Dept of Military and
BG Glenn K. Rieth
The Adjutant General
Col Maria Falca-Dodson
Deputy Adjutant General
COL (Ret) Emil H. Philibosian
Deputy Commissioner for
Contacting us is easy!
Office of the Joint Chief of Staff
COL (Ret) Michael B. Smith
Mrs. Laura A. Branham
Phone: (609) 530-6987
Fax: (609) 530-7109
on the Web!
seasons are what a symphony ought to be:
perfect movements in harmony with each other.”…
CERT Classes are now forming. Contact LTC(Ret)
Jack Dillie at 609-530-7107 if you are interested
One-fifth of the men in the labor force are
veterans. The medium age of these workers is 50
years, compared with an average age of 39 years
Monday, December 22,
2003. The precise moment of the 2003 Winter Solstice
will be at 2:04 A.M
The Four Stages of Life
You believe in Santa Claus.
You don’t believe in Santa Claus.
You are Santa Claus.
You look like Santa Claus.
Bush signs Veterans Benefits Expansion Legislation.
an Oval Office ceremony on 16 December 2003, President
Bush signed H.R. 2297, The Veterans Benefits Act of
2003, a bill authored by Congressman Chris Smith (NJ-4),
Chairman of the House Committee on Veterans’ Affairs.
The new law authorizes $1 billion over the next ten
years for new and expanded benefits for disabled veterans,
surviving spouses, and children. The Veterans Benefits
Act increases educational benefits for widows and children
of veterans who are totally disabled or who died from
service-related causes. Congressman Smith said, “Furthermore,
for those widows of veterans who died of service-related
causes, my legislation allows them to remarry later
in life without suffering the loss of survivor benefits.” The
legislation provides a one-year window for widows and
widowers who lost their benefits by remarrying to reapply
for them. The new law includes increased grants from
$9,000 to $11,000 to adapt automobiles for the disabled
and increases the specially adapted housing grants
from $48,000 to $50,000 for the severely disabled and
from $9,250 to $10,000 for the less severely disabled.
The law’s provisions call for increased monthly
benefits for spouses and children of disabled veterans,
coverage of self-employment training and entrepreneurship
courses, and the creation of “sole source” contracts
for small businesses owned by disabled veterans. “For
disabled veterans who own or want to start a small
business, this new law requires agencies and departments
to give special consideration during federal contracting
and procurement,” said Congressman Smith. Last
year, he said, disabled veteran-owned firms received
just 0.13 percent of federal contracts, even though
there is a 3 percent statutory goal.
Governor McGreevey signs bill to extend veterans benefits.
December 17, 2003, Governor James E. McGreevey signed
legislation that will provide veterans benefits to those
who served in Iraq and Afghanistan. Assembly Bill 3564/Senate
Bill 2822, sponsored by Assemblyman John J. Burzichelli
(D-Gloucester), Assemblyman Craig A. Stanley (D-Essex),
Senator Stephen M. Sweeney (D-Salem) and Senator Joseph
Coniglio (D-Bergen), extends eligibility to certain veterans’ benefits
to veterans of Operations “Enduring Freedom” and “Iraqi
Freedom.” Veterans who served at least 14 days
in the theater of operation of those campaigns and in
direct support of those operations are eligible. The
benefits include Civil Service preference, veterans’ retirement
allowance under the Teachers’ Pension and Annuity
Fund or the Public Employees’ Retirement System,
the ability to purchase additional military service credit
in the Police and Firemen’s Retirement System,
TPAF and PERS systems, and entitlement to the annual
property tax deduction allotted to veterans.
Holiday elves are working overtime at the National Guard
Militia Museum of New Jersey.
