Gov. Chris Christie Monday signed a package of bills recognizing the service, bravery and sacrifice of New Jersey's active duty servicemen and women and retired military veterans.
The three bills honor the service of members of the New Jersey National Guard, recognize veterans of the Korean and Vietnam conflicts, and expand the membership of the Veteran's Services Council. S-795, previously signed into law, pays tribute to the sacrifices of Vietnam Veterans.
"I am proud to have the opportunity to honor the service of New Jersey's military service members and veterans by signing these bills today,'' Christie said at a signing ceremony. "Our state's servicemen, servicewomen and their families have bravely and selflessly sacrificed in defense of our nation and our values. It is only fitting that we take every opportunity to recognize and repay, in every we are able, all that they have given to us. These bills are just a small token of our gratitude and appreciation for everything they have done for our country."
"These bills demonstrate New Jersey's ongoing commitment to the men and women who have served this nation in uniform," Maj. Gen. Glenn K. Rieth, the National guard's adjutant general, said. "From the expansion of Operation Recognition to include Korean and Vietnam veterans, to the special award for service in the New Jersey National Guard Honor Guard, these bills honor all who served."
The first bill, A-1945, creates a New Jersey Honor Guard Ribbon for active members of the New Jersey National Guard, Honor Guard Retiree members and contracted civilian buglers who have served to honor deceased veterans at Brigadier General William C. Doyle Veterans Cemetery. Eligibility for the Honor Guard Ribbon is determined by the adjutant general.
The second bill, A-515, expands Operation Recognition to include veterans of the Korean and Vietnam conflicts. The program currently awards state-endorsed high school diplomas to eligible World War I and World War II veterans who left high school before graduation to enter the U.S. military.
The third bill, A-1944, changes the membership requirements of the Veteran's Services Council, increasing membership from 9 to 12 and requiring there be at least two women members. The council is responsible for formulating politics for the coordination of all services benefiting war veterans and their dependents.
Christie also recognized bill S-795, which he previously signed. The law pays tribute to the sacrifices of Vietnam Veterans from South Jersey by naming a portion of Route 47 in Glassboro Gloucester County as the "South Jersey Vietnam Veterans' Highway.
The first recipients of the Honor Guard Ribbon are Sgt. Allain Batong, Sgt. Damont Brown, Sgt. William Camp, Spc Lawrence Davidson, Sfc Raymond Denson, Sgt Laseric Diaz, Ssg Gregory Flynn, Spc Joseph Harang, CW4 (Ret) Kenneth Langer, Ssg Rachell Lewellen, 1Lt Angel Perez, Pfc Roy Pierson, Spc Raheem Rowell, TSgt Christopher Schauers, Msg (Ret) Karl Tomaszewski, Msg Lavona Toplyn, Spc Asim Williams, and A1C Katherine Yunes.
The pimary sponsors of the bills were" Assembly members John F. Amodeo (R-Atlantic), Vincent J. Polistina (R-Atlantic), Jack Conners (D-Burlington), Matthew W. Milam (D-Cape May), Paul D. Moriarity (D-Gloucester), Cleopatra G. Tucker (D-Essex), Herb Conaway (D-Burlington), Gilbert "Whip" L. Wilson (D-Camden), Sen, Fred H. Madden, Jr. (D-Camden) and Senate President Stephen M. Sweeney (D-Gloucester).
— TOM HESTER SR., NEWJERSEYNEWSROOM.COM