Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Invading New Jersey

Uncle Vinnie's Clam Bar
Raritan, NJ

The AI tour recently launched a brief invasion of New Jersey.

Leaving New York state, we made a beeline for Raritan New Jersey.  In Raritan we were disappointed to learn that Uncle Vinnie's Clam bar is not open for lunch!  A quick stop for a slice of pizza was some consolation.
John Basilone USMC
Raritan, NJ
We did however find the statue of John Basilone that we were searching for.  Basilone was a United States Marine who won the medal of honor fighting on Guadalcanal in the Pacific.  He had served previously in the Philippines and earned the nickname "Manila John".  After Guadalcanal, he was sent stateside on a war bond tour by Uncle Sam.  Missing his fellow Marines, John insisted on returning to his unit.  Tragically, he was killed in action on the first day of the invasion of Iwo Jima.
Basilone Plaque, Raritan, NJ
John was the only enlisted Marine to win both the medal of honor and the navy cross in World War II.  Basilone was of Italian heritage as were an astonishing one in 12 American GIs during the war.

Every year the town of Raritan celebrates a John Basilone day to commemorate his life.

At the US Marine Corps Museum in Triangle Virginia I would later meet a 92 year old Marine who also served on Iwo Jima and played baseball with John Basilone in Hawaii!  More to come.

For more on Basilone see...http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/John_Basilone

The New Jersey National guard is partnered with Albania.

Thanks for your service New Jersey!

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