National Guard Militia Museum of New Jersey, in conjunction
with St. Denis Church in Manasquan, has sent
off over 400 gifts to the veterans at Menlo Park. For
the past four years, St. Denis Church has been setting
up a Christmas Giving Tree for parishioners to donate
gifts. The elves at the museum cut out stars with ribbons
to hang on the tree. Each star has a label with a gift
written on it that has been selected from a wish list
provided by the staff at Menlo Park. This year the generosity
of the parishioners at St. Denis has been extraordinary!
The gifts that have been received for the veterans include
five 13” televisions, walkers, bath chairs, board
games, CD players, and lap blankets. Clothing for men
and women ranged from socks, sweaters, jackets, sweatshirts,
slippers and robes. One gift was a copy of the recently
published grand volume of The Complete History of the
United States Navy! Two hundred Black Watch scarves were
donated, so all will be warm when they go out. Even the
nutritionist got her wish this year – two smoothie
makers for those drinks that keep our veterans healthy.
On a cold, wintry morning, all of these gifts were picked
up at St. Denis by the staff at Menlo Park and a museum
elf. The van looked like Santa’s sleigh, full of
beautiful gifts, when it pulled away from the curb. The
elves at the museum are happy and thankful for this wonderful
generosity, and wish everyone a beautiful holiday season
and a healthy new year.
Notre Dame High School sends Holiday Greetings to the
Senior Service class of Notre Dame High School in Lawrenceville,
New Jersey developed a project to let
our men and women overseas know that they are in everyone’s
thoughts and prayers. Service Director, Mrs. Martin,
organized student volunteers to write Christmas cards
to each of the soldiers of the 253rd Transportation Company
serving in Iraq. Thank you to the volunteers who took
time out of their busy holiday schedules to remember
the soldiers of the 253rd with kindness.
Master Sgt. Joe Burkel and Tech Sgt. Jimmy Johnson hit
Sgt Joe Burkel and Tech Sgt Jimmy Johnson, members
of the 108th Air Refueling Wing Marksmanship Team,
took first place honors within their classification at
the New Jersey Service Rifle Championships on November
15, 2003. The championship match was held at the Cumberland
Rifleman Range in Vineland, NJ. The team has been putting
in extra range time recently, which contributed to these
outstanding results. MSgt Burkel shot a 759 – 17X
to take first place in the expert classification. TSgt
Johnson shot a 748 – 16X to top the marksman classification.
Veterans honored at Lawrenceville ceremony.
Colonel Maria Falca-Dodson, Deputy Adjutant General,
presented 116 veterans with the New Jersey Distinguished
and Meritorious Service Medals at a ceremony held on
17 December 2003, at the NJ National Guard Armory in
Lawrenceville, NJ. Honored guests included Senator Peter
Inverso and Assemblywoman Linda Greenstein. CW5 (Ret)
Robert Wimberly acted as Master of Ceremonies, and was
assisted by DMVA employees, Ms. Karen Hansen and Ms.
State Employee Community Emergency Response Team training
has been developed.
state of New Jersey is sponsoring Community Emergency
Response Team (CERT) training for its State employees
in 2004. The training is made available to State employees
through a partnership between the NJ Department of State,
Office of the Attorney General, Department of Personnel,
State Police Office of Emergency Management, Governor’s
Office of Volunteerism, and the State Citizen Corps Council.
Further details are available at http://www.citizencorps.gov/programs/cert.shtm.
CERT programs were developed to assist communities
in taking care of themselves in the aftermath of a
major disaster when first responders are overwhelmed
to respond because of communication or transportation
difficulties. The state’s goal is to develop groups
of trained co-workers for immediate response to disasters
in the workplace who could also contribute in their home
communities. The training programs consist of eight 2.5-hour
classes, usually held once a week. Subjects include recognizing
hazards, first aid, fire fighting, light rescue, and
a final exercise. Training will be conducted during paid
State work hours and locations will be based on the number
of applicants from each DMVA worksite. If you are interested,
call or e-mail DMVA’s CERT Coordinator, LTC (Ret)
Jack Dillie, at 609-530-7107 or email@example.com.
