By Chiara Mattirolo, DMC Public Affairs OfficeJune 14, 2017
LIVORNO, Italy -- In 1944, at the age of 17, Alfredo Tomassini fled from Rome when fighting between Germans and Americans intensified. In Anzio, the young man met a military police officer who accompanied him to the local U.S. commander, and thus began a lifetime working with United States Army.
Tomassini travelled with American troops to Livorno where the Americans established a camp.
"There is no work, but if you want and stay with us, you can help. We will find you something to do," said Tomassini in his last interview with Darby Military Community Public Affairs Office staff.
Tomassini was quoting an American Soldier on how he got his start working at Camp Darby.
In 1952, the Camp Darby installation was headquartered in Piazza Grande in Livorno's town center. Tomassini accepted official employment as a mechanic and grew to become the Maintenance Facilities Manager.
"I had five workshops and 120 mechanics working under my supervision," Tomassini said.
He remembered that Livorno was much different at that time than it is today.
"There was nothing at all around the actual Darby area, just woods, the few towns around were destroyed by the war, and Livorno itself was a pile of dirt," remembered Tomassini.
Tomassini had witnessed the growth and downsizing of the installation, which went from a staff of 120 mechanics to 40 when the global workforce at Darby downsized in 1970. The change meant going from 1,700 employees to about 500, he said.
Tomassini enriched his career by performing specific training in Germany, Turkey, Greece, Luxemburg and Holland.
"The U.S. Army took me as a young by and made me the man I am," said Tomassini. "The Army is part of my life, and I will keep coming and helping out as long as they let me."
Tomassini officially retired in 1993, but continued his daily commute to volunteer for several more years at the Camp Darby Motor Pool.
"I scraped over 1,100 vehicles while working as a volunteer," Tomassini said.
On June 24, 2011, one of the primary buildings used for maintenance at Leghorn Army Depot here was named in his honor. Community members say it was a joy knowing the long-time resident.
"I am honored to have known Mr. Tomassini. It was a pleasure listening to his stories about World War II, and I consider him an American (and) Italian, and an Army Soldier," said Janine Wick, Humanitarian Assistance Program Manager.
Tomassini died peacefully, fittingly, on Memorial Day 2017 after saying a goodbye to his family and friends and passing the deliveries of the Leghorn Army Depot to his younger co-workers.
"How fitting for a Soldier to pass away on Memorial Day; what an honor to who he was," added Wick.
In the final interview in 2016, when asked if he had a message that he wanted to share with young workers, Tomassini said. "Never be No. 2 or 3. Always strive to be the No. 1."