing
support for the soldiers, especially in these difficult times.
Italy has been the scene of several antiwar protests this year.
A lot of people dont support the war, but a lot do, Pogue added.
And they express [support] when they do acts like this.
I believe the troops are doing a good thing, they are giving
freedom to the people of Iraq, said Umberto Armanino, who had
placed the bows on the vehicles.
Alessandro Pucci, one of the painters awarded a certificate,
said he wished a safe return from Iraq for not only U.S. troops,
but also the Italians there.
Pucci said learning of the recent deaths of 19 Italian police,
military members and civilians as the result of a Nov. 15 blast in
Iraq was very painful, and hopes the remaining Italians stay
strong as they continue their mission so they can come home soon.
Certificates were also given to painters Vincenzo Del Chiaro
and Marco Coltelli.
Pogue said he could not say when or where the tanks with the
ribbons would be sent. But he added wherever they do go, the
ribbons will remain attached.
Julie A. Gardner is a free-lance journalist living in