Thursday, December 7th, 2017
STATEMENT BY THE MORRIS COUNTY BOARD OF FREEHOLDERS:
Today, Dec. 7, 2017, we are remembering the 76th anniversary of the attack on Pearl Harbor and the more than 2,000 lives lost on what had been a peaceful, beautiful Sunday morning in Hawaii on Dec. 7, 1941.
The brutal attack by Japanese war planes in Hawaii struck this nation to its very core. It changed the course of history and personally affected the lives of every person and family in Morris County and our nation.
Our country was asked to face an immense life and death challenge in a battle for freedom and democracy on two fronts, against the Japanese in the Pacific and Nazi Germany on the other side of the world.
The men and women of our Greatest Generation looked peril squarely in the face, refused to cower to the forces that took aim at our way of life, and ensured our freedom for generations to come.
Today, on the anniversary of Pearl Harbor Day, so many decades after the attack, we continue to remember and to thank the veterans and their families for their courage, strength, and resilience. We will never forget and we will always thank you.
Douglas R. Cabana, John Cesaro, Kathleen A. DeFillippo, Hank Lyon, Thomas J. Mastrangelo, Christine Myers, and Deborah Smith.
SOME MORRIS COUNTY CONNECTIONS TO PEARL HARBOR (thanks to the efforts of Jan Williams)
William Manley Thompson: Born on May 25, 1920 in New York, he made Mountain Lakes his home. After graduating from the University of North Carolina, Mr. Thompson enlisted in the Navy. Ensign Thompson was assigned to “Battleship Row” aboard the USS Oklahoma.
Ensign Thompson was declared Missing in Action aboard the USS Oklahoma on “a date which will live in infamy-Dec. 7, 1941,” when the ship was bombed. The Ensign became the first casualty from Mountain Lakes and the University of North Carolina in WW II.
The United States Navy began the task of exhuming remains at Pearl Harbor in an effort to positively identify service members. In 2017, with the advancement of DNA technologies, the remains of Ensign Thompson were identified. The Navy escorted his remains home and Ensign Thompson was interred in the Thompson family plot at Old Blandford Cemetery in Petersburg, Virginia.
Peter Chipko: The Rockaway Borough resident was born Sept. 6, 1921. A star athlete at Rockaway High School, Peter felt the need to serve his country. Too young to enlist, Peter joined the civilian core and volunteered to rebuild “Pearl” days after the attack. While there, Mr. Chipko enlisted in the United States Navy.
After discharge, Mr. Chipko returned to Rockaway Borough, and became a devoted member of the Rockaway Borough Historic Committee.
In 2012, while assisting Morris County’s Cultural and Historic Resources with Rockaway Borough’s Historic Sites update, Mr. Chipko spoke briefly of his Navy service after his Navy pin was noticed. Mr. Chipko was reluctant to mention what he witnessed at Pearl Harbor days after the attack, and relayed the following sentiment: “It does not matter, history will forget us”.
Peter Chipko died Feb. 14, 2014. His statement in 2012 served as the impetus for the Morris County Veterans Compendium; the project works to assure veterans their service and sacrifice will not be forgotten.
Walter Marshall Markey, Jr.: A longtime resident of Chester, he was born March 11, 1920 in The Bronx. When he was six years old, his grandmother took him to an air show. Mr. Markey knew that he would “fly one of those, one day.”
In 1940, Mr. Markey got his chance as a cadet in the United States Army Air Corps. One of his first assignments as a newly-minted Lieutenant was to supplement the devastated air squadron at Pearl Harbor. In a 2015 interview, Mr. Markey recalled flying into Pearl Harbor 3 days after the attack: “Everything was black, the water, the sky…the smoke and devastation. That is when I said to myself, circling over Pearl, this is real, this is real.”
First Lieutenant Markey was attached to the 9th Fighter Squadron flying P-38’s and P-47’s. He earned Three Silver Stars, Three Distinguished Flying Crosses with four Oak Leaf clusters and the Air Medal.
Mr. Markey served as a Lieutenant Colonel in Korea. Walter Marshall Markey, Jr. died Aug. 23, 2015 and was buried in Pleasant Hill Cemetery.
On Dec. 16, 1914, he participated in the first military communication by radio while in flight. In 1916, while piloting a Curtiss JN-2 known as a “Jenny”, he set a flight distance record on a long-range reconnaissance mission of 415 miles with only two stops. In 1926 he aided in drafting the legislation that became the Air Corps Act, which led to the establishment of the United States Army Air Corps.
During World War II, he was asked to investigate the lack of preparedness for the Pearl Harbor attack. On his way to Hawaii, Maj. General Daruge was killed when his B-18 plane crashed near the Sierra Nevada Mountains on Dec. 12, 1941. He was buried in Arlington National Cemetery, Section 7.