New Jersey Department of Military and Veterans Affairs
DMAVA Highlights Archives

5 December 2003

Volume 2, Number 33

NJ Dept of Military and Veterans Affairs

BG Glenn K. Rieth

The Adjutant General

Col Maria Falca-Dodson

Deputy Adjutant General

COL (Ret) Emil H. Philibosian

Deputy Commissioner for Veterans Affairs

Contacting us is easy!

Office of the

Joint Chief of Staff

COL (Ret) Michael B. Smith

Mrs. Laura A. Branham


(609) 530-6987


(609) 530-7109


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"The first fall of snow is not only an event, it is a magical event.

You go to bed in one kind of a world and wake up in another quite different, and if this is not enchantment then where is it to be found."  

.J.B. Priestley

English Novelist, Playwright, Essayist


Calendar Notes.

Annual Gifts for Kids Drive

24 Nov - 8 Dec 03

DMVA Holiday Dinner

Friday, 12 Dec 03

Garden Room

Lawrenceville Armory

Make your reservation NLT 5 Dec 03


ChalleNGe Youth Program

Classes will begin in March, 2004. Info is available at:




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.

Thank you

Thank you

Thank you



The 2003 Governor's Annual Coat Drive was a success thanks to the generosity of our employees.


DMVA collected 121 winter coats, which were given to the Trenton Area Soup Kitchen for distribution to those needing a helping hand.

Governor McGreevey meets with Deployed National Guard Family Members.

Governor James E. McGreevey recently met with family members of deployed New Jersey National Guard soldiers to discuss and share their experiences about the hardships of having their loved ones deployed to Iraq and how volunteerism has affected their lives.

"Our National Guard members have dedicated their time and lives to serve and protect the people of New Jersey and our Nation, " said Governor McGreevey. "I believe all of us have a moral obligation to do everything in our power to support our National Guard members and their families through these challenging times for the sacrifices they are making."

The Governor discussed how programs like the Family Readiness Group (FRG) can help individuals cope with the difficulties of having a family member deployed overseas on active duty. The FRG provides information, support, and outreach to family members. The program is designed to:

s            Develop relationships that enable effective communication.

s            Foster a sense of belonging to the team in all family members.

s            Create forums for family members to develop friendships and support each other.

s            Establish communication networks.

s            Provide and participate in formal FRG professional development training opportunities.

s            Enable service members to feel confident that their family can take care of themselves and be self-sufficient during times of separation.

"The military recognizes the many sacrifices made by family members, whose loved ones serve our state and nation," said Brigadier General Glenn K. Rieth. "The Governor's willingness to meet with these family members displays a tremendous amount of support on behalf of the state of New Jersey."

Over 7,500 medals presented to New Jersey's veterans during 2003.

In special award ceremonies held throughout the State during 2003, New Jersey proudly honored its veterans and acknowledged the debt the state owed them for their service as it presented them with the following medals:

         4,319 Distinguished Service Medals

         1,058 Meritorious Service Medals

         2,309 Vietnam Service Medals

Additional information regarding eligibility for these Medals is available on our website:

Fallen Soldier buried.

Specialist Ryan "Travis" Baker was buried at the Brigadier General William C. Doyle Veterans Memorial Cemetery on Tuesday, 2 December 2003. Specialist Baker was the fourth New Jerseyan killed in action in Iraq and the second to be buried at General Doyle Cemetery. His father, a Navy veteran, was buried at the state's Veterans' Cemetery just four weeks ago. Now they rest in adjacent graves in Section 0-1. More than 100 family members and friends looked on while full military honors were rendered at the service, which was held at the cemetery's Memorial Walkway.

Veterans Haven recognized.

On December 2, 2003, the Long Branch Veterans Association for the Homeless made a donation to Veterans Haven. The $1,000 check was presented to Veterans Haven Superintendent, Roberto Durante, in recognition of the important work that he and his staff do for New Jersey's veterans. The money will be used to make quality of life improvements at Veterans Haven.

DMVA participated in the 88th Annual NJ State League of Municipalities (NJLM) Conference.

DMVA and the NJ Employer Support of the Guard and Reserve Committee (ESGR) participated in the 88th Annual NJ State League of Municipalities (NJLM) Conference held 18-20 November 2003. The NJLM is a voluntary association created to help communities do a better job of self-government through pooling information resources and brainpower. Commercial, government, and association exhibits display the latest products and services for municipal governments. A seminar entitled "Military Leave and Municipal Employer Rights and Responsibilities" featured BG Glenn K. Rieth, The Adjutant General, and Brig Gen (Ret) Robert Dutko, Sr., Chairman of the NJESGR, leading the discussion concerning federal and state laws and rules and regulations concerning the rights of employers and their active duty personnel.

Elks honor veterans.

The Trenton Lodge 105 of the Elks recently hosted their 10th annual dinner for veterans. BG Glenn K. Rieth, Honorary Chairperson for the event, presented the keynote remarks. Invited honorees included veterans from Veterans Haven and the Vineland Memorial Home, and the Lodge presented two checks for $1,000 each to both facilities. COL (Ret) Steve Abel, Director, Division of Veterans Services, accepted the check on behalf of the Vineland Memorial Home residents, while Bob Durante, Superintendent of Veterans Haven, accepted the donation for his facility. We thank the Trenton Elks for generous and continued support for our veterans.

