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06th Jun 2024

WW2 hero dies on way to D-Day 80th anniversary event in Normandy

Charlie Herbert

world war two veteran

The veteran had been ‘really excited’ to attend the commemorations

A 102-year-old World War Two veteran has died while on a trip to attend the D-Day 80th anniversary commemorations in the north of France.

Robert Persichitti was on board a ship to Normandy when he suffered a medical emergency.

He was then airlifted to a hospital in Germany where he sadly passed away.

The US Navy veteran was a regular attendee of D-Day commemorative events, and had said he was “really excited” about going to Normandy this year for the 80th anniversary of Operation Overlord.

Persichitti, from Fairport, New York State, had flown to Germany with his guardian Al DeCarlo and the National World War II Museum Group, WHEC News 10 reports.

From there, they took a ship sailing down the coast to Normandy, where memorial celebrations are taking place to commemorate D-Day.

DeCarlo said the veteran was “at peace” when he died, and will have “no regrets.”

He told 13WHAM: “The doctor was with him. He was not alone, he was at peace and he was comfortable. She put his favourite singer, Frank Sinatra, on her phone and he peacefully left us.

“He taught us how to live every day to the fullest and he left his tank empty.”

Persichitti served in Iwo Jima and Okinawa as a radioman on the ship, and had enjoyed being with fellow veterans before his death.

“He was a radio man on a communications ship off the coast of Iwo Jima and Okinawa,” DeCarlo said. “He met another radio man, I think he was from the Army, and they were chatting about things from 80 years ago. It was amazing to watch.”

Today (June 6) marks the 80th anniversary of D-Day, when 160,000 Allied forces troops launch an assault on France’s northern beaches.

The Normandy landings were the largest seaborne invasion in military history, and began the liberation of France, and ultimately Europe, from the Nazis.

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