FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:
March 8, 2018
Menendez, Booker Applaud Final Passage of Bills to Rename Princeton, Raritan, Belmar, Mullica Hill Post Offices after Prominent NJans
WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Senators Bob Menendez and Cory Booker applauded final passage in the U.S. Senate last night of legislation renaming post offices in Princeton, Raritan, Belmar and Mullica Hills in honor of prominent New Jerseyans. The senators had advocated for these renamings before the Senate Homeland Security and Government Affairs Committee. The separate bills head to President Trump for his signature.
“Renaming post offices after these four, deserving New Jerseyans is a fitting and lasting tribute for all they have accomplished in advancing or protecting this country,” said Sen. Menendez. “John Basilone and Billy Johnson sacrificed their lives in valiant service to our nation during World War II. The brilliance of John Nash and Walter McAfee led to mathematic and scientific breakthroughs, keeping the U.S. on the cutting edge of new discoveries and innovation. Their names, stories and achievements will live on and inspire generations of New Jerseyans.”
“This group of New Jerseyans represents some of the very best our state has to offer,” said Sen. Booker. “The advancements in education, science, and mathematics discovered by John Nash and Walter McAfee can be seen throughout the world. John Basilone and Billy Johnson served our country with honor and distinction, making the ultimate sacrifice defending our nation’s freedom. Honoring such extraordinary New Jerseyans in this way will serve as a lasting tribute to their memory and allow us to reflect on their commitment to the state and nation they loved for years to come.”
The Senate has passed legislation renaming 22 post offices across the country, including the following in New Jersey:
- Dr. John Nash, Jr. Post Office; 259 Nassau St., Ste. 2, Princeton (Mercer)
The legendary figure of Princeton University’s Department of Mathematics was a world-renowned, Nobel Prize-winning mathematician, and the subject of the Oscar Award-winning motion picture “A Beautiful Mind,” portraying Dr. Nash’s professional accomplishments as well his personal struggle with schizophrenia and subsequent recovery from mental illness. Dr. Nash’s work has greatly influenced the fields of mathematics, economics, game theory, social science, evolutionary biology, and others.
- Sergeant John Basilone Post Office; 30 E. Somerset St., Raritan (Somerset)
The Raritan native first enlisted in the U.S. Army in 1934, finished the terms of his enlistment in 1937, and then reenlisted in the Marines in 1940 at the start of World War II. In 1942, Sgt. Basilone participated in Operation Watchtower, the invasion of Guadalcanal in the Solomon Island chain and the first major offensive against Japan. Sgt. Basilone was awarded the Medal of Honor for his bravery, in which he single-handedly held off the Japanese offensive for two-days on the machine gun encampment he commanded. After returning home, he rejoined the war in 1944 and was killed in action during the invasion of Iwo Jima. He was posthumously awarded for his valor with the Marine Corps’ second-highest decoration for valor, the Navy Cross, for his extraordinary heroism during the battle of Iwo Jima. He is interred at Arlington National Cemetery.
- Dr. Walter S. McAfee Post Office Bldg.; 1300 Main St., Belmar (Monmouth)
The highly decorated scientist, educator, and adviser to the U.S. Army Communication-Electronics Command and the Fort Monmouth community was instrumental in the success of Project Diana, an effort by scientists at Camp Evans to pierce the earth’s outer atmosphere with high frequency radio signals (radar) that ultimately helped launch America into the space age. It was his mathematical calculations that led to the first radio signals being bounced off the moon’s surface, allowing for communications to occur between Earth and space, making possible launching a satellite into space or sending a man to the moon. Dr. McAfee was the first African-American to be promoted to GS-16, a “super-grade” civilian position in the U.S. Army Materiel Command (AMC), and to be inducted into the AMC Hall of Fame.
- James C. ‘Billy’ Johnson Post Office Bldg.; 123 Bridgeton Pike, Mullica Hill (Gloucester)
The Glassboro High School graduate joined the Army in 1941 and was later commissioned as an officer. Johnson was assigned to the Cannon (motor) Company, 370th Infantry Regiment, 92nd Division (Buffalo Division), at Pozzi-Ponterosso, Italy on October 22, 1944, when he was killed by an enemy mortar. Originally listed as Missing in Action (MIA), and later re-designated to Killed in Action (KIA), Johnson is buried at Beverly National Cemetery in Beverly, N.J.