Posted Monday, December 7th, 2020
A Statement on the Anniversary of Pearl Harbor from the Morris County Board of Freeholders
More than 2,000 lives were lost when Imperial Japan’s dive-bombers destroyed the serenity of a beautiful Sunday morning in Hawaii on Dec. 7, 1941 with an unprovoked attack on the U.S. Naval fleet at Pearl Harbor.
Our nation was shaken to its core by the brutal strafing and destructive bombing the Japanese war planes meted out in just an hour and 15 minutes that day. World history was altered and the life of every American was changed as the United States entered World War II to defend the very essence of human liberty and self-determination against the expansionist, authoritarian forces of Imperial Japan and Nazi Germany.
But our foes miscalculated America’s resolve to remain free and to pay whatever terrible price was necessary to keep democracy alive. Our nation mobilized to launch not only a solid defense of the homeland on two fronts, but also to unleash the most fierce and effective fighting force ever witnessed in human existence. A sleeping giant truly had been awakened in the hearts and minds of American men and women who would become known as our Greatest Generation.
They were prepared to sacrifice everything, and many did just that
as they relentlessly fought to crush two nemeses who had already spent a decade scorching the earth in their determined march to achieve world domination.
Today, on the 79th Anniversary of Pearl Harbor Day, we must pause to remember the attack that changed the world and America forever. We must take a moment to thank the Greatest Generation for the courage and resilience they mustered and maintained so that the free world not only survived, but thrived. We can never forget, and we will always be grateful.
Freeholder Director Deborah Smith, Deputy Director Stephen H. Shaw, Douglas R. Cabana, John Krickus, Kathleen A. DeFillippo, Thomas J. Mastrangelo and Tayfun Selen.
Some Morris County Connections to Pearl Harbor
William M. Hartman, Sr.: Born in Germany, Mr. Hartman lived in Dover and made the U.S. Navy his career. He served in WWI, and later was at Pearl Harbor the day of the attack.
“My grandfather told the family how he had been off duty the day they bombed Pearl Harbor and wound up at the airfield shooting one of the big guns at the plane,” said his granddaughter, Ms. Cheryl Barkley.
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.
Herbert Arthur “Bert” Dargue of Morristown: Born in Brooklyn, N.Y. in 1886, his last known residence was in Morristown. He was a graduate of the United States Military Academy, Class of 1911.
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.
Joseph Coccia of Hanover: He was in the Army and stationed at Hickam Field at Pearl Harbor. He survived the Japanese plane strafes.
William Minton Hummer of Dover: He was a student at the
University of Hawaii and-somehow- made his way back to the mainland and enlisted in the Army Air Corps. On December 8th, the United States formally entered a war that had raged since 1939; becoming a key factor within the Allied Forces _ joining with Great Britain, France, China and the Soviet Union to defeat the Axis forces of Germany, Italy and Japan.
Hummer was awarded the Purple Heart (posthumous), the Morris County Distinguished Service Medal (posthumous) and placed on the Roll of Honor Mine Hill. In 2013, an Honorary street sign “William Hummer Way” was added to Randall Avenue in Mine Hill to commemorate WWII Army veteran Second Lt. William Minton Hummer.
Thousands of Morris County men and women enlisted in the services after Pearl Harbor and engaged in a conflict that lasted five years.