RANDOLPH, NJ- Walter (“Walt”) Pugsley, 94, a life long Randolph resident who flew over 50 difficult missions with the Navy in anti-submarine patrols during World War ll and has served as a member of Randolph’s volunteer fire department since 1953, will lead the Randolph Kiwanis Freedom Parade as Grand Marshal when it kicks off at Noon on Saturday, June 30.
“We chose Walt Pugsley to be Grand Marshal because of his exceptional record of service to both our nation and to Randolph Township,” said Parade Director Geoff Price.
“Walt served in World War ll to defend our freedoms during a critical time in the shaping of our nation and the world. Walt understood the huge challenge we faced as a nation against tyranny and, most of all, the certainty that only one resolution was acceptable - total victory.”
Pugsley flew his missions in a PB4Y, the Navy version of the B-24 bomber, working as both a waist gunner and an assistant flight engineer. These bombers carried explosive depth charges that were dropped on German submarines, better known as U-boats, in parts of the English Channel and the Atlantic Ocean.
“Walt and his crew members flew long hours and the missions were difficult and required intensive training,” said Price.
The Randolph Kiwanis Freedom Parade - one of the largest Fourth of July parades in New Jersey - is sponsored and organized by the all-volunteer, not-for-profit Randolph Kiwanis Club in partnership with Randolph Township.
The Freedom Parade will kick off at the Mount Fern Methodist Church, 443 Quaker Church Road in Randolph, proceed down Quaker Church Road, make a right on to Center Grove Road, cross Route 10 and finish at the lower parking lot of the County College of Morris in Randolph.
Appearing in the Freedom Parade will be Jaime Gialloreto, 19, Miss New Jersey 2018 who will represent New Jersey at the Miss America competition in September in Atlantic City.
While vying for the state title, Gialloreto advocated for her platform of food allergy awareness and showcased her talent of dance with a lyrical performance to Aretha Franklin’s “Natural Woman.” She is a student at Loyola University Maryland.
The Freedom Parade will also feature bands, military units, first responders, community groups, historical re-enactments and fun attractions.
“The Freedom Parade is a great annual tradition in Randolph that not only celebrates our freedom and salutes the service - and sacrifice - of our active military and veterans but also brings everyone together,” said Price.