PROVIDENCE, R.I. — The remains of an Army officer from Rhode Island killed during the Korean War are coming home for burial more than 70 years after he was reported missing.
Army 1st Lt. Anthony R. Mazzulla was scheduled to arrive at Rhode Island T. F. Green International Airport on Tuesday, and a burial service is scheduled for Saturday at St. Ann’s Cemetery in Cranston, The Providence Journal reported.
His niece, Lois Marandola, 66, was born five years after her uncle died, but because of her close relationship with her grandmother Jennie Mazzulla — Mazzulla's mother — feels as if she knew him.
His mother vowed to St. Anthony not to eat meat on Tuesday for the rest of her life, Marandola said.
“I just really can’t even believe this is happening,” Marandola said. “Hearing stuff from my grandmother, and knowing the vow that she made. ... You just don’t think it’s going to happen, and here we are, 70 years later.”
Mazzulla, a member of Company B, 1st Battalion, 32nd Infantry Regiment, 7th Infantry Division, was reported missing in action on Dec. 2, 1950, during the battle of Chosin Reservoir in North Korea, according to the Defense POW/MIA Accounting Agency, which announced last month that he had been accounted for.
His remains were among 55 boxes of remains turned over to U.S. authorities following the July 2018 meeting between President Donald Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un.
Mazzulla was identified by the Defense POW/MIA Accounting Agency's laboratory through DNA and anthropological analysis, as well as circumstantial evidence.
Mazzulla was born in New York City but moved to Johnston, Rhode Island, when he was young, Marandola said. He had turned 26 just weeks before he went missing.
“The heartbreaking part is that my grandparents never knew that their son’s remains would be coming home,” she said.