C6F Commander Commemorates Memorial Day
By Commander, U.S. Naval Forces Europe- Africa/ Commander, U.S. 6th Fleet Public Affairs
CARTHAGE, Tunisia – Vice Adm. Frank C. Pandolfe, Commander, U.S. 6th Fleet and Commander, Striking and Support Forces NATO, commemorated Memorial Day at a ceremony at the North African American Cemetery, May 28.
During the ceremony, Vice Adm. Pandolfe paid tribute to the courage, bravery, and leadership of the servicemen and women buried at the facility and those who remain missing from the North African Campaign during World War II.
“This beautiful place honors the 2,841 men and women who rest here and the souls of 3,724 service members who are officially listed as missing; those who individually and collectively gave the last full measure of devotion to our nation,” Vice Adm. Pandolfe said to the more than 200 guests who attended the ceremony.
The U.S. cemetery, managed by the American Battle Monuments Commission, contains 27-acres of headstones, monuments, and meticulously kept grounds that serve as a monument for all who fought and died during North African Campaign in 1942-43.
The North African Campaign was a critical turning point of World War II, allowing Allied forces under the command of then-Lt. General Dwight D. Eisenhower to get a foothold on the continent by defeating Field Marshall Erwin Rommel’s Axis forces. The months-long campaign eventually led to the surrender of Rommel’s forces in North Africa and set the stage for the invasion of Sicily.
At that stage of the war, American troops had not yet seen battle. But that was soon to change, as U.S. Ambassador to Tunisia Gordon Gray explained. “Americans… experienced the horrors of war, many for the first time, and through much baptism by fire and perseverance, learned many of the hard lessons that would subsequently make them successful two years later on the beaches of Normandy.”
The North Africa American Cemetery and Memorial in Carthage, Tunisia, is one of 24 permanent American military burial grounds on foreign soil administered by the American Battle Monuments Commission.
U.S. 6th Fleet headquarters is located in Naples, Italy. It conducts a full range of maritime security operations and theater security cooperation missions in concert with coalition, joint, interagency, and other parties in order to advance security and stability in Europe and Africa.