The deadline to apply for CERT training is December
Members of the 108th Air Refueling Wing, the 177th Fighter
Wing, and Fourth Graders from the Seaview Avenue School
visit veterans at the Vineland Home.
On Monday, December 15, more than 40 members of the
108th Air Refueling Wing and the 177th Fighter Wing of
the NJ Air National Guard joined with Fourth Graders
from the Seaview Avenue School in Linwood, NJ for a holiday
visit to the Veterans Memorial Home at Vineland. Students
and airmen visited with the residents of the home, caroled
through the hallways and rooms, and brought plenty of
goodies to distribute to the veterans who live at the
The 177th FW, along with the Absecon VFW and American
Legion, gave the Vineland Home a refurbished golf cart
for transporting staff around the ground, particularly
during the construction phase. They also presented the
veterans with electric razors. The 108th ARW gave the
staff of the home money to be used toward the purchase
of cell phones for the staff for their use during official
travel. Boxes of gifts from the students, ranging from
sneakers to toiletries, filled several long tables. Kindergarten
students from Seaview Avenue School sent along boxes
of cookies for the residents. The trip brought smiles
to the faces of the students, airmen, and residents alike.
the crisp, clear air on the morning of November 10,
2003, the 108th Refueling Wing’s Master Sgt. David
Pearl and his crew launched Aircraft 57-2606. As the
plane took flight, they were all acutely aware that they
probably would not see her again.
“The Volunteer,” as 2606 was known, was
on her way to Kansas to undergo the extensive engineering
upgrades and re-engine process necessary to convert the
airframe from a KC-135E to a KC-135R. On this day “The
Volunteer” left the 108th flight line for the last
time. After the “E” to “R” conversion,
2606 will go to Kansas for Depot-level maintenance, then
it’s on to Washington state to become part of their
R model Air Wing.
2606 was delivered to the U.S. Air Force in February
of 1959. In 1961 the jet was turned over to
the Puerto Rico Air National Guard. The plane remained
there until 1978 when she was transferred to the 170th
Air Refueling Group, New Jersey Air National Guard. Master
Sgt. Robert “Ralph” Kaelin, and his assistant,
Staff Sgt. George Laird, maintained the aircraft from
1978 to 1991. During that time, the aircraft was chosen
to be the first New Jersey aircraft to be upgraded from
an “A” model to an “E” model.
In March of 1983, she was delivered back to the 170th
as the first “E” model on the ramp. After
Master Sgt. Kaelin’s retirement in 1991, Tech.
Sgt. George Laird and his crew maintained the jet until
1996. Upon Tech. Sgt. Lairds’ retirement, Tech.
Sgt. Mark Keilblock took over the jet and maintained
it until Master Sgt. David Pearl and his assistant, Tech.
Sgt. Kurt Reinert, were assigned in 1998. Pearl gave
her the name “The Volunteer” and, he and
his team, which includes Staff Sgts. Bob Hess, Chris
Smith and Airman 1st Class Tyler Chytaus maintained her
until Nov. 10, 2003.
the 26 years 2606 spent at McGuire, over nine thousand
flight hours where logged on the airframe. “The
Volunteer” was involved in a variety of conflicts
including Vietnam, Desert Shield/Storm, Iraqi Freedom,
Noble Eagle, and The War on Terrorism, to mention just
a few. She will undoubtedly continue to serve the Air
Force proudly and will be a great asset to any unit in
which she serves. The 108th crew chiefs wish her well
and will miss her.
NJ Army National Guard welcomes two Warrant Officer
Army Aviation Appointments.
CW5 Al Curving, Command Chief Warrant Officer of the
NJ Army National Guard, and COL Paul Ciervo, State Army
Aviation Officer, jointly announce the appointments and
accessions of WO1 Matthew Lanese and WO1 Jonathan Sodomin
to the Corps. Congratulations to both soldiers, who were
pinned at Warrant Officer Candidate School graduation
ceremonies in Fort Rucker, Alabama.
