STATEN ISLAND, N.Y. — Monday, April 18 will mark 77 years since the death of an 18- year old U.S. Army private, Joseph F. Merrell. It was that day he lost his life during a one-man attack against “superior German forces” during World War II.
And on that day in 1945 near Lohe, Germany, six months before the war ended, Pvt. Merrell killed 23 enemy infantrymen.
According to his Congressional Medal of Honor Citation “…(he)…stormed the enemy positions with utter fearlessness, intrepidity of the highest order, and a willingness to sacrifice his own life so that his comrades could go on to victory.”
For his bravery and valiant service, Pvt. Merrell, who was part of the Army’s 3d Infantry Division, was awarded the highest and most prestigious military decoration to recognize American soldiers, on Feb. 26, 1946.
As a way to pay tribute to Pvt. Merrell, on Monday, April 18, The Randall Manor Tavern and Doc Hennigan’s Tavern, both in West Brighton, will serve to any veteran, the first beverage of his or her choice.
And upon request, any veteran will be given a laminated copy of Pvt. Joseph F. Merrell’s Medal of Honor Citation.
The project is sponsored by both taverns, the Pvt. Joseph F. Merrell MOH American Legion Post No. 1368, The Brighton Kiwanis Club, and the Ancient Order of Hibernians (AOH) Divisions 1 and 3, all of Staten Island.
Laminated citation cards are provided by Matt Scamardella, a Pvt. Merrell Post member, and his Matthew Funeral Home.
A LITTLE ABOUT PVT. MERRELL
A native of West Brighton, Pvt. Merrell was a graduate of Curtis High School.
He is buried in St. Peter’s Cemetery in his home community within 100 yards of the Rev. Vincent R. Capodanno, also a Curtis High School grad and a Congressional Medal of Honor (Vietnam) awardee.
The Pvt. Joseph F. Merrell American Legion Post 1368 is named in his honor and the Sons of Italy Fr. Vincent R. Capodanno Lodge, named in Rev. Capodanno’s honor.
Pvt. Merrell’s name was recently added to the Livingston WW II plaque honoring North Shore WWII veterans, restored by Borough President James Oddo.