American Battle Monuments Commission’s Sicily-Rome American Cemetery commemorates 80th anniversary of Allied landings in Anzio-Nettuno
The American Battle Monuments Commission (ABMC) commemorated the 80th anniversary of Operation Shingle at Sicily-Rome American Cemetery in Nettuno, Italy, today to honor the service and sacrifice of the U.S. Armed Forces and their Allies during World War II.
ABMC welcomed local residents, along with U.S. and Italian dignitaries to pay tribute, including the U.S. Ambassador to Italy, the Honorable Jack Markell; Commander of the Commander, U.S. 6th Fleet, Vice Admiral Thomas E. Ishee; and ABMC Executive Director for Operations, Edmund Ryan.
“Our histories are forever bound by the actions of those who rest here on your shore. May our own children continue to live in the peace paid for so dearly by those interred in this hallowed ground,” declared Markell.
Sicily-Rome American Cemetery is the final resting place for more than 7,800 American military members, most of whom died during the liberation of Sicily, in the landings in the Salerno area and the fighting northward, in the landings at Anzio Beach, and the air and naval support throughout the region. Additionally, more than 3,000 names of those who went missing in these operations are etched in the white marble walls of the cemetery’s chapel.
“For more than 100 years and on this special day that commemorates the 80th anniversary of the Anzio-Nettuno landings, ABMC has had this humble privilege of remembering America’s Armed Forces by preserving hallowed grounds like this one, here, at Sicily-Rome American Cemetery,” said Ryan. “Each day at this site, we are entrusted to honor the memory of more than 10,800 service members and it is our mission to carry forth their legacy so that, no matter how many decades pass, their sacrifices are never forgotten.”
Among those service members honored at the ceremony was Sgt. Clifton E. Chancellor of Mississippi, who served in the U.S. Army’s 83rd Chemical Battalion. Chancellor was aboard HMS LST-422 along the shores of Anzio when the ship was blown off course and into a known minefield. On Jan. 26, 1944, an explosion sunk the ship and Chancellor, along with many others, was presumed lost and their remains were never recovered. His name is listed on the walls of the cemetery’s walls of the missing. His relative, Mr. Jason Chancellor, attended the event.
Additionally, students from the Istituto Comprensivo Nettuno III shared the stories of two other individuals commemorated at the site—2nd Lt. Ellen Ainsworth and Pvt. Toshio Sasano.
Ainsworth, a 24-year-old Army nurse from Glenwood City, Wisconsin, was serving as an Army nurse with the 56th Evacuation Hospital. The hospital was hit by a German artillery shell in February 1944, and despite being seriously wounded, Ainsworth continued to evacuate and treat her patients. Days later, she succumbed to her injuries. She is buried at the cemetery in plot C, row 11 and grave 22.
Sasano, a Nisei service member, was assigned to Company A, 100th Infantry Battalion. Sasano and the 100th Infantry Battalion participated in the landing at Salerno, Italy, for the Italian Campaign. He was killed in action near Cassino, Italy, Jan. 25, 1944. His remains were never recovered. His name is memorialized on the tablets of the missing at the cemetery.
This year marks the 80th anniversary of a series of Allied military campaigns that changed the course of World War II, including operations at Anzio-Nettuno, the D-Day landings in Normandy, France, in June; the landings in the south of France during Operation Dragoon in August; as well as the Battle of the Bulge in Belgium and Luxembourg beginning in December.