NJ Air Guard's Warren Grove Range wins Healthy Ecosystems Honorable Mention.

The Warren Grove Range was presented with the Healthy Ecosystems Honorable Mention Award from the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection (NJDEP) at the 2003 Environmental Excellence Awards ceremony in Atlantic City's Convention Center on 18 November 2003. Winners were selected from a record number of nominations and were judged on the basis of documented environmental benefits, innovation, and long-term impact of their work to the environment. The Warren Grove Air National Guard Range (WGR) is located in the heart of the Pinelands National Reserve and consists of 9,400 acres, most of which are undeveloped and serve as a buffer to weapons range operations. Pygmy pine forests dominate the safety buffer, as well as parts of the impact zone where gunnery training occurs, with occasional wetlands including Atlantic white cedar swamps, hardwood swamps, savannas, and lowland forests. To maintain a healthy ecosystem, the base developed an Integrated Natural Resources Management Plan that includes priority goals that support ecosystem and watershed management, threatened and endangered species management, and outreach and education. This honorable mention recognizes the implementation of the WGR Integrated Natural Resources Management Plan. A special thanks to the following departments in helping the range receive such a prestigious award: The Nature Conservancy, Drexel University, and the Warren Grove Range personnel for assisting with the projects and working with the numerous contractors who have visited the range throughout the years.

DMVA to participate in Homeless Management Information Systems Pilot Project.

The Homeless Network Planning Committee (HNPC), under the direction of the Camden County Planning and Advocacy Council and in cooperation with the United States Housing and Urban Development Continuum of Care block grant initiatives has designated Camden County as a pilot project center for the establishment of the Homeless Management Information System (HMIS). This information management tool for the nation's homeless population will be instrumental in finally identifying and tracking homeless individuals throughout the United States. Veterans Haven Superintendent, Roberto Durante, recently joined the HMIS sub-committee to represent the Department during the preliminary preparations for statewide implementation.

NJ Army National Guard celebrates a direct appointment to Warrant Officer.

LTC Loretta S. Thomas, Commander of the 150th Signal Battalion, and former Commander, LTC Kevin C. Hegarty, jointly announced the direct appointment from Sergeant to WO1 Michael A. Mercurio II as a 250N Network Management Technician. Mr. Mercurio was determined to be eligible by the Signal Corps proponent at Fort Gordon, Georgia, without the requirement to attend Warrant Officer Basic Course, a very rare accomplishment. Previous completion of Officer Candidate School at the NJ Military Academy at Sea Girt in 1993 enabled direct appointment to WO1. Mr. Mercurio will serve as a Network Management Technician in the Headquarters and Headquarters Company of the Signal Battalion.

Wal-Mart Stores, Inc. received the Corporate Patriotism Award.

American Veterans Awards (AVA) announced on 20 November 2003 that Wal-Mart Stores, Inc., will receive the prestigious "Corporate Patriotism Award" sponsored by the Employer Support of Guard & Reserve (ESGR) at the 9th annual American Veterans Awards: A Tribute to Freedom on November 21, 2003. This award is presented each year to a company that exhibits exceptional support and dedication to the ideals of AVA in raising awareness and support of U.S. service members and their families. The award is open to any American corporation who donates substantial resources, without corporate financial gain, in assisting veterans, active duty military and reservists. AVA is America's preeminent tribute uniting arts and entertainment with the patriotic fabric of our nation - our past, present, and future military and their families. The show will air on The History Channel in February 2004.

Holiday Lighting Ceremony at NJ Vietnam Veterans' Memorial Foundation.

The NJ Vietnam Veterans Memorial Foundation will host the Holiday Lighting Celebration on Saturday, December 13, 2003, in conjunction with Vietnam Veterans of America Chapter 800 and the Jewish War Veterans, Department of New Jersey. The ceremony will take place by the five service flags outside the NJ Vietnam Veterans' Memorial, and will begin at 6:00 PM with the lighting of the tree and menorah, and a reading on Kwanza. Immediately after the ceremony, Chapter 800's Color Guard will lead the participants inside the Memorial for a service and wreath laying ceremony. Hot chocolate will be served in the Educational Center. We invite you to join us in remembering those veterans who are no longer with us during the holiday season.

NOTE: PNC Bank Arts Center has their Holiday Light Spectacular occurring at the same time. When you arrive, let them know you are there for the Memorial or you will be stuck in the traffic. Also, be aware that you will leaving via the Holiday Light Show route so it may take a while to exit the Arts Center grounds (but it will sure look festive).

Distinguished, Meritorious, and Vietnam Service Medal Presentation Ceremonies are scheduled.

17 December

11 a.m.

Distinguished Service Medal

Meritorious Service Medal

National Guard Armory

151 Eggert Crossing Rd., Lawrenceville, NJ

Lieutenant Colonel Richard Duckworth reaches 3,000 flight-hour milestone.

