Street dedicated to local veteran
Local residents, first responders, veterans, and elected officials came out on Saturday to honor Pfc. Anton “Tony” Albert Bugala by dedicating a street corner in his name.
Bugala was born on July 6, 1921 in a tenement building in Manhattan. His parents emigrated to the United States around the turn of the century from Slovakia. He had eight siblings. In the early 1930s, his parents moved to Dunton Avenue in East Patchogue, to a small family farm where they added electricity and indoor plumbing to the grounds. In 1936, Bugala graduated from St. Francis de Sales Elementary School in Patchogue, and eventually was a member of the first Bellport High School graduating class in 1938.
At 19, Bugala enlisted in the United States Marine Corps and completed training at Parris Island in 1941. In World War II, Bugala fought six battles in five weeks of early fighting against Japanese forces on the British Solomon Islands. Bugala was a heavy machine gunner with the E Company of the First Marine Division. During the Battle of Edison’s Ridge on Sept. 13, he suffered mortal wounds and died a day later. He was 21 and buried with honors on Guadalcanal. It would be a month before the Navy was able to report his death, though his family knew his fate once his letters had ceased.
After the war, Bugala’s remains were removed and relocated to the National Cemetery in Pinelawn in 1948. His niece, Anita, who was only 10 years old, remembers the day as “snowy, cold, and very sad,” according to his family. He is laid to rest next to his two brothers, John and Steve and nephew Billy.
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