Lt. Governor Kim Guadagno, joined by Brigadier General Michael Cunniff, Congressman Jon Runyan and members of the New Jersey veterans community, presented medals to 46 brave New Jersey veterans in recognition of their outstanding individual service and sacrifice to America. The medals, recognizing the distinction of New Jerseyans in conflicts going back to World War II, were presented today during a ceremony in Toms River.
The event was hosted by the New Jersey Department of Military and Veterans Affairs (DMAVA) as part of the Christie Administration’s ongoing efforts to honor veterans and their families. The event also served as an opportunity to share information about benefits or entitlements for veterans - helping connect even more New Jersey veterans with critical supports and services.
“These courageous men and women fought with distinction in the defense of our nation and our ideals of freedom, liberty and justice," said Lt. Governor Guadagno. “These servicemembers represent the very best of our state and nation and we will continue to honor their commitment and the great legacy they leave behind for future generations of Americans. I am proud to recognize these heroes today.”
Today’s medal recipients include veterans from numerous military branches that served during World War II, the Korean War, the Vietnam War, Operation Desert Storm, Operation Enduring Freedom and Operation Iraqi Freedom. In addition to the veterans kiosk, DMAVA has many programs available to protect and assist New Jersey’s veterans, including Regional Family Assistance Centers, Veteran’s Hotline and a statewide network of Veterans Service Officers.
“It is my great honor to join Lt. Governor Guadagno and Brigadier General Cunniff in expressing our gratitude to our veteran heroes and their families. These veterans have done so much for our country, and it is a privilege to have the opportunity to thank them and their families for their service, and to honor them for their courage and sacrifice,” said Congressman Runyan, who represents Ocean County constituents and serves on both the House Armed Services Committee and the House Committee on Veterans Affairs.
Governor Christie continues to demonstrate his commitment to veterans and their families. His Fiscal Year 2013 Budget expands the highly effective Veterans Haven program to serve veterans in the northern part of the state at the site of Hagedorn Psychiatric Hospital. Since taking office, Governor Christie has signed legislation that strengthens the support network for military families after the death of a service member; establishes a program that awards high school diplomas to veterans who dropped out of school to serve in World War II, Korea and Vietnam; honors Gold Star Families with a special license plate for families of members of the military killed in action for their sacrifice; establishes the New Jersey National Guard State Family Readiness Council Fund; ensures funding for the Veteran to Veteran Peer Support Program telephone helpline and reinvigorates programs like Helmets2Hardhats to put veterans back to work.
"Today’s ceremony is a great opportunity for the people of New Jersey to express their gratitude to these veterans for their service to our state and nation," said Brigadier General Michael Cunniff, the Adjutant General. "Beyond the ceremony, the veterans kiosk affords us an opportunity to reach other men and women who have served and to make sure they are taking advantage of every financial and educational entitlement they have earned."
DMAVA will staff an information kiosk at the Ocean County Mall from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. beginning today through October 25. Information on medical, pension, education and other benefits for eligible veterans will be available. Veterans who miss the opportunity to visit the mall kiosk can call DMAVA’s toll free benefits information line any time at 1-888-8NJ VETS.
