By Debbie Gregory.
Officials have identified a Navy lieutenant who succumbed to his injuries after being struck by a spinning helicopter blade Feb. 21 as 32-year-old James A. Mazzuchelli.
Mazzuchelli died on February 24th at Scripps La Jolla Medical Facility following the February 21st accident.
He was a flight surgeon assigned to Marine Light Attack Helicopter Squadron 267 out of Marine Corps Air Station Camp Pendleton, California, where the tragic mishap occurred. The squadron flies UH-1Y Venoms and AH-1Z Cobras.
Mazzuchelli’s connection with his squadron and others whose lives he touched was obvious to the family when they arrived in California after getting news of the accident.
“The squadron has been by our side from the moment we landed,” said David Cheers, Mazzuchelli’s stepfather.
Details on how the accident happened have not been released as there is an ongoing investigation.
Mazzuchelli lived to help others and now, even in death, continues his mission of service to others as an organ donor.
“It was the darkest day for us,” Cheers said of the final organ donation surgery. “But we also knew there were four or five people who had been waiting for organ donations. While one family had a rough day, there were others who had the brightest days of their lives.”
A private memorial service was held at Blinder Chapel, Camp Pendleton on February 27th. The service drew hundreds, including unit commanders, Marines and sailors and fellow military doctors from the base’s naval hospital and other area hospitals.
“He donated his heart, kidneys and liver,” Cheers said. “We know that James lives in other people now.”
Our sincerest condolences go out to the family and loved ones of Lt. Mazzuchelli.