? 1932 (Minturno, Italy) – July 23, 1953; 20-21 years old
Last local address: 11 Amundsen Street, Norwalk
Enlistment date unknown; MOS: 01745, Light Weapons Infantry
Service Number: 11255930
Korean War Project Key No: 25208
7TH INFANTRY DIVISION, 31ST INFANTRY REGIMENT, 2ND BATTALION, G COMPANY
Casualty Location: Outpost Dale, near Old Baldy (Hill 266 near Yeoncheon-gun, South Korea)
Awarded the Purple Heart Medal
Joseph was Killed in Action while fighting the enemy in Korea on July 23, 1953. The armistice to end the war was signed 4 days later.
From The Norwalk Hour July 29, 1953
The name of the last soldier to give his life in the Korean conflict may never be known, but it may be Private First Class Joseph A. Rizzi, 21, of 11 Amundsen Street, who was sent up front with a rifle company only a few weeks ago despite his urgent please to be transferred to the engineers. The telegram came on Monday night. Only a day earlier, Mr. and Mrs. John Rizzi, the boy’s parents, cheered like millions of other Americans when the news came that an armistice had been signed at long last. Now, they felt their son may be spared. Only a few more hours if only he could keep out of harm’s way until 9 A.M. Monday, they felt, and they would have “little Joey” back with them again. But Joey isn’t coming back alive. Nine A.M. came and the shooting stopped in Korea, but it was two days too late for the little man from Norwalk who hated a shooting war from the start. His letters showed that he volunteered for the engineers where he felt he could do his best work. He said he was willing to take his chances up front with the others, but he wanted to build roads, and bridges, and help his buddies, but he didn’t like shooting at the enemy. But they sent him up anyhow and the Reds shot joey on June 23. He was the 10th from the Norwalk are to lose his life in Korea. The telegram said “killed in action” and expressed the deepest sympathy of the government. It said a letter will follow giving more details. Mrs. Rizzi collapsed. She was still near prostration and in deep grief today when the reporter called to get Joey’s picture. It was taken at a wedding reception for a friend just before he enlisted in the U.S. Army and asked to be assigned to the engineers. He enlisted in October, 1952. They put him through his basic training and sent him to Korea on April 28. They put him in an infantry company, and Joey wrote home to his parents asking them not to worry, that he could take care of himself, and besides, any day now he would be transferred to the engineers. But the transfer never came. On July 9, Joey wrote his parents that he couldn’t understand it. He was all set for transfer and suddenly they took him out of a mortar company and put him in a rifle company and told him to go up front. He was very worried and wrote he was so disappointed. And then two days later, he wrote again, and said he was sorry to have worried his folks. He said he could “take it” as well as the next fellow and would do his best with the rifle company. Joey went to local public schools and instead of high school, attended the J.M. Wright Technical School, a trade school, in Stamford. He wanted to be an engineer. In addition to his parents, he is survived by a brother, James, and three sisters, Mrs. Nancy DeBartolomeo, Mrs. Caroline Fontaine and Miss Eleanor, all of this city. According to the Adjutant General’s office in Hartford, other area men killed in action during the conflict include: PFC Harold R. Axelson, PFC Donald C. Browne, Pvt Frank N. Beerwa, and George A. Martin, all of Norwalk; Cpl Leonard H. Bennett of Georgetown; PFC George H. Broadhurst of Noroton Heights; Pvt James A. Dooley and Julius Nacci of Darien; Pvt George Fischer of New York City (formerly of Silvermine). Prisoners of war from this area are Sgt Donald Hussey of New Canaan and Sgt Spencer J. Birchard of Noroton Hieghts. Missing in action from this city are: PFC Stephen Kardos and Pvt John B. McGuinness. A total of 254 men from Connecticut have been reported dead during the war.
From koreanwar.org, January 17, 2003 by Nick Demasi: My name is Nick C. Demasi. I served in Korea with Company G 31st Infantry Regiment, 7th Division on Dale Outpost, near Old Baldy. I knew Joe Rizzi. We were buddies under the Army`s buddy system. Joe and I were always together. I was with him on patrol the night he, along with five others of my friends, was killed. We went out at about 9:45 P.M. but as soon as we arrived at our destination the North Koreans and the Chinese opened up on us–we were ambushed. I think Joe was from Connecticut. If this message ever gets to his relatives, I want to assure them that Joe died a brave man. He died instantly and did not suffer from his wounds. I know, I helped to carry him back to our position.
Private Rizzi is buried in St. John’s Cemetery, Norwalk. Section B1, Lot 75 ½, Grave 6. Photo by webmaster.