A bill sponsