MONTVILLE, NJ – Two Montville Township residents were honored by the Board of Chosen Freeholders May 23 at the annual Memorial Day commemoration event held on the Morris County Courthouse lawn.

John Mascellino, U.S. Army, and Kenneth Hanzl, U.S. Army, received the county’s Distinguished Service Medal for their service.

The county’s Distinguished Service Medal is unique to Morris County and features the county seal encircled with the words, “Morris County Distinguished Military Service,” on the front. An outline of the county and the American flag is on the back of the medal, along with the words, “Morris County Freeholders Military Commemorative.” Each medal’s striped ribbon is the color of the specific conflict during which the veteran served, according to a county release.

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John Mascellino, U.S. Army

John Mascellino was drafted into the United States Army in June 1965, according to a release from Morris County.

Mascellino attended Boot Camp at Fort Dix, and then attended Artillery School in Fort Sill, Okla, before being transferred to South Korea. He was assigned to the 122 Signal Battalion, with the 2nd Infantry Division, stationed at Camp Peterson – near the De-Militarized Zone, or DMZ. 

While stationed in Korea, Mascellino said he was often approached by Korean citizens who express gratitude that Americans were there to preserve their freedom, and protect them from Communist Forces.

While in Korea, John won an appointment to West Point. However, he declined, as he wished to re-enter civilian life.  John was discharged from the Army as a Specialist 4.

After discharge, John returned to work with Public Service Electric and Gas for 32 years, until his retirement. He also married Joanna in 1976.  They had a marriage of more than 42 years.  Joanna passed away on May 1 of this year. 

Mascellino said, “She was the best thing that ever happened to me,” according to the release.

Kenneth Hanzl, U.S. Army

Ken Hanzl of Montville served in the U.S. Army from 1966 to 1968 during the Vietnam War, according to the county’s release.

He was a construction engineer who worked as an electrician and generator operator and repairman in support of clearing jungle, buildings, roads, bunkers and structures.

In Vietnam, Hanzl was stationed in Saigon, Binh Hoa, and Long Binh, while serving with the 92nd Construction Engineer Battalion.

He received the Army Good Conduct Medal, National Defense Service Medal, Vietnam Service Medal, and Republic of Vietnam Campaign Medal.

Hanzl has been active in his community, especially in youth sports. He coached youth baseball from Little League to Babe Ruth League, and in-town and travel basketball teams. He served on the Montville Baseball League Board of Directors for 10 years, two as president, according to the county release.

Memorial Day Commemoration

Freeholders Doug Cabana, Christine Myers, John Cesaro, Heather Darling and Deborah Smith were joined at the event by Assemblyman Anthony Bucco, Sheriff James Gannon and Prosecutor Fredric Knapp.

Memorial Day was first called Decoration Day, County Communications Director Larry Ragonese noted, as MC for the event. The day is for those who have died and all those who served and was officially proclaimed on May 5, 1868, he said.

“Throughout history, members of our military have selflessly answered our nation’s call and they continue to make the ultimate sacrifice to protect us both here in the United States and around the world with courage, determination and pride,” Freeholder Director Doug Cabana said. “Today, we have 200,000 troops stationed in 177 countries on continents around the world. Today we gather here to honor those members of the military who have left us too soon, to honor those who have served in our military forces and those who continue to serve.”

The Lakeview School select chorus sang the National Anthem and “God Bless America,” the Marine Corps Color Guard, Golf Co., 2nd Battalion, 25th Regiment of Picatinny Arsenal presented the colors, and the Morris County Sheriff’s Office Color Guard shot the 21-Gun Salute.

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