PFC Cruz F. Rios (10th Mountain Division) Memorial Plaque
Inside the church portico on an outside columnPlaque
A brass inscribed plaque mounted to the portico column.
The plaque remembers Private First Class Cruz F. Rios, a soldier in Company K of the 87th Infantry Regiment, 10thMountain Division who visited this church on Easter 1945 just before the beginning of the final 10th Mountain offensive during the Po Valley Campaign. He prayed and asked his Lord to save him. Rios survived the war and returned to the Chiesa (Church) of San Paolino, 60 years later on Easter 2005, where he told his story and thanked the congregation for their friendship during the war.
During his many returns to Italy, PFC Rios always visited the grave of his battle buddy, PFC Fred Palmer. Rios and Palmer served in battle together on the Aleutian Islands and in the Italian Campaign. Palmer was wounded on March 3, 1945 during the Company K attack on Monte della Vedetta (near Iola-Montese) as part Operation Encore. Palmer died on March 5 of his wounds and is buried in the Florence American Military Cemetery and Memorial in Impruneta, Italy. He lies in grave plot C, row 11, Grave 35.
The text on the plaque is written in Italian and English. The English reads:
“My little church, Chiesa di San Paolino. Thank you Lord
for sparing my life and thank you dear
people of Italy for welcoming me as an equal”.
- 10th Mountain Division Symbol-
PFC Cruz F. Rios (1918-2016)
10th Mountain Division
87th Infantry Regiment