2007 "Southern Patrol"
Scenes of our time in Italy

At City Hall in Redipuglia, these wonderful people greeted our Sharkhunters Group in the authentic dress of centuries ago - and the baby was real, a real cutie!


  
Photo upper left - our Sharkhunters group were received in City Hall by the Mayor.  Seen here are those that the camera could capture.  (Members names are U/C BOLD)
     BILL REED, US Navy destroyer veteran;
    'WOLF' WOLFERSPERGER, US Air Force, currently serving;
     Mayor Mauro Piani;
     HARRY COOPER, US Air Force (4 years) and US Coast Guard (Aux) 10 years;
    PAUL RÖSCH, Combat veteran, SS Viking Division;
     GERHARD STRAUCH.

Photo upper right - the massive Memorial to the men who fought and fell during World War One on this battlefield.  It was here that young Hauptmann Erwin Rommel earned his Pour le Merit (Blue Max).  It is said that there are more than 100,000 fallen Italian soldiers buried here, and the 373 steps of this monument makes it the largest war memorial in all of Europe.  It had been our intention to place a wreath during a short ceremony at this monument, but as we got there, a massive thunderstorm changed our plans.  Next year will be better...............

 
Above photos - our group in City Hall.  They sure provided us a beautiful translator!

  
Two photos above and below - inside the outstanding museum of World War One in Redipuglia
  

  
Redipuglia was the site of one of the first battles and certainly one of the largest and most fiercely fought in World War One.  It was here that young Hauptmann Erwin Rommel earned his Pour le Merit (the Blue Max).  The trenches are still here!  And our group roams through them at will, learning first-hand about trench warfare.

     
Three photos above - more of the trenches and weapons from World War I as well as a memorial.

  
Two photos above and two photos below - the slit trenches of WW I and we were IN them!
  

     
More weapons of this World War One battle and a small shrine.  It is an impressive place.


  
Above left - In a wonderfully friendly gesture, Mayor Piani had the American Flag flying next to the Italian Flag.
Above right - During a moving ceremony in City Hall seen in the photo above, Mayor Mauro Piani presented Sharkhunters President HARRY COOPER with this beautiful medal (photos below).  On one side are pictures of the battlefield and the memorial, on the other side are pictures of the town and surrounding area.  Only 200 of these medals have been struck and there will be no more.  One was given to the Pope, another to Sharkhunters.  This is indeed, a huge honor!
  
                  
Scenes of the battlefield                       Scenes of the towns and surrounding area

 
Photo left - our people, especially Sgt. WOLFERSPERGER, at the massive monument
Photo right - Sgt. WOLFERSPERGER presents a photo to Mayor Mauro Piani as Laura Wolfersperger looks on.

We've already seen the bunkers at the lower part of the battlefield, below are the opposing side's trenches at the top of the hill.

 

  

  





Can't you see yourself in these photos?  Don't wait!

Photo below is just a small bit of the beautiful scenery here in this part of Italy.  'Breathtaking' is not enough!
    

We can't help but to put in more photos of these magnificent Alps.  Caesar, Hannibal, Alexander the Great of centuries past and generals of the 20th Century all came through these mountains.  What history is here!
 
You can see these majestic mountains yourself - sign on for the 2008 "Southern Patrol".

Long time Member MIKE LINGNER was on this "Patrol" and he wrote:
"I had a fantastic time!  My most vivid memories were from Nürnberg, Hoffbräuhaus, Salzburg Castle and then Berchdesgaten.  I had a fantastic great time thanks to your planning, your knowledge of what worked and didn't work from previous Patrols and your exceptional handling of a large and varied group of people - what a group!  Thank you.  I would go again."

As we crossed the border from Italy into Slovenia, there were souvenir photos galore!
 
From the left - US Navy submarine veteran JIMMY KENNEDY; US Air Force active duty "WOLF' WOLFERSPERGER; Taiwan Army Medical Officer HUNG-CHE HUANG (better known to us as Krüger!).  The smiles on their faces probably tells what a great time they are having.



After we returned to our hotel in Austria and had some hours to rest and refresh, we walked a couple blocks to another hotel with a large ballroom where hundreds of veterans were enjoying the music of our friend and Member ENRICO COSTA and Marianne (photo above).  The beer flowed, the food was great and the music superb!  Then the music stopped and the leaders of the Ulrichsberg Gemeinschaft presented awards and medals to several fine people then they called Sharkhunters President HARRY COOPER to the front and appointed him Ambassador to the Ulrichsberg!  It was a total surprise and an extremely high honor.
                                        

Amid a great deal of applause, the Präsident of the Ulrichsberg Gemeinschaft presented this document, printed on fine linen, to HARRY who promised to do his best to bring honor to the office.

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