BELVIDERE, NJ (Warren County) – Warren County honored 20 wartime veterans – 8 of them posthumously, including a World War I serviceman – in its 15th public recognition ceremony held at the Warren County War Memorial next to the Courthouse.
The Warren County Board of Chosen Freeholders, assisted by members of the Warren County War Memorial Corp. and other dignitaries, presented the county’s Distinguished Military Service Medal, a replica lapel pin, and a certificate of recognition, to 13 veterans or to loved ones representing deceased veterans. Seven others were unable to attend the ceremony and will receive their awards by mail.
The ceremony brought to 2,171 the total number of war era veterans who have been recognized since the program began in 2003 with an award to Julius Hausold, who was Warren County last surviving World War I soldier at the time. Hausold served in the Army’s 308th Field Artillery in France, where he was wounded in action a century ago. Later that year, the county held the first of its public ceremonies on the plaza of the War Memorial, located at the corner of Second and Mansfield streets.
Freeholder Director Edward J. Smith noted that this November 11 marks 100 years since the armistice ending that conflict. “It was named ‘the war to end all wars,’ ” Smith said, but instead was “the precursor to the horror of the mechanized warfare of the 20th century” with new weaponry employed, including tanks and aircraft.
In all, some 2 million Americans served in World War I resulting in about 320,000 casualties, including 53,402 battle deaths, 63,114 non-combat deaths, and 204,000 wounded, Smith said.
Among the deaths were more than 3,400 from New Jersey who were killed in action or otherwise died while in United States service, including 69 from Warren County, Smith said, noting, “Their names are inscribed on this memorial” where the ceremony was being held.
“Your courage in the face of the dangers before you for the benefit of all of us who live in our great nation, our state, and our county, is hereby recognized today. Congratulations, and thank you for your service,” Smith concluded.
Freeholder Jason Sarnoski praised the War Memorial Corp. members for the excellent job they do maintaining the memorial, which was dedicated 20 years ago this November 11.
“This isn’t our largest group that we’ve ever honored, but it isn’t our smallest either,” Sarnoski noted, adding, “As long as there’s one veteran in Warren County who needs to be honored and has not yet been honored by Warren County, we’re going to continue to have this event. Because you’ve given up – the veterans of Warren County have given up – a little bit freedom to protect ours, and to protect the values we hold so dear in this country.”
Freeholder Richard D. Gardner said that it had been his honor to present the very first county veterans award to Hausold, on the veteran’s 108th birthday, adding, “That’s something I’ll never forget.”
In addition to thanking veterans for all they did, Gardner thanked “their friends and their families, who also sacrificed.”
Gardner continued, “Those warriors did it for their country, they did it for their family, they did it for peace, ultimately.”
Warren County’s Veterans Recognition Program honors county residents who have served in wartime, from World War I through the present conflicts. This year’s ceremony saluted one serviceman from the First World War; four who served in World War II, including a B-24 crew member whose plane was lost in southern China on August 31, 1944 returning from a bombing mission and remained missing until the crash site was discovered 52 years later; three from the Korean War era, 11 from the Vietnam War era, and one who served in Operation Iraqi Freedom.
Coming from all corners of Warren County, 13 of them served in the Army, two in the Marine Corps, four in the Air Force, and one in the Coast Guard.
This year’s honorees are:
Brian W. Ayres Vietnam War Army
Alfred R. Bates II Vietnam War Army
Harry C. Beers World War II Army
John A. Biegel Vietnam War Army
Ernie G. Chavez Vietnam War Army
Richard Martin Cole Vietnam War Air Force
John J. Coyle, Jr. Vietnam War Army
Thomas DeMarco World War II Army
Ralph V. DeMatteo Korean War Army
William A. Drager World War II Army Air Corps
Michael C. Fahy Vietnam War Air Force
Wayne R. Golden Operation Iraqi Freedom Marines
Herbert Edward Gulick World War II Coast Guard
Wayne L. Johnson Vietnam War Marines
Brian LaBar Vietnam War Army
Julius Nykun World War I Army
Dominick A. Pulsinelli Korean War Army
Jonathan E. Rush Vietnam War Air Force
Nicholas S. Signorelli Korean War Army
Lawrence Alan Taylor Vietnam War Air Force