VITALE COMMEMORATES NJ VETS DURING ANNUAL FLEET WEEK CELEBRATION

Organizes VIP Tour of USS Arlington for More Than 100 Veterans

ABOARD THE USS ARLINGTON (LPD-24), NY HARBOR – During the United States Navy’s Fleet Week celebration, veterans’ advocate Senator Joseph F. Vitale honored distinguished veterans from his district for their outstanding military service and for their ongoing contributions to the betterment of Woodbridge and its residents.  The Senator presented ceremonial resolutions to United States Army veteran Stuart T. Brandow, and to United States Marine Corps veterans Paul B. Coleman and Cuthbert E. Ashby, commending the men’s integrity, dedication and the high esteem in which they are held by the community.

“The standard we raise as a nation, the standard we salute, is so much more than what waves atop the flagpole here today.  It is the idea of democracy, of truth, and liberty embodied, enacted and revitalized by the commitment and selfless service of these veterans and the brave sailors and soldiers fighting today,” said Senator Vitale (D-Middlesex). “It is my privilege to honor the men and women who, by wearing the uniform, honor us every single day.”

Senator Vitale issued a proclamation to Stuart T. Brandow, who served his country with honor as a member of the United States Army with Company D 310th Regiment of the 78th Lightning Division during World War II.  On March 10, 1945, while deployed to the European Theater as acting squad leader, Brandon demonstrated peerless bravery by volunteering to locate and bring up medical aid and reinforcements after his platoon had come under fire near Dattenberg, Germany.  For that valor, he was awarded the Bronze Star Medal which Senator Vitale was able to present to him today during the awards ceremony.

Brandow further exhibited uncommon selflessness when he crossed three hundred yards of open terrain to tend to a wounded comrade, resulting in numerous additional accolades including the Combat Action Badge, American Campaign Medal, European-African Middle Eastern Medal with three stars, Army of Occupation Medal, World War II Victory Medal, and the Presidential Unit Citation.

The Senator also awarded a proclamation upon Paul B. Coleman who, as a member of the United States Marine Corps, lent his wisdom and expertise to Montford Point and the 2nd Marine Division NCO Leadership School, where he was promoted to Sergeant and was bestowed the National Defense Service Medal and the Good Conduct Medal.  A tireless champion of his fellow veterans, Coleman has earned admiration and respect as a life member of the Corporal Kevin J. Reinhard Detachment of the Marine Corps League in Woodbridge.  In addition to his duties as its adjutant, he has given generously of his time and energy to the Holiday Toy Drive and to the Marine Corps Birthday Ball Committee.

Coleman has served as a member of the Clara Barton First Aid Squad, a charter officer and past Grand Knight of the Our Lady of Peace Knights of Columbus, as a member of American Legion Clara Barton Post No. 324 and The Clara Barton Senior Social Club, and as Past President of the Our Lady of Peace Holy Name Society.

Senator Vitale issued the final proclamation to Cuthbert E. Ashby who served our country with honor and valor as a member of the United States Marine Corps.  After being stationed in Okinawa, the Philippines, and Korea, Ashby was assigned to the Navy Base in Yorktown, Virginia, before being discharged in 1979. As a result of his peerless efforts, Ashby has been bestowed the Meritorious Mast award and the Good Conduct Medal.

In addition to his contributions as a healthcare and social service administrator focused largely on HIV patient initiatives, Ashby dedicates time and energy to his church where he serves as an usher and as a member of the Men’s Ministry and the Center for Business Excellence.

As part of his ongoing, annual “A Grateful Nation Remembers” policy and as a show of his personal appreciation, Senator Vitale organized a VIP tour of the USS Arlington for more than 100 veterans. Escorted by the ship’s crew, the veterans were provided the unique opportunity to get an in-depth look into the ship’s capabilities as a San Antonia-class amphibious transport dock capable of assault by both air and sea anywhere in the world.

“It’s humbling to witness the dedication and professionalism of our young sailors and marines ever vigilant to deploy for the protection of our national interests.  This yearly pilgrimage to the ships of Fleet Week during the Memorial Day weekend allows us to rekindle the memory of our fallen heroes and to honor the commitment and sacrifices of the men and women who gallantly serve our nation today,” said Senator Vitale.  “The realities of war must be recognized.  And the freedoms they preserve must be cherished.”