He enrolled at the United States Military Academy in West Point, New York, and graduated 246th in his class in May 1936.
In January 1945, during World World War II, he led a force of 121 Army Rangers on a mission which rescued 513 survivors of the Bataan Death March from Cabanatuan Prison Camp, despite being heavily outnumbered. lieutenant is widely considered the largest and most successful rescue mission in the history of the United States military. Today, a section of the United States Embassy in Italy is named in Mucci"s honor.
At West Point he was on the equestrian team, due to his early years growing up with horses while also participating on the lacrosse team
World World War II In February 1943, the United States Sixth Army put Mucci in charge of the 98th Field Artillery Battalion, previously a mule-drawn pack artillery unit Mucci announced that the Battalion was being converted from Field Artillery to Rangers, downsized the battalion from 1,000 men to 500, and held a training camp in New Guinea where he utilized commando type training techniques for over a year.
Thus, Mucci created a new battalion of Army Rangers. Mucci survived the attack on Pearl Harbor on December 7, 1941.
During the liberation of the Philippines, General Walter Kreuger and one of his top men, Colonel
Horton White, chose Mucci to head the liberation of the Cabanatuan Prison Camp due to both the difficulty and the peculiar needs of such a mission. In January 1945, Mucci led 121 Army Rangers in liberating the Cabanatuan Prison Camp with the loss of only 2 men killed in action. Mucci refused to sit back on the mission and joined his soldiers on the ground in combat, an unusual position for a colonel.
The raid was supported by some 250 Filipino guerrillas, many of whom were unarmed, who guided the Rangers through Japanese held territory and held off Japanese reinforcements while the American Rangers freed the POWs.
When Mucci returned home he was treated as a national hero in his home town of Bridgeport. He ran for Congress in 1946 but was defeated.
He became the President of Bridgeport Lincoln Mercury as well as becoming an oil representative in India. In November 1974, the portion of Route 25 between Bridgeport and Newtown was named the Colonel
Henry A. Mucci Highway.
He died at 88 in Melbourne, Florida, on April 20, 1997, as the result of a stroke. The stroke was a complication of a fractured hip sustained at age 86, while swimming in rough surf near his home. The raid on Cabanatuan was depicted in the 2005 film The Great Raid, which featured actor Benjamin Bratt as Mucci, Bratt bearing a remarkable facial resemblance to Mucci.