Rep. Pascrell Commends Navy for Honoring WWII Hero Basilone
PATERSON— U.S. Rep. Bill Pascrell, Jr. (D-NJ), co-chairman of the Italian-American Congressional Delegation, released the following statement on the naming of a U.S. Navy ship after legendary New Jersey World War II hero, Gunnery Sergeant John Basilone.
"John Basilone is a New Jersey hero and deserves all of the credit we can give him. His story is an inspiration to all Americans, holding a special place in the heart of veterans and Italian Americans," said Rep. Pascrell, a veteran of the U.S. Army and Army Reserve. "For this ship to bear his name is an honor that will keep his bravery and dedication to protecting the American people in our minds for years to come."
Secretary of the Navy Ray Mabus announced that an Arleigh Burke-class destroyer will be the second ship named after Basilone, following the decommissioning of the USS Basilone in 1977.
Rep. Pascrell initiated and led a Congressional movement to honor John Basilone with a U.S. postage stamp. His quest was successful when Basilone was memorialized on a stamp as part of the Distinguished Marine Stamp Series unveiled in 2005. Rep. Pascrell also advocated for Montclair State University to name a wing of a dormitory after Basilone.
Gunnery Sergeant John Basilone of Raritan, New Jersey was the first Marine to be presented the Congressional Medal of Honor for heroism in World War II. He was later posthumously awarded the Navy Cross after he was killed in Iwo Jima. He was the only enlisted WWII Marine to win the Medal of Honor, the Navy Cross, and the Purple Heart.