NEWTON, NJ (Sussex County) – U.S. Congressman Josh Gottheimer (NJ-5) this weekend honored local World War II U.S. Air Force veteran and Newton resident Walter “Wally” Atkinson in celebration of his 104th birthday and to thank him for his service during World War II.
“It’s an absolute honor and privilege to celebrate Wally’s birthday and to thank him for his service to our great country. I’m always lucky to be able to spend time with so many of our bravest veterans,” Gottheimer said. “It is our duty as Americans not only to honor the men and women who have served our nation, but to do everything we can to fight for them when they return, to ensure they have the care they need, the benefits they were promised, and the support we all owe them.”
A New Jersey native, Atkinson was drafted into the U.S. Air Force in 1942 at the age of 26 and was sent to MacDill Air Force Base in Florida for training. While at MacDill Air Force Base, Atkinson helped with preparations for the invasion of Normandy, which began two years ahead of the actual D-Day invasion. Atkinson’s reconnaissance group also assisted with the Battle of the Bulge, Gottheimer said.
Atkinson was honorably discharged in 1945, Gottheimer said.
Gottheimer was joined during a virtual celebration for Atkinson by NJ Assemblyman Gordon Johnson (LD-37), Newton Councilmember Matthew Dickson, and other North Jersey veterans.