In celebration of Italy’s National Unity Day and Armed Forces Day, Col. Brian Sullivan, 10th Mountain Division (LI) chief of staff, placed a wreath at the grave of World War II Italian soldier, Pvt. Rino Carlutti, Nov. 4, at the Prisoner of War Cemetery on Fort Drum, New York. (Photos by Spc. Tiffany Mitchell)
10th Mountain Division officials honor WWII Italian soldier with wreath-laying ceremony
Spc. Tiffany Mitchell
27th Public Affairs Detachment
FORT DRUM, N.Y. (Nov. 4, 2019) – In celebration of Italy’s National Unity Day and Armed Forces Day, Col. Brian Sullivan, chief of staff of the 10th Mountain Division (LI), placed a wreath at the grave of World War II Italian soldier, Pvt. Rino Carlutti, Nov. 4, at the Prisoner of War Cemetery on Fort Drum, New York.
Carlutti, a native of San Daniele del Friuli, Italy, died Oct. 17, 1944, from injuries sustained in an accident while he was held at then Pine Camp, as Fort Drum was formerly known. According to Dr. Laurie Rush, Fort Drum’s Cultural Resources manager, he was killed in a car accident while on a work detail in central New York.
Carlutti was buried at Fort Drum’s POW Cemetery, which is also the burial site for six German POWs who died during WWII. There was a second Italian POW buried at the site; however, his family paid to have his remains returned to Italy.
“At the end of the war, the U.S. did offer to cooperate with the reparations for prisoners of war (with) both the Italians and Germans, but they would ask for the families to support the cost,” Rush said. “Unfortunately, Pvt. Carlutti’s family didn’t have those kinds of resources.”
An official wreath-laying ceremony for Carlutti didn’t start until roughly five years ago. Before that, Rush placed a wreath for him out of appreciation for her time working with the Italian people and to honor Carlutti for his service.
“I had been a fellow at the American Academy in Rome in 2011,” Rush said. “Given the fabulous welcome that I received from the Italian people, I felt like I owed something to their fallen. I actually started buying a wreath and personally putting it here for Pvt. Carlutti. Not very long after that, the embassy contacted me and began a more official ceremony.”
Since then, senior leaders of 10th Mountain Division have become a part of the ceremony, placing the wreath at the grave site and rendering a salute to honor the fallen. For Sullivan, the ceremony is a time of remembrance.
“For me, it’s important to feel connected to the deep history of Fort Drum and the time of Pine Camp,” Sullivan said. “To hear the story of Pvt. Carlutti and his contributions to the North Country, given his status as a POW, was really fascinating.”
With Veterans Day weekend on the horizon, the 10th Mountain Division is gearing up for two more wreath laying ceremonies: one for the German POWs and the other for all of the division’s fallen.
“We’re getting ready to go into Veterans Day weekend, so I see Carlutti’s wreath-laying as the first critical event of the incredible outreach of the 10th Mountain Division,” Sullivan said. “We have numerous events coming up, and we’ll be able to reach upwards of 23,000 people in the local community. Our goal is to not only share the 10th Mountain Division but our history with the veterans and families of the North Country.”