By EDWIN CASTANO
COURTESY OF THE JERSEY JOURNAL
As a native son of Hoboken, the late Master Sergeant John J. Mullins was honored with a proclamation on May 22, 2008, by the Hoboken Mayor, David Roberts.
As a member of the U.S. Army, Mullins was a highly decorated veteran of both World War II and the Korean War.
“He was a real soldier,” said his sister Margaret “Peggy” Mullins Roselli. “He wasn't afraid of anything.”
Mullins went away to serve our country at the age of 17, and after 25 years of service he attained noble rewards such as the Purple Heart, a Silver Star, two Bronze Stars, five Battle Stars and a United Nations Medal from Korea.
“He was a good boy who was raised by his aunt Margaret Smith and uncle Jacob Smith,” says Roselli. “He always made sure that our aunt got flowers on Mother's Day, even during the war.”
According to Roselli, Mullins would always send nice letters personally written for her, even on the battlefield. She says that he would include such humorous lines like: “I hear you knocking but you can't come in.”
During World War II, Mullins was stationed along with the 7th Division, 32nd Infantry Regiment in North Africa, Italy, France, Germany and Czechoslovakia. He fought at Anzio Beachhead in Normandy and in the Battle of the Bulge.
After the war, Mullins was stationed in Landsberg, Germany, with the Army of Occupation, guarding war criminals, some of whom were Nazi extermination doctors.
According to Kim Corea, Mullins' nephew-in-law, the site was blown up so that it wouldn't be converted into a shrine.
Mullins was a one of a kind gentleman and soldier. According to Corea, Mullins was the only soldier from Hoboken to be buried at Arlington National Cemetery in Virginia. Mullins also spoke fluent Italian, Russian, Ukranian, Serbian and Belarusian.
Upon retiring from military service in 1962, Mullins served as an advisor to the California National Guard, was a correctional officer at San Quentin Prison and worked for the U.S. Pentagon.
He was also a member of American Legion Post 107, Hoboken, along with the Veterans of Foreign Wars.
Mullins' niece, Linda Roselli Corea, had a lot of wonderful things to say about her beloved uncle.
“Inspirational, he was a humble man who never spoke about the war,” says Roselli Corea. “I was so excited when I saw him. I was such a patriotic child part of a patriotic family. When Uncle Jack came, it was a big deal.”
Kim Corea fondly remembers Mullins from his days when he was attending Xavier School for the ROTC program as a junior cadet.
“He was the first man to teach me about the history of our nation,” he says. “My fondest memory was his story about guarding war criminals in Germany.”
In honoring Mullins, Roselli Corea doesn't forget to mention how proud she is of her uncle and those troops who are fighting for this country just like he did.
“We love our hero, and may the light shine on our veterans and troops all over the world.”
MULLINS, JOHN J
- MSG US ARMY
- WORLD WAR II
- DATE OF BIRTH: 03/04/1923
- DATE OF DEATH: 05/01/2003
- BURIED AT: SECTION 65 SITE 1186
ARLINGTON NATIONAL CEMETERY
Michael Robert Patterson was born in Arlington and is the son of a former officer of the US Army. So it was no wonder that sooner or later his interests drew him to American history and especially to American military history. Many of his articles can be found on renowned portals like the New York Times, Washingtonpost or Wikipedia.
Reviewed by: Michael Howard