‘He didn’t just want to be a doctor’: Flight surgeon’s mission to help lives on even after his death at Camp Pendleton

ORANGE COUNTY REGISTER | Erika Ritchie
Flight Surgeon Navy Lt. James Anthony Mazzuchelli or better known as Doc Mazz was memorialized on Tuesday, Feb. 27 at Marine Corps Air Station Camp Pendleton. (Photo courtesy of David Cheers)
CAMP PENDLETON — U.S. Navy Lt. James Anthony Mazzuchelli, a flight surgeon for a Marine Light Attack Helicopter Squadron, lived to help others and now, even in death, continues his mission of service, his family said.

“It was the darkest day for us,” David Cheers, Mazzuchelli’s stepfather, 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.”

The surgery at Scripps La Jolla Medical Facility was a last time for Mazzuchelli’s family – John and Trina Mazzuchelli and David and Christine Spears – to say goodbye to the 32-year-old who died early Saturday, Feb. 24, after the tail rotor of a helicopter struck him on Feb. 21 while on the flight line at Marine Corps Air Station Camp Pendleton.

The accident remains under investigation by military officials.

A private memorial service held at Blinder Chapel aboard Camp Pendleton on Tuesday, Feb. 27, drew hundreds. Participants included unit commanders, Marines and sailors and fellow military doctors from the base’s naval hospital and other area hospitals, Cheers said. Continue reading
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