102-Year-Old World War II Veteran Robert “Al” Persichitti Dies During Trip to D-Day 80th Anniversary Event

A World War II veteran who was present at Iwo Jima when Marines hoisted an American flag over Mount Suribachi in February 1945 died on Friday while in Europe to commemorate the 80th anniversary of the D-Day invasion.

According to multiple reports, Navy veteran and New York native Robert “Al” Persichitti was said to have suffered a medical emergency while in Normandy last Wednesday.

Persichitti had planned to be present in France for the anniversary of the date when thousands of Allied troops took the beaches of northern France by storm, in the largest amphibious assault in history.

The brave veteran was 102.

According to Rochester’s WROC-TV, Persichitti made it to France last week and was sailing in the North Sea when he experienced an undisclosed medical emergency while onboard.


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He was airlifted to a hospital in Germany where he died on Friday.

Persichitti told WROC before the trip he was “really excited” to see Europe since he had served in the Pacific theater.

Persichitti joked that he only made that trip after he first checked with his cardiologist.

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The Rochester chapter of the veteran’s group Honor Flight told People magazine that it had worked to help Persichitti get to Washington for the 69th anniversary of D-Day back in 2013.

“Bob flew on Honor Flight Rochester Mission #29 in June 2013 to the memorials in Washington, D.C.,” the group’s CEO Richard Stewart said.

“He was a great friend to all of us since our hub’s founding in 2008 and a very active participant in our many activities and events,” Stewart added.

Stewart added that Persichitti was always at the Rochester airport to welcome his fellow veterans back home to New York after they were treated by Honor Flight to tours of national landmarks.

“Bob will be sorely missed,” Stewart concluded.


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He was a radio man aboard the USS Eldorado when Associated Press photographer Joe Rosenthal took his iconic photo of six Marines hoisting the Stars and Stripes over Iwo Jima on Feb. 23, 1945.

Marines did not ultimately secure the island until March 26 of that year and the fighting cost 7,000 Americans their lives.

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