Governor Chris Christie today signed a package of bills recognizing the loyal service, bravery and sacrifice of New Jersey's active duty service men and women and retired military veterans. The bills signed today - A-1945, A-515, A-1944 - 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 and recognized today by the Governor, pays tribute to the sacrifices of Vietnam Veterans from South Jersey in Southern New Jersey.
"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. Our state's servicemen, servicewomen and their families have bravely and selflessly sacrificed in defense of our nation and our values," said Governor Christie. "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," said Maj. Gen. Glenn K. Rieth, the Adjutant General. "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 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.
Primary sponsors of the bill are Assemblyman Jack Conners (D-Burlington, Camden), Assemblywoman Cleopatra G. Tucker (D-Essex), Assemblyman Gilbert "Whip" L. Wilson (D-Camden, Gloucester) and Assemblyman Paul D. Moriarity (D-Camden, Gloucester).
The second bill signed by Governor Christie, 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.
Primary sponsors of A-515 include Assemblyman John F. Amodeo (R-Atlantic), Assemblyman Vincent J. Polistina (R-Atlantic), Assemblyman Jack Conners (D-Burlington, Camden), Assemblyman Matthew W. Milam (D-Cape May, Atlantic and Cumberland) and Assemblyman Paul D. Moriarity (D-Camden, Gloucester).
Another 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 policies for the coordination of all services benefiting war veterans and their dependents.
Primary legislative sponsors of A-1944 include Assemblyman Jack Conners (D-Burlington, Camden), Assemblywoman Cleopatra G. Tucker (D-Essex) and Assemblyman Paul D. Moriarity (D-Camden, Gloucester).
Governor Christie also recognized S-795, which he previously signed. That new 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.
Primary sponsors of S-795 include Senator Fred H. Madden, Jr. (D-Camden and Gloucester), and Senator Stephen M. Sweeney (D-Salem, Cumberland and Gloucester) as well as Assemblyman Jack Conners (D-Burlington and Camden), Assemblyman Herb Conaway, Jr. (D-Burlington and Camden) and Assemblyman Paul D. Moriarity (D-Camden and Gloucester).