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Marine killed in World War II gets hometown recognition

Marines with Marine Corps Logistics Base Albany’s Military Funeral Honors Detail conduct a military funeral for a fallen service member at Andersonville National Cemetery, Andersonville, Ga., June 10, 2015. (Capt. Justin Jacobs/U.S. Marine Corps)
November 11, 2019

A former East Patchogue Marine who gave his life during World War II was honored by his hometown with a street renaming.

Brookhaven Town officials changed the name of a portion of North Dunton Avenue in East Patchogue in remembrance of fallen Marine Anton A. “Tony” Bugala.

He was assigned to the 1st Marine Raider Battalion, an elite military group, during the war where he was killed in action on Sept. 14, 1942, at the battle of Edson’s Ridge on Guadalcanal in the Solomon Islands, town officials said.

The Japanese Army attacked in an attempt to retake Henderson Field and Bugala, 21, was mortally wounded, family and town officials said.

Loved ones weren’t notified of his death for at least a month, according to a family biography of Bugala.

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His remains were removed from Guadalcanal and taken to the Long Island National Cemetery six years later, the biography read.

Peter Bugala, a nephew of the Marine soldier, was at the dedication on Saturday along with about 30 other family members.

He said his uncle’s service left a deep impression on him and his family.

Bugala, of Brookhaven Town, said his father, Albert Bugala, became a historian and military collector when the Marines sent his uncle’s belongings back home.

“All the things he could gather to piece things together,” Bugala said. “It was passed down to me.”

Peter Bugala, president of the Long Island Military Vehicle Club, is a self-described historian.

“It was a long time coming. It was a moving ceremony,” Brookhaven Town Councilman Neil Foley said of the street renaming. “It was a heartwarming story and the best way to honor him was to name a street after him.”

South Country Ambulance Company Chief Gregory Miglino Jr. contacted Brookhaven officials about Bugala’s death about six weeks ago.

“One of the people in the community who for years has been researching unrecognized people brought it to my attention,” said Miglino, a former radio operator in the Marines. “We have a saying: ‘We never leave another Marine behind.’ ”

Bugala, one of nine siblings, was born in a tenement on First Avenue and East 71st Street in Manhattan in 1921.

Sometime later the family moved into an East Patchogue house where his parents made moderate improvements such as adding electric and plumbing during the Great Depression, the biography read.

The residence was across from what is now the Verne W. Critz Elementary School on North Dunton Avenue, town officials said. Bugala was part of Bellport High School’s inaugural graduating class in 1938.

A short time later, he enlisted in the U.S. Marine Corps.

“He gave his life in defense of our nation,” said Brookhaven Town Councilman Michael Loguercio, who represents half of the street where the dedication took place. “After all these years he hasn’t been forgotten. It doesn’t bring him back but at least shows how proud the community is.”

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© 2019 Newsday