RAMONA (CNS) - A funeral procession through San Diego's backcountry and a memorial service are scheduled Saturday for Cpl. Eugene "Mackie" Morelli, whose remains were found near a North Korean prison camp decades after his death.
Morelli was listed as missing in action following a battle with Chinese soldiers on Feb. 13, 1951, near Hoengsong, Republic Of Korea, said Laura Herzog of the organization "Honoring Our Fallen." He was attached at the time to the 15th Field Artillery Battalion, 2nd Infantry Division.
According to The San Diego Union-Tribune, Morelli died of dysentery two months later in a prison camp and while his remains were discovered years ago, they were listed another name. A more recent DNA test positively identified the remains as his.
Morelli lived on the Mesa Grande Indian Reservation, near Julian, until his parents and grandmother died from botulism caused by eating home-canned tuna when he was 9 years old, the newspaper reported. After being raised in a foster home, he joined the Army at the age of 19 and was 21 when he died.
A funeral procession is scheduled to begin at the Bonham Brothers & Stewart Mortuary in Ramona and go up Main Street and state routes 78 and 79 to the reservation, where he will be buried at a tribal cemetery. A reception at the Tribal Hall will follow.
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