Mr. Lanese is a traditional drilling Guardsman, and
was a Specialist in the Headquarters and Headquarters
Company, 1/150th General Support Aviation Battalion.
Mr. Sodomin is a full-time technician at the Army Aviation
Flight Facility in West Trenton, and a Sergeant with
Company A of the 1/150th General Support Aviation Battalion.
Jon was also selected as the NJ ARNG Outstanding NCO
of the Year for 2003 earlier this year.
Both soldiers will remain at Fort Rucker while attending
Initial Entry Rotary Wing school. They are both scheduled
to become UH-60 helicopter pilots with Company A of the
1/150th GSAB. Chief Curving noted that there has never
been a better time to become a Warrant Officer in the
NJ Army National Guard than today.
Distinguished, Meritorious, and Vietnam Service Medal
Presentation Ceremonies are scheduled.
Distinguished Service Medal
Meritorious Service Medal
VFW Post 1616
1940 Black Horse Pike, Williamstown, NJ
A little piece of history.
from the New Jersey Air National Guard Heritage Center
met with retired Major Larry Guarino
and his wife, Evelyn, and videotaped their interview.
As part of the NJ Air National Guard’s ongoing
efforts to capture and preserve the histories of the
state’s units through the videotaping of oral histories,
the Heritage Center volunteers learned an interesting
tale about this retired Air National Guard aviator. On
June 14, 1965, Maj Larry Guarino took off from Korat
Airbase, Thailand, in his F-1095D Thunderchief on his
way to a bombing mission in Viet Nam. His aircraft was
hit by enemy ground fire, he was forced to eject the
aircraft, and was captured shortly after landing. This
was the beginning of 2,801 days of brutal captivity,
during which time he was subjected to both physical and
mental torture as a POW in North Vietnam. Mrs. Evelyn
Guarino had to accept the responsibility of raising their
four sons on her own. Throughout their ordeal, their
unfailing faith and love for each other gave them the
strength to endure even during the darkest moments. Both
Larry and Evelyn have written books about their experiences
during their nearly eight years of separation. They also
tell of their joyful reunion after his release from North
Vietnam, and how they dealt with the difficult aftermath
of Larry’s imprisonment. Larry served in the US
Army Air Force, the New Jersey Air National Guard, and
the US Air Force, a career that has spanned over 30 years
of dedicated military service to this nation. A copy
of Larry and Evelyn’s videotaped interview will
be added to the Colonel Lou Vocino NJANG Heritage Center’s
oral history collection located at McGuire Air Force
Vietnam Veterans’ Memorial and Vietnam
Era Education Center Announces its Calendar of Events.
For more information about any of these events, please
call the NJ Vietnam Veterans Memorial Foundation office
at (732) 335-0033.
Veteran Verse: “Earth Songs” by
Jan Barry and “Tunnel Vision” by
is Friday, December 12th, the 353rd day of 2003. There
are 13 days left in the year. On this day…
1732 – Benjamin Franklin began publishing “Poor
1843 – Charles Dickens’ “A Christmas
Carol” was first published in England.
1918 – Robert Ripley began his “Believe
It or Not” column in “The New York Globe.”
1972 – Apollo 17 splashed down in the Pacific,
ending the Apollo program of manned lunar landings.
1998 – U.S. President Bill Clinton was impeached
on two charges of perjury and obstruction of justice
by the U.S. House of Representatives.
Happenings – Check to see what’s
happening at an Armory near you.
Card & Comics Show
Leonardo DaVinci invented the scissors.
Peanuts are one of the ingredients of dynamite.
- “Stewardesses” is the longest word typed
with only the left hand, and “lollipop” with
The average person’s left hand does 56% of the
The cruise liner, QE2, moves only six inches for each
gallon of diesel that it burns.