World War Two veteran dies aged 102 after medical emergency en route to D-Day events in Normandy | US News

A Second World War veteran has died aged 102 while travelling to France for the 80th anniversary of D-Day.

Robert “Al” Persichitti, from Rochester, New York, served in the US Navy and was involved in the Allied operation in Japan.

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WHEC News 10 – an affiliate of Sky’s partner network NBC – reported the veteran flew overseas with the National World War II Museum Group.

After landing in Germany, the group were on a ship sailing down the coast to Normand when he had a medical emergency. He passed away on Friday 31 May.

The local broadcaster said Mr Persichitti was a radioman on the command ship USS Eldorado, and served in the Pacific Theatre, Iwo Jima, Okinawa and Guam during the Second World War.

Flowers are left at the grave of a US World War II soldier at the Normandy American Cemetery in Colleville-sur-Mer. Pic: AP Photo/Virginia Mayo
Flowers left at the grave of a US World War II soldier at the Normandy American Cemetery in Colleville-sur-Mer. Pic: AP Photo/Virginia Mayo

Mr Persichitti’s guardian Al DeCarlo told ABC News affiliate WHAM-TV: “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.”

WHEC News 10 also reported Mr Persichitti was named to the New York State Senate’s Veterans Hall of Fame in 2020.

They added he was a former teacher in the Rochester City School District and wrote an autobiography called Building an American Life in 2015.

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The Rochester chapter of Honor Flight, a non-profit organisation that transports veterans to memorials, said Mr Persichitti was “a great friend” and added they will miss him.

The National World War II Museum said on its website that according to US Department of Veterans Affairs statistics, 119,550 of the 16.4 million Americans who served in the Second World War are alive as of last year.

At Thursday’s 80th anniversary event in Normandy, French President Emmanuel Macron awarded the Legion of Honour – the country’s highest honour – to American D-Day veterans.

US President Joe Biden said the Allies landing in Normandy “turned the tide in our favour” and proved “the forces of liberty are stronger than the forces of conquest”.


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