Spring 2009 Edition NJDMAVA Veterans

About NJ Veteran Journal:
The New Jersey Veteran Journal is an official publication of the New Jersey Department of Military and Veterans Affairs and is intended to serve New Jersey's veterans, their families, friends and concerned individuals and groups. All correspondence should be sent to:

Veteran Journal Editor, NJDMAVA/PA, PO Box 340,
Trenton, NJ 08625-0340

Message from the Governor

Dear Veteran,

Without question 2008 was an historic year for New Jersey veterans, and I was certainly proud of my opportunity to honor service veterans from the past, the present, and the future over this past year. I am equally proud of the service of the New Jersey Department of Military and Veterans Affairs, as they have had an outstanding year in support of the veterans’ community through increased outreach, assistance in filing for federal benefits, and providing support to thousands of brave men and women who proudly wore their uniform in service to our state and nation.

One of the proudest moments during this past year was the Veterans Day dedication of the state World War II Memorial in Trenton, a long-overdue

Message from the Governor
Governor Jon S. Corzine (right) looks at the envelope detailing the location of two time capsules buried at the New Jersey World War II Memorial at Veterans Park presented to him by Vineland Veterans Memorial Home resident 100-year-old Frank Cuccia (second from left), 13th Airborne Division paratrooper, U.S. Army, as Maj. Gen Glenn K. Rieth (left), The Adjutant General of New Jersey, and retired Col. Stephen G. Abel (second from right), Deputy Commissioner for Veterans Affairs, look on at the dedication ceremony for the Memorial on Nov. 11, 2008. Photo by Tech. Sgt. Mark Olsen, NJDMAVA/PA.

recognition to those who put their lives on hold to travel to far away lands, defending democracy and fighting tyranny and oppression. The men and women who served the state and nation during this time of crisis gave us a tremendous gift – the gift of freedom. I encourage you to learn more about the sacrifices of what has been called the “Greatest Generation” with a visit to the World War II Memorial.

Today we are faced with new challenges, in yet another part of the world. The number of New Jerseyans protecting our freedoms right now is at an historic high, with more than 3,000 citizen soldiers involved in combat operations. I had the opportunity to personally thank these brave men and women during a visit to Iraq, and was proud of their sense of duty, dedication, and responsibility as they take on the most difficult of tasks. These soldiers represent every county in New Jersey. Some are new recruits, others are seasoned combat veterans, but they are all making sacrifices.

And let us not forget the “home front heroes,” the mothers and fathers, sisters and brothers, husbands, wives, and children, who worry each day about their loved one and must make difficult adjustments in their lives. Also there are the employers, who must make do without their employee for a year. I truly appreciate how the veterans’ community has stepped up to stand sideby- side with these individuals who are making sacrifices of their own in service of the state and nation.

But perhaps the biggest challenge lies ahead of us in June, when the state will have the largest influx of combat veterans since World War II. This is when the 50th Infantry Brigade Combat Team comes back from its tour of duty overseas. It will be the duty of the state Department of Military and Veterans Affairs and all of New Jersey to assist our veterans upon their return.

There are certainly post deployment programs in place to help with the re-integration into families and the workplace, and an excellent post traumatic stress disorder hotline ready to talk to the veteran and refer for treatment. And we have the Yellow Ribbon Commission and the Guard’s State Family Readiness Council ready to respond to financial needs of the families. But most importantly we have the collective consciousness of a thankful New Jersey, and we have you, the veteran, to let these newest brothers and sisters in arms know they are not alone. They will need the opportunity to speak to someone who has served in a combat zone, to tell their own story. This will be the opportunity to give a much-deserved “welcome home” to these new veterans and let them know their service is appreciated beyond measure.

There are memorial services, dedications, and medal ceremonies, but most importantly it is the services that New Jersey provides to our half-million veterans that is the greatest measure of how we honor their service. And with your support I know we will continue to honor every veteran that calls the Garden State home.