Major Joseph Boccagno, age 82 years, of Muhlenberg Twp., passed away Tuesday, November 20, at his residence. Son of the late Angelo and Rose Boccagno, he was born in Reading, Pa. on December 15, 1929.
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Joseph enlisted in the U.S. Army after leaving Reading High School, on December 15, 1946 and attended the U.S. Army Ordinance School, Atlanta, Ga. He served as an enlisted infantryman for 11 years, attaining the rank of Staff Sergeant. As an enlisted person, he served in Yong San, Korea from June 1947 to January 1949 and then was transferred to Yokohama, Japan. When the Korean War began he was transferred to the 8th Army Headquarters, in Yong San, Korea, serving there from July 1950 to September 1951. He subsequently served in Schweinfurt, Germany with the 16th Infantry, 1st Infantry Division from 1953-1955 and then C Company, 16th Infantry from July 1955 to July 1957, where he was promoted to Sergeant First Class. Sergeant First Class Boccagno graduated Second Lieutenant from the Infantry Officer Candidate School in July 1957 at Ft. Benning, Georgia and was assigned to B Company, 4th Infantry, Ft. Devens, Massachusetts, serving there from 1958 to 1960. As First Lieutenant he was transferred to Camp Zama, Japan to serve as Company Commander of the U.S. Signal Agency, Japan from 1960 to 1964 and then was promoted to Captain in May of 1961.
Captain Boccagno graduated from the Advanced Infantry Career Officer's course, Ft. Benning, Georgia in 1964 and was assigned to the Reserve Advisory Group, Edison, N.J. until June 1965. He was deployed to Lai Khe, Vietnam in August 1965 where he served with the 1st Battalion, C Company, 16th Infantry, 1st Infantry Division. In October 1966 he was reassigned to the Reserve Advisory Group, Edison, N.J. He was promoted to Major in November of 1966 and retired July 1, 1970.
Major Joseph Boccagno received the Silver Star for gallantry in action, November 1966, Purple Heart for injuries sustained in combat, November 1965, Air Medal, in 1966 and Combat Infantry Badge, October 1965.
Joseph is survived by his wife of 62 years, Katherine M. (Yamamoto) Boccagno; five sons, Joseph and wife, Sherry, Furlonge, Pa.; Daniel and wife Shennie, Washington D.C.; Frank and wife, Barbara, Ephrata, Pa.; Dr. Phillip Boccagno and wife, Mary Ann, Clarks Summit; Steve and companion, Alexis, Phoenix, Ariz.; as well as eight grandchildren and two great-grandchildren.
He is survived by sisters, Rose Colamarino and Gloria Saltzman. He was preceded in death by brothers, Frank and Patrick.
He was a member of Holy Guardian Angel R.C. Church, Laureldale. He served as past Vice President of Vietnam Veterans of America Chapter 131, was a longtime member of DAV Chapter 10, member of the Berks County Veterans Advisory Committee, was a Charter member and past President of Pennsylvania War Veterans Association and a volunteer at the Berks County Department of Veterans Affairs. He was inducted into the Berks County Military Hall of Fame and was a mentor and friend to all veterans.
Friends are invited to call Saturday from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. at the John P. Feeney Funeral Home. Religious services will follow at 1 p.m. Interment will be Tuesday at 2 p.m. at Fort Indiantown Gap National Cemetery, Annville, PA. Friends are invited to gather from 12:15 to 12:45 p.m. for procession. His services will be broadcast on our website, address below, starting at 1 p.m.
In lieu of flowers, donations may be sent to VVA Chapter 131, P.O. Box 13735, Reading, PA 19612-3735. Arrangements entrusted to the John P. Feeney Funeral Home, in Reading's Centre Park Historic District, 625 N. 4th St. at Centre Ave., Reading, PA 19601.
Obituary and condolences at www.johnfeeneyfuneral home.com.
Published in Scranton Times on Nov. 23, 2012