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Soldier in the Spotlight

By Sgt. Henrique Vale
First published in
SFOR Informer #73


Staff Sergeant Antonio Pinna is an ex-Bersaglieri who transferred to the Sassari. This meant exchanging the distinctive cock's plume of the Italian Infantry for the "blood and glory" (red and white) cravatte of the Sardinian Infantry. His transfer to the "Sassari", stationed in Sardinia,brought him into a brigade that boasts a long and glorious history. Now a mechanised infantry brigade, composed of the 151 battalion and the 152, the Sassari saw action in Bosnia-Hercegovina during WW1. But that is just one aspect of the Sassari's past that fed Pinna's appetite for history. When he arrived to take up this new assignment, he discovered a new passion and quickly took advantage of his position to become the brigade's military museum curate. After having discovered that "Brigata Sassari" was the most decorated Italian brigade during the conflict of 1914-1918, Pinna began to devote much of his spare time researching his army corps and their role in Italian military history. Author of a book about the "Tre Monti" battle, at the beginning of the offensive against the Austro-Hungarian empire, SSgt. Pinna today lectures regularly at press conferences and seminars, acts as technical adviser on documentaries, and also teaches. Developing his skills as a detective, he has dedicate much time in research and investigations on the ground, all over Italy, even discovering a lost Sassari graveyard in 1997.

Before coming to serve in the HQ North Brigade, MND-SE in Zetra, he prepared a special showcase of his brigade, which is about to depart on a tour of nineteen European countries. Richly illustrated by historic letters and correspodence, and illustrations of period weaponry, the showcase shows the famous Sassari shepherds knife - deemed by the soldiers of Sardinia to be more useful than the bayonet in WW1 trench warfare. Pinna has also discovered that there is one world-famous eye-witness to the actions of the Sassari - Ernest Hemingway saw them at work during the battle of the River Piave in Italy. Pinna may not go down in history as a writer of Hemingway's status but he is determined to continue carving out a place for his beloved Sassari.

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