By Steve Milbourn
Greenwood Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 5864 commander
Richard L. Mammarella joined the Army in 1951, when he was 21 and living in the Bronx, N.Y. About a year later he found himself in the Korean War, thousands of miles from home. He served seven years before later transferring to the Air Force, from which he retired 13 years later.
He attained the rank of corporal E-4 (Army) and tech sergeant E-6 (Air Force).
Mammarella, 86, served just below the 38th Parallel with an engineer company while also being relegated to the Armor Division. He helped blow up bridges and cut through the land to get to where the infantry was going.
He said his proudest moment came when awarded the Silver Star for helping thwart an imminent attack by North Korean regulars. Driving a massive bulldozer to clear the way, soldiers of an infantry platoon walked behind the machine and eliminated the threat. “I was just doing my job, and they were in the way. I didn’t feel like I was doing anything special,” Mammarella remarked in his modest way. His specialties included infantry, armor, armor mechanic and construction machine operator.
His decorations include the Silver Star, National Defense Service Medal, Korean Service Medal, U.N. Service Medal, Good Conduct Medal and a citation for his actions that earned him the Silver Star from South Korea President Syngman Rhee.
Mammarella retired after spending 23 years working for the New York City Department of Waste as a sanitation engineer. He is a member of Greenwood VFW Post 5864 and has a son, Richard Jr., and two daughters, Eva and Debbie. His wife of 55 years, Betty, died about 10 years ago.