(Go on) "Recognising that something was wrong, he went to look and found that ... a wind was missing its carabiner and US transmitters did not have any to spare! The work stopped and the American sergeant became very angry because they did not know how to proceed.
With the colleague from Paris we approached suggesting the solution: a small wire cable to replace the carabiner. The severe US sergeant was against it because his American captain was very careful and even more severe than him: he would have punished his transmitters!
At that point I crouched down, took a tuft of grass and camouflaged the wire; then - making the gesture that Alberto Sordi made to the workers on the street (film "The bulls" of 1953, ed), I said 'captain... toh!'. Only at that point, the sergeant made his first smile by replicating the gesture of the umbrella and a 'captain... toh!!!'."
But the problems weren't over. Indeed: “Turning our eyes we saw an African American soldier who could not start the generator set. He wouldn't start with the starter...let alone turning the pulley with the rope! That poor boy had lost his strength from pulling.
The second marshal nodded to the sergeant who was getting nervous again. He took some gas and put it inside a can of Coke under the concerned and amazed eyes of the Americans. He unscrewed the screw that was on the carburetor and poured in it in the gas. The Americans were terrified to see that work, they had never done such a thing. Once the screw was closed again, the unit started at the first shot.
Since the generator in operation was missing a few shots, we advised the sergeant to change the spark plugs.
The next day two American soldiers arrived from Vicenza, one African-American and the other Caucasian, two very beautiful poles. They changed the candles and everything ended well…”.
In short, the Italian art of knowing how to get by once again left overseas colleagues speechless.
The story continues with a reflection of our lieutenant, a creative and empathetic character who - at the right moment - also knows how to prove himself to be a wise and resolute commander.
“I think that today's Army has efficient equipment and materials and a logistical organization that is absolutely not comparable to that of my times. Consequently, even the military should no longer have the need to get by as we did.
There is one certainty: the Italian soldier, even that of today, is able to get by and does not stop in the face of obstacles, the imagination and inventiveness of our people are infinite. Let's not forget that the troop component of our Army is predominantly southern... from experience I can say that the boys of the south, especially the Neapolitans, always find solutions in difficulties, also because they know how to do a little bit of everything."
It should be added that for a long time the lieutenant was employed in an Army radio link warehouse, where he had a very efficient non-commissioned officer from Naples as assistant. Who knows if he also wanted to covertly refer to him, who I quote with the initials: "EI". What a coincidence!
Read: The lieutenant's tales: "Sergeant Hartman" (first part)
Photo: web / author