Johnston soldier, MIA since the Korean War, finally returns home for burial

U.S. Army First Lt. Anthony R. Mazzulla's name can be found on Memorial Park monument

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The North Korean regime finally sent a long lost Johnston native home.

His fellow soldiers reported him missing in action on Dec. 2, 1950, after a fighting withdrawal from battle near the Chosin Reservoir during the Korean War.

U.S. Army First Lt. Anthony R. Mazzulla was lost for 70 years.

He’d never again see Rhode Island.

His loved ones in the Ocean State, however, have been given the chance to see him one last time.

Mazzulla, who has roots in Johnston, will be laid to rest in Cranston’s St. Ann Cemetery on Oct. 16.

His name is included on a stone marker remembering the town’s soldiers who paid the ultimate sacrifice at Johnston’s War Memorial Park.

His niece, Lois Marandola, of Johnston, is listed as Mazzulla’s familial point of contact, according to Fonda Bock, of the U.S. Army Human Resources Command, Public Affairs Office in Fort Knox, Kentucky.

Marandola has been traveling in Europe and was unavailable for comment.

And Johnston’s late long-serving Parks and Recreation Director Dan Mazzulla discovered after some research that the long lost soldier was his late uncle. The longtime Johnston coach and former standout basketball player passed away at the age of 61 in 2020 after a lengthy battle with cancer.

In May 2019, Dan Mazzula paid tribute to his uncle during a Memorial Day ceremony at Johnston War Memorial Park.

“We must always take time on this day to honor and remember those who gave their lives to protect the freedom we have always enjoyed in our great country,” he told the crowd.

Funeral services for Anthony Mazzulla will be held at Nardolillo Funeral Home in Cranston, preceding the interment.

Also listed as a native of Bronx, New York, Mazzulla was a member of Company B, 1st Battalion, 32nd Infantry Regiment, 7th Infantry Division, according to the U.S. Army.

“Following the battle, his remains could not be recovered,” the U.S. Army wrote in a press release. “He was 26 years old.”

Mazzulla’s remains were turned over to the United States by North Korea on July 27, 2018, according to the U.S. Army.

The Defense POW/MIA Accounting Agency finally identified his remains on May 28, 2020, using circumstantial and anthropological evidence, and scientists from the Armed Forces Medical Examiner System used mitochondrial DNA and Y chromosome analysis, according to the U.S. Army.

“Mazzulla’s name is recorded on the Courts of the Missing at the National Memorial Cemetery of the Pacific in Honolulu, along with the others who are still missing from the Korean War,” according to a U.S. Army press release. “A rosette will be placed next to his name to indicate he has been accounted for. More than 7,500 Americans remain unaccounted for from the Korean War.”

“On July 27, 2018, following the summit between President Donald Trump and North Korean Supreme Leader Kim Jong-un in June 2018, North Korea turned over 55 boxes, purported to contain the remains of American service members killed during the Korean War,” according to the DPAA. “The remains arrived at Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam, Hawaii on Aug. 1, 2018, and were subsequently accessioned into the DPAA laboratory for identification.”

LEARN MORE

To learn more about the Department of Defense’s mission to account for Americans who went missing while serving our country, visit the DPAA website at www.dpaa.mil, the group's Facebook page at www.facebook.com/dodpaa, or call (703) 699-1420/1169.

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