Mario Lamelza

Army of the United States
28 February 1948 - 25 May 1969
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
Panel 24W Line 104


Combat Infantry

Purple Heart, National Defense, Vietnam Service, Vietnam Campaign

Photo from "Vietnam: One Week's Dead",
LIFE Magazine Vol. 66, No. 25 June 27, 1969

The database page for Mario Lamelza

20 Jan 2005

Mario was known as "Breeze" by his fellow soldiers. He was from North 7th Street in the Feltonville area of Philadelphia. He had immigrated to the U.S. with his parents and had hopes of becoming a citizen. He attended Olney High School and worked as an auto parts assemblyman and repairman before being drafted into the Army. A skilled NVA sniper fired a single well-aimed shot which killed Mario. It may have been the same sniper who killed his buddy Ralph Vitch during the same firefight.

From a Screaming Eagle researcher,
Roger Ables

20 Jan 2005

The following article is taken from The Philadelphia Daily News, special supplement entitled 'SIX HUNDRED AND THIRTY', October 26, 1987.

Lamelza and his family emigrated to the United States from Australia. He planned to become a U.S. citizen after he got out of the Army. He attended Olney High School and worked as an auto carburetor assemblyman and repairman before being drafted in December 1967. The 21-year-old corporal, a light weapons infantryman with Company A of the 1st Battalion, 501st Infantry, 101st Airborne Division, died in Quang Tri Province, Viet Nam on May 29, 1969. He was posthumously awarded the Silver Star. Lamelza was survived by his parents, two brothers and a sister.

From a native Philadelphian and Marine,
Jim McIlhenney

13 Oct 2005

I remember Mario from the 1963-64 (I believe) school year at Olney High. We were in at least one class together (gym), and if my memory still serves me, the other class was English. I still vividly remember Mr. Spizirri "getting on" us boys for wearing high black socks. For some reason, Mr. S used to single out Mario, probably because he was the first boy in his particular line.

Even though Mario and I were only acquaintances, I have always remembered him throughout the years. I still recall the day I recognized his picture in the famous Life magazine article back in 1969.

Since 1995 I have visited Vietnam on an annual basis during my summer vacation. Mario is one of those boys from Olney High whose memory is next to my heart on my travels from Hanoi to Saigon.

I was pleased to see that Mario's name was added this year to the Philadelphia listing of fallen soldiers. I think it's also quite ironic that Mario was born in Australia, and I've spent a good amount of time there over the last 30 years.

I hope that if any of Mario's family members see my thoughts, he or she may feel uplifted that Mario is still fondly remembered by a boyhood classmate.

Bill Holden, Olney High 1966

A Note from The Virtual Wall

Alpha Company, 1/501st Infantry, lost two men on 25 May 1969, CPL Mario Lamelza and SP4 Ralph A. Vitch of Tampa, Florida.

Top of Page

Virtual Wall icon

Back to
To alpha index L
PA State Index . Panel 24W
501ST INF RGT Index

Contact Us

With all respect
Jim Schueckler, former CW2, US Army
Ken Davis, Commander, United States Navy (Ret)
Last updated 08/10/2009