Continuing international interest in the events in Sommocolonia during December 26th – 27th 1944.
The fourth official visit to Barga this afternoon by the Pratt family from the States. James Pratt, an economist from the Cornell University accompanied by his wife Mildred (she too a professor at the Cornell University but this time at Rome) .
Once again they were here to meet the Mayor of Barga, Marco Bonini, to visit Sommocolonia, the small village overlooking Barga and scene of the tremendous battle during 1944 that cost so many lives. (Frank Viviano’s article about this battle can be read here) and for James Pratt to present a short lecture on some of the background to the soldiers who gave their lives at Sommocolonia and also just what some of the survivors to that action then went on to achieve.
James Pratt’s father, Capt. Charles Pratt was stationed in this area from November 1944 till April 1945 as a member of the second Battalion stationed in the Albergo Libano. (II° Battaglione/366th Reggimento aggregato alla 92ma Divisione Buffalo)
James Pratt first came to Barga after researching in the Library of Congress for the names of the 55 soldiers from the 366th Infantry Regiment who were killed in and around Sommocolonia during December 26th – 27th 1944.
For the first time it has been possible to see what happened to some of the men who fought at Sommocolonia after they had returned to the USA. The list that was projected onto the walls of the Palazzo Pancrazi by James Pratt was long and detailed but included the names of men who then went on to become Senators, Judges, Generals, Majors and academics.
Edward William Brooke III (October 26, 1919 – January 3, 2015) was an American Republican politician. In 1966, he became the first African American popularly elected to the United States Senate. Brooke was commissioned as an officer, served five years in the Army, saw combat in Italy during World War II as a member of the segregated 366th Infantry Regiment, and earned a Bronze Star Medal.
Wade Hampton McCree, Jr. (July 3, 1920 – August 30, 1987) was an American attorney, judge, public official and law professor. He was the first African American appointed to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit and the second African-American Solicitor General in the history of the United States. After serving a four-year stint as a Captain in the United States Army during World War II, McCree entered Harvard Law School
General Frederic E. Davison, the former commanding officer of the 199th Infantry Brigade in Vietnam and later, the 8th Infantry Division in Europe. – General Davison began his distinguished career as a platoon leader and company commander in Italy as a Buffalo Soldier with the all-black 92nd Infantry Division and when he became the commanding officer of the 199th Infantry Brigade in Vietnam in 1969, he became the third black general officer in the history of the US military and the first black man to lead an infantry brigade in combat. Later on, he commanded the 8th Infantry Division in Europe, thus becoming the first black commander of an infantry division – source
Major General James F. Hamlet – James Hamlet was commissioned a Second Lieutenant of Infantry through Officer Candidate School in 1944. He saw service with the 366th Infantry Regiment in Italy. General Hamlet received numerous awards and honors including: Distinguished Service Medal Legion of Merit (with 2 Oak Leaf Clusters), Distinguished Flying Cross, Soldier’s Medal, Bronze Star Medal (with 3 Oak Clusters), Air Medals, Army Commendation Medal (with 3 Oak Leaf Clusters), Combat Infantryman Badge, Parachutist Badge, and the Master Army Aviator Badge. General James Hamlet was inducted into the Army Aviation Hall of fame in 1983.
painter and photographer – started barganews.com, the first on line news site in Tuscany, Italy back in 1996