In today’s Pic of the Day, we see two Italian soldiers running in front of an M60A1 tank, which was part of “Column Alpha.” This was during the Battle of Checkpoint Pasta in Mogadishu, Somalia, on July 2nd, 1993. The incident is sometimes also known as the Battle of the Pasta Factory. This was a firefight between elements of the Italian Army and Somali rebels and is notable as being the first real military skirmish conducted by the Italian Army since the end of World War II.

At that time in Somalia, various checkpoints and strongholds tended to be named after everyday objects and common places. Checkpoint Pasta was near a deserted Barilla pasta factory by the intersection of 21 October Street and Imperial Street in Mogadishu.

Somali rebels, led by General Mohammed Farah Aidid, ambushed Italian forces at that location. The event turned out to be a prelude to US involvement in the Battle of Mogadishu in October.