On October 10, Lt. Col. Richard Duckworth of the 177th Fighter Wing completed 3,000 flight hours. The milestone was reached in F-16, tail number 84-1260. Lt. Col. Duckworth stated, "I am thrilled to have had the chance to fly the F-16 as much and as long as I have." The 3,000-hour mark is significant as it is all in the F-16, and it not his total flying time. That is probably on the order of 3,250 (military) hours with training time. Lt. Col. Duckworth began flying at pilot training at Vance AFB, Oklahoma, in December 1985, and began flying the F-16 in February 1987. He had five operational assignments in the Viper prior to separating from the Air Force in 1999. He then joined the Air National Guard and requalified in the F-16 in November of 2001. "It has been amazing to watch the weapon system continue to grow and evolve in the various missions," said Lt. Col. Duckworth. "I hope to continue flying this jet for quite a long time."

Scholarship Program for Military Children opens applications.

The application period for children of active-duty, retired, Guard and Reserve members to apply for $1,500 academic scholarships is underway and runs until February 18, 2004. The goal is to award at least one scholarship at every commissary location, depending on the number of qualified applicants and funding. In 2002, the program awarded 550 scholarships from among 6,500 applicants. For scholarship information, please visit

Governor's Annual Gifts for Kids Drive is now under way.

The Governor's Annual Gifts for Kids Drive has begun and will run from November 24 through December 8, 2003. Time to donate toys and gifts is running out, and once again, we are counting on your generosity to make this year's drive a success. While you're out this weekend doing your Holiday shopping, think of those less fortunate and donate a gift for a needy child. You can place your donation in the box in the lobby of our Lawrenceville Headquarters building.

The 63rd Army Band schedules Holiday Concert.

The New Jersey Army National Guard's 63rd Army Band has scheduled a holiday concert for Saturday, 13 December 2003. The concert will be held at the Expo Center, Ft. Monmouth, New Jersey, and will begin at 7 p.m. If you have a valid military ID Card and DOD sticker, you will not need a parking pass. If you do not have a valid military ID Card and DOD sticker, you must obtain a parking pass by calling 732-974-5963 with your name and address. Your pass will be sent directly to you.

Tax Relief Act Aids Military Families.

The Military Family Tax Relief Act of 2003 increases the death gratuity payment to $12,000 tax-free, changes the capital gains exclusion for home sales by military members, increases the deduction for many travel expenses incurred during duty-related travel, and extends the deadline for filing while serving in a contingency operation. The death benefit is retroactive to September 10, 2001 and the capital gain exclusion for home sales is retroactive to 1997 so military members who have sold their homes since 1997 have one year from November 11, 2003 to request a refund for any tax they did pay.

NJ 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.

13 Dec

3 p.m.

Author Lana Noone will discuss her book, Global Mom: Notes From a Pioneer Adoptive Family.

13 Dec

6 p.m.

Holiday Lighting Ceremony will include lighting of the tree and menorah, and a reading on Kwanza. A memorial service and wreath laying ceremony will follow.

Today in History.

Today is Friday, December 5th, the 339th day of 2003. There are 26 days left in the year. On this day.

J          1492 - Christopher Columbus discovered Hispaniola (now Haiti-Dominican Republic)

J          1848 - U.S. President Polk triggered the Gold Rush of '49 by confirming the fact that gold had been discovered in California.

J          1932 - German physicist Albert Einstein was granted a visa making it possible for him to travel to the United States.

J          1962 - The U. S. and the Soviet Union agreed to cooperate in the peaceful uses of outer space.

J          1988 - Shuttle Atlantis launches world's 1st nuclear war fighting satellite.

J          2001 - Afghan leaders signed a pact to create a temporary administration for post-Taliban Afghanistan.

Red Cross needs assistance for wounded Servicemembers.

The American Red Cross at Walter Reed Army Medical Center is looking for incidentals/comfort items for sick and wounded Armed Forces personnel now recuperating at the hospital. When someone is stationed in Iraq, Afghanistan, or elsewhere and is wounded or falls ill, they are immediately evacuated and it can take weeks for their personal effects to catch up with them. The Red Cross is asking for donations of any of the following: telephone cards of at least 30 minutes, rolling luggage (small totes, carry-ons), magazines, playing cards, games, notepads and pens, sweatpants and shirts (all sizes). All items should be addressed to American Red Cross, ATTN: Barbara Green, Walter Reed Army Medical Center, 6900 Georgia Avenue N.W., Washington, DC 20307-5001. For more information, call 202-782-2080 or e-mail  

Armory Happenings - Check to see what's happening at an Armory near you.

12-14 December

Craft Show and Sale

Morristown Armory

14 December

Nascar Collectibles Show

Bordentown Armory

26-28 December

Wrestling Tournament

Teaneck Armory

28 December

Sports Card & Comics Show

Bordentown Armory

Fun Facts -

J          A "jiffy" is an actual unit of time for 1/100th of a second.

J          A goldfish has a memory span of three seconds.

J          Babies are born without kneecaps. They don't appear until the child reaches 2-6 years of age.

J          Cats have over one hundred vocal sounds. Dogs only have about 10.

J          " Dreamt" is the only word in the English language that ends in "mt."


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