Menlo Park Veterans honored by Quilts of Valor
New Jersey Department of Military and Veterans Affairs Public Affairs Office
January 24, 2023
Edison, NJ – Seventy-five residents received hand-made quilts during a ceremony at the New Jersey Veterans Memorial Home at Menlo Park in Edison, New Jersey, Jan. 24, 2023.
The quilts, some taking months, and even years to construct, were made by 22 members of the Turtle Creek Peacemakers, a central New Jersey Chapter of the national Quilts of Valor Foundation.
The quilt makers created a theme for each quilt, selecting materials and personalizing through patterns, embroidery, and other embellishments. The quilters affixed a label to each quilt detailing the recipient’s name, location and date, along with the names of those who pieced, quilted, and bound the individual quilt.
The project was the chapter’s largest since its establishment in 2003. Honoring both the quilt recipients and the quilt makers were State Assemblyman Robert J. Karabinchak; Sharon McGreevey, Veterans Advocate for State Senator Joe Vitale; Mayor Sam Joshi, Township of Edison; Robin Goodrich, New Jersey Veterans Memorial Home at Menlo Park Advisory Council member; Vincent Solomeno, Acting Deputy Commissioner of Veteran Affairs, along with Department of Military and Veteran Affairs staff.
New Jersey National Guard Pioneered the End of Segregation
Although history credits President Harry Truman with desegregating America’s military, the truth is that racial integration had already arrived in New Jersey, thanks to a governor and National Guard leaders who had stubbornly insisted on equality in their forces.
In the space of four months, from November 1947 to February 1948, the New Jersey National Guard changed history.
The story begins at a time when the New Jersey National Guard was growing.
World War II had been over for more than a year and the New Jersey National Guard was recruiting new members to fill the recently created 50th Armored Division. The National Guard Bureau, which fell under the War Department, had authorized New Jersey to organize the 372nd Anti-Aircraft Artillery group. Because integration did not yet exist in the military, the 372nd would reflect the United States Army’s policy toward Blacks – the unit was to be composed entirely of Black Soldiers.
And this is where the story would have ended except for one event. Read the rest of the story.
Dates in History
The NJ National Guard assembled at Sea Girt for World War I duty, and then traveled to Camp McClellan, Alabama. Most NJ National Guard units were assigned to the 29th Division, which was organized at McClellan. The old NJ state identified units were reorganized and given new federal numerical designations, including the 113th and 114th Infantry Regiments, which still exist in the state’s National Guard.
The New Jersey National Guard ceased to be an all-male organization when the first women soldiers in its history, two nurses, Captain Frances R. Comstock and 1st Lieutenant Lucille Valentino of Paterson, were sworn in as members of the 114th Mobile Surgical Hospital.
The New Jersey Army National Guard closed its largest combat deployment since World War II - the 2,900 soldiers of the 50th Infantry Brigade Combat Team served 10 months in Iraq - with a parade and celebration in downtown Trenton, NJ.
The Adjutant General
Brigadier General Lisa J. Hou, D.O.
Brigadier General Lisa J. Hou, D.O., is the Adjutant General and Commissioner of the New Jersey Department of Military and Veterans Affairs.
Brigadier General Hou commands the more than 8,400 Soldiers and Airmen of the New Jersey National Guard. She leads, directs, and manages the New Jersey Department of Military and Veterans Affairs in the execution of federal and state missions. In addition, she manages all state veterans’ programs, commissions, and facilities in New Jersey.
Prior to being selected by Governor Philip Murphy on October 18, 2020, Brigadier General Hou served as the Assistant Commissioner for Operations, Deputy Adjutant General (DAG) for New Jersey.
In addition to her responsibilities with DMAVA, Dr. Hou is an active Brigadier General in the New Jersey National Guard. In 2018 she became the first Joint Surgeon of the New Jersey National Guard, overseeing medical readiness and medical personnel statewide.
Previously, Dr. Hou served in the dual roles of commander of the Medical Command and the State Surgeon. In those capacities, she was responsible for the medical and dental readiness of more than 6,000 soldiers.