|Birth: ||Mar. 4, 1911|
|Death: ||Apr. 20, 1997|
Henry Andrew Mucci (March 4, 1911 – April 20, 1997) was a colonel in the United States Army Rangers. In January 1945, during World War II, he led a force of 128 Army Rangers on a mission which rescued 512 survivors of the Bataan Death March from Cabanatuan Prison Camp, despite being heavily outnumbered.
Mucci was born in Bridgeport, Connecticut, to parents who had emigrated from Sicily. He enrolled at the United States Military Academy in West Point, New York, and graduated 246th in his class in May 1936. At West Point he was on the equestrian team, due to his early years growing up with horses.
In February 1943, the US Sixth Army put Mucci in charge of the 98th Field Artillery Battalion, previously a mule-drawn pack artillery unit. Mucci announced that the Battalion was being converted from Field Artillery to Rangers, downsized the battalion from 1,000 men to 500, and held a training camp in New Guinea where he utilized commando type training techniques for over a year. Mucci survived the attack on Pearl Harbor on December 7, 1941. During the liberation of the Philippines, General Walter Kreuger and one of his top men, Horton White, chose Mucci to head the liberation of the Cabanatuan Prison Camp due to both the difficulty and the peculiar needs of such a mission. In January 1945, Mucci led 128 Army Rangers in liberating the Cabanatuan Prison Camp with the loss of only 2 men killed in action. The raid was supported by some 250 Filipino guerrillas, many of whom were unarmed, who guided the Rangers through Japanese held territory and held off Japanese reinforcements while the American Rangers freed the POWs.
For Mucci's actions on the raid he was personally awarded the Distinguished Service Cross by General Douglas MacArthur. Originally, Mucci was to be awarded the Medal of Honor for his actions, this award being given by the president. However, his close friendship with General MacArthur made him accept the award below, because he wanted the honor of his friend giving him the Distinguished Service Cross.
When Mucci returned home he was treated as a national hero in his home town of Bridgeport. In 1947, he married Marion Fountain, with whom he had four children. He ran for Congress in 1946 but was defeated. He became the President of Bridgeport Lincoln Mercury as well as becoming an oil representative in India. In November 1974, the portion of Route 25 between Bridgeport and Newtown was named the Col. Henry A. Mucci Highway. He died at 88 in Melbourne, Florida, on April 20, 1997, as the result of a stroke. The stroke was a complication of a fractured hip sustained while swimming in rough surf near his home. He was 86 at the time. [source Hampton Sides book Ghost Soldiers; p332]
Marian Fountain Mucci (1920 - 1994)*
United States Military Academy Post Cemetery
New York, USA
Plot: Plot: Section XXXII, Row F, Site 102.
Created by: Wayne Apgar
Record added: Feb 01, 2011
Find A Grave Memorial# 65012777