Medal Award Honorees:
Name, Branch, War, Medal, Town
Specialist Four John F. Conard, Army, Vietnam War, DSM & VSM, Barnegat
Specialist Five James Reiser, Jr., Army, Vietnam War, DSM & VSM with Cluster, Barnegat
Lieutenant Colonel Robert F. Hein, Army, Iraqi Freedom, DSM with Cluster, Bay Head
Specialist Four Daniel T.Q. Higgins, Army, Vietnam War, DSM & VSM, Beachwood
Corporal Raymond C. Nelson, Marine Corps, Iraqi Freedom, DSM, Bergenfield
Sergeant John D. Bennette, Army, Desert Storm, DSM, Brick
Corporal Marc J. Boucher, Marine Corps, Vietnam War, DSM & VSM, Brick
Lance Corporal Michael P. Connallon, Marine Corps, Vietnam War, DSM & VSM, Brick
Sergeant Albert D. Higgins, Air Force, Vietnam War, DSM & VSM, Brick
Corporal Marc A. Madding, Marine Corps, Iraqi Freedom, DSM with Cluster, Brick
First Lieutenant Philip T. Pesano, Army, Vietnam War, DSM & VSM with Cluster, Brick
Corporal William H. Robbins, Marine Corps, Vietnam War, DSM & VSM, Brick
Sergeant Carl A. Fleming, Jr., Army, World War II, DSM, Colonia
Sergeant Richard A. Anderson, Marine Corps, Vietnam War, DSM & VSM (Posthumous), Forked River
Lieutenant Junior Grade Victor F. Cruz, Jr., Navy, Iraqi Freedom, DSM, Hammonton
Chief Warrant Officer Two Thomas J. Taggart III, Army, Vietnam War, DSM & VSM with Cluster, Jackson
Staff Sergeant Thomas F. Corbutt, Army, Vietnam War, DSM & VSM with Cluster, Lakewood
Specialist Five Gary R. May, Army, Vietnam War, DSM & VSM, Lakewood
Staff Sergeant Vanessa R. Beaulieu, Air Force, Enduring Freedom, DSM, Little Egg Harbor
Corporal Andrew S. Brys, Marine Corps, Vietnam War, DSM & VSM, Little Egg Harbor
Sergeant William Pierznik, Air Force, Vietnam War, MSM & VSM, Little Egg Harbor
Sergeant Robert C. Angellella, Marine Corps, Enduring Freedom, DSM with Cluster, Manahawkin
Specialist Four Henry P. Brandt, Army, Vietnam War, DSM & VSM, Manahawkin
Petty Officer Second Class James E. Freehauf, Navy, Vietnam War, DSM & VSM with Cluster, Manahawkin
Sergeant John E. Roberts, Marine Corps, Vietnam War, DSM & VSM, Manahawkin
Corporal Robert J. Rupprecht, Marine Corps, Vietnam War, DSM & VSM, Manahawkin
Sergeant Jarad Rutko, Army, Iraqi Freedom, DSM, Manahawkin
Lance Corporal Frederick M. Weintraub, Marine Corps, Vietnam War, MSM & VSM, Manchester
Corporal George R. Rapciewicz, Jr., Marine Corps, Iraqi Freedom, DSM, New Egypt
Sergeant Neil C. Bennette, Marine Corps, Iraqi Freedom, DSM, Toms River
Lance Corporal Christopher J. Bergin, Marine Corps, Iraqi Freedom, DSM, Toms River
Specialist Felipe A. Caamano, Army, Enduring Freedom, DSM, Toms River
Corporal Robert Cannon, Marine Corps, Vietnam War, DSM & VSM, Toms River
First Lieutenant Donald F. Dwyer, Army, World War II, DSM with Cluster, Toms River
Sergeant Robert E. Eilers, Army, World War II, DSM, Toms River
Technician Fifth Class Clarence I. Hyer, Sr., Army, World War II, DSM (Posthumous) , Toms River
Seaman Patrick Marques, Navy, Vietnam War, DSM & VSM with Cluster, Toms River
Private First Class Philip Montagno, Army, Vietnam War, MSM & VSM, Toms River
Specialist Four Lee F. Roth, Army, Vietnam War, DSM & VSM, Toms River
Specialist Five Raymond C. Sandford Jr., Army, Vietnam War, DSM & VSM, Toms River
Specialist Jason A. Purcell, Army, Iraqi Freedom, DSM, Tuckerton
Specialist Four Bogdan Demianiuk, Army, Vietnam War, DSM & VSM, Waretown
Corporal Thomas F. Farley, Army, Korean War, DSM & KSM (Posthumous), Whiting
Colonel Thomas E. Fleming, Army, Vietnam War, DSM & VSM with Cluster, Whiting
Quartermaster Chief Frederick M. Gerdes, Jr., Navy, Enduring Freedom, DSM, Whiting
Sergeant Matthew Vidovich, Marine Corps, Vietnam War, DSM & VSM with Cluster, Whiting
DSM – Distinguished Service Medal
MSM – Meritorious Service Medal
KSM – Korean Service Medal
VSM – Vietnam Service Medal
POW – Prisoner of War Medal
“With Cluster” – “With Cluster” means the award will have a “cluster leaf” on it. This signifies that the person is receiving the award for the second time or third time. An individual can receive the same award for multiple events but only wear one on the uniform. The leaf indicates that the individual earned it more than once.