MORRISTOWN, NJ – Charles Argenziano, a U.S. Army veteran from Roxbury, was one of 11 veterans from Morris County honored Wednesday by the county freeholders at a Memorial Day ceremony.
Argenziano, of Succasunna, grew up in Totowa. He enlisted in the Army in 1966 and served through 1969, a stint that included a tour of duty in Vietnam as a member of the 4th Aircraft Maintenance Battalion, Third Army.
In Vietnam, he was an avionics line chief stationed at Chu Lai, where he specialized in rotor wing aircraft. He subsequently was deployed to Hunter Army Airfield in Savannah, Georgia, as a member of the avionics repair crew.
Argenziano graduated first in his class at Avionics School at Fort Gordon in Georgia, received the Vietnam Service Medal with three Bronze Service Stars, the Vietnam Campaign Medal, two Overseas Bars, a Good Conduct Medal, a National Defense Service Medal and Sharpshooter Badge for the M-16 rifle.
After being honorably discharged in 1969, Charles worked at Fairfield Airport in the avionics shop calibration lab and served the airport as a sales representative, equipment tester and director of technical support – specializing in power equipment.”
He is a father of three children, Scott, Jesse and Carri as well as son-in-law Eric and daughters-in-law Laura and Heather.
Argenziano, a member of VFW Post 2833 in Kenvil and DAV Chapter 16 in Somerville, said his main focus in life has been his children. “All of these years, I have wanted my children to be healthy and happy. And that has happened.”
At the ceremony the freeholders presented the veterans, including Argenziano, with the Morris County Distinguished Military Service Medal. Joining Argenziano in receiving a medals were
• John Mascellino, Montville, U.S. Army
• Trygve “Arne’’ Arnesan, Mine Hill, U.S. Navy
• Kenneth Hanzl, Montville, U.S. Army
• Francis Phillips, East Hanover, U.S. Navy
• Sean Fitzpatrick, Flanders/Stanhope, U.S. Army
• Joseph Clayton, Lake Hopatcong, U.S.M.C.
At the ceremony, military veterans from across the county, representing a number of military conflicts, were honored by the freeholders. The ceremony took place on the lawn of the Morris County Courthouse.
The keynote speaker was Charles Jurgensen, a former Marine and retired Morris County Veterans Service officer, who served the county’s military veterans and their families for 13 years. Jurgensen is a 2016 recipient of the “Unsung Military Hero Service Award’’ for his long-time dedication to the needs of the county’s veterans.
“We in Morris County honor those Americans, like Charles Jurgensen, who have served in the armed forces, and we honor those Americans who have given their lives while serving to preserve our freedoms,’’ said Morris County Freeholder Director Doug Cabana at the event. “As President Ronald Reagan once said, ‘I don’t have to tell you how fragile this gift of freedom is. Every time we hear or watch or read the news, we are reminded that liberty is a rare commodity in this world.’’
Freeholders Cabana, Christine Myers, John Cesaro, Heather Darling and Deborah Smith were joined at the event by state Assemblyman Anthony Bucco, County Clerk Ann Grossi, county Sheriff James Gannon, county Prosecutor Fredric Knapp and state Superior Court Assignment Judge Stuart Minkowitz, among others.
The county’s Distinguished Service Medal is unique to Morris County and features the county seal encircled with the words, “Morris County Distinguished Military Service,” on the front. An outline of the county and the American flag is on the back of the medal, along with the words, “Morris County Freeholders Military Commemorative.”
Each medal’s striped ribbon is the color of the specific conflict during which the veteran served.
Since the freeholders began the program in 2000, nearly 10,000 medals have been presented to veterans or to their family members.
Today’s ceremony featured the Marine Corps Color Guard, Golf Co, 2nd Battalion, 25th Regiment from Picatinny Arsenal; the Morris County Sheriff’s Department Color Guard; an invocation by Pastor David Boone of Parsippany, a previous county veterans’ medal recipient, and patriotic songs by the Lakeview School Select Chorus of Denville.
Bagpipes were played by Captain Robert McNally of the Morris County Prosecutor’s Office and Pete Wojtal of the Essex County Emerald Society, and Police and Fire Pipes and Drums.
The wreath laying featured Knapp and Dominic Imperiale, the son of the recently deceased Alfonse Imperiale, who had been the Homeland Security Director of Critical Infrastructure for the Prosecutor’s Office.
Also honored today were four World War II U.S. Navy veterans from Morris County whose ship, the USS Juneau, went down in the Pacific in 1942.
Among 687 on board the Juneau were the five Sullivan brothers of Waterloo, Iowa, whose deaths shook the nation in 1942. The Juneau was lost until March of this year, when it was discovered in waters off of the Solomon Islands.
The four Morris County sailors on the Juneau:
• Seaman First Class Robert Walker Mason of Riverdale;
• Seaman Second Class Ernest V. Wooley of Butler;
• Seaman Second Class Joseph Michael Regeic of Morristown;
• Lieutenant John “Jack” Williams Pitney, who has a memorial at Evergreen Cemetery in Morristown.
A moment of silence was held in their honor.
To view the full Memorial Day program, visit: https://morriscountynj.gov/wp-content/uploads/2018/05/2018-Memorial-Day-Program.pdf.