Bob Williams, grandson of Alfred Caponigro, Caponigro and Congressman Chris Smith
OCEAN TOWNSHIP, N.J. – Alfred Caponigro of Ocean Township would not accept the medals he earned in combat during World War II because of all of the other Americans who didn’t make it back, or who lost limbs and other injuries. Caponigro lost his hearing in the war and was discharged with a 100 percent disability rating by the Navy.
On Tuesday Caponigro, 90, joined by his family and friends, accepted his medals from Congressman Chris Smith, 73 years after he earned them.
As New Jersey prepares to honor military veterans Wednesday, state officials are taking the first steps that could provide one thing many veterans say has been missing for them when they return home — justice in context of their service. A state task force looking at veterans suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder and their involvement in… Read the rest of this entry »
Posted: November 11th, 2015 | Author:admin | Filed under:Veterans | Tags:Veterans | Comments Off on Is it time for N.J. to establish courts only for veterans?
Middletown Township is hosting a Welcome Home Picnic on Sunday, September 13th from 12:00pm to 5:00pm at Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 2179 to thank and honor veterans of the Vietnam War.
The post is located at 460 Route 36 in the Port Monmouth section of Middletown. Admission is free. The picnic is hosted by the Middletown Veterans Affairs Committee. The event is rain or shine.
This special event is part of a nationwide commemoration of the 50th anniversary of the Vietnam War. Middletown Township is a partner in the Defense Department’s Commemorative Partner Program. The program is designed to assist a grateful nation in thanking and honoring Vietnam veterans and their families. For more information about this nationwide commemoration visit www.vietnamwar50th.com.
The New Jersey State Veterans of Foreign Wars (VFW) has named Congressman Chris Smith (R-NJ4) its 2015 Legislator of the Year.
VFW State Legislative Director William F. Thomson presented Smith with the award Monday in Hamilton, Mercer County. VFW State Commander Jack Kane announced the honor on June 19 at its annual convention in Wildwoods Convention Center in Wildwood, N.J.
“The men and women in uniform make tremendous, selfless sacrifices for our nation,and they must know that when they come home they will receive the care and assistance they earned,” said Smith, who chaired the House Veterans’ Affairs Committee from 2001-2005 and authored more than a dozen veterans’ laws. It is an honor for me to accept this award, but it is more of an honor to work for our veterans.”
Congressman Chris Smith, Richard Walker Jr, Ocean Twp Ptlman Steven Walker and Ptlman Chris Stenger
Richard A. Walker, Jr of Neptune City earned a Bronze Star and other medals in Vietnam nearly 45 years ago, but never received them…until yesterday.
Congressman Chris Smith presented Walker with his honors, The Bronze Star, the Army Commendation Medal, the Good Conduct Medal; the National Defense Service Medal; the Vietnam Service Medal & Bronze Star Attachment; the Republic of Vietnam Campaign Ribbon, and; the Sharpshooter Badge & Rifle Bar, yesterday in the congressman’s Freehold office. Walker’s son, Ocean Township Police Officer Steven Walker and his friend Officer Chris Stenger, an ex-Marine and combat veteran of Afghanistan were on hand for the ceremony.
Veteran Don Manrodt of Highlands. Not Sal or Mike.
On this Veterans Day, two men who have made an impression on me are on my mind.
Sal was a WWII Vet. His son Mike was my best friend in the 1970’s. Sal was a blue collar guy who worked two jobs to provide a better life for his sons than he had.
One afternoon, Mike and I were heading upstairs in his house to get something from his room. We had to be quiet Mike warned because his father was sleeping before heading off to his night job. As we quietly walked past Sal’s room, a loud blood curdling scream emerged from the room. I could hear the bed shaking. Then just as suddenly, quiet.
I was startled. Frightened really. Mike was embarrassed. “Is he alright? Should we call the police?” I asked Mike. “Its OK,” Mike said, “he does that all the time. Please don’t tell anyone,” as if it was something to be ashamed of.
It had been 30 years since Sal returned from war. He hadn’t, perhaps, had a good nights sleep in those thirty years. PTSD was not a thing yet. But Sal’s suffering was real. He sucked it up and went to work twice a day to provide for his family.
A new program by the Middletown Veterans Affairs Committee will add deeper meaning and clarity to the remembrances of the brave men and women who gave their lives for our freedom.
For years, many communities, including Middletown, have named streets after fallen heroes. Now in Middletown there will be a commemorative sign under the official street signs that identifies the hero, their branch of service and the conflict in which they were sacrificed.
Wednesday afternoon in Port Monmouth, Congressman Chris Smith joined Mayor Stephanie Murray and Committeeman Tony Fiore joined Veterans Affairs Committee Members James Guerrieri, and Tom Garretson and William Bouw in honoring the life and heroism of Army Sgt Richard Belicose who died as the result of injuries sustained in Vietnam in May of 1967. Sgt Belicose’s brothers Ron and Robert were on hand for the ceremony.
Once a day an active member of the military commits suicide. Before today is over 22 more Veterans: men and women, who have survived long deployments and possible combat, will die by suicide.
Like with every column I write, I try my best to understand the subject that I am writing about. I research, I read, I ponder the evidence and I draw conclusions. I’ve never found something so challenging as writing about Veterans and the mental health issues that they face.
It’s not that there isn’t enough information on the topic that makes writing about Veterans challenging, it is relating to a group of people whose experiences, thoughts and emotions can only be understood by those who have been to war. No movie, no book, no first hand account can make a deep enough of an impression upon the uninitiated so as to make us understand their thoughts, their struggles and the ongoing battle that is peacetime living.
For many Veterans peace is harder than the chaos of war. In a war you move from mission to mission from task to task –your training and instincts take over. Long after the buzz and the noise of war are gone, there is a lingering and lonely silence. Silence does not leave clues as to which direction a soldier should take or what comes next after the noise has died down.
For peacetime a soldier receives no training. War wipes away all those so-called normal instincts their old self once had. Upon returning home a hero’s life can become completely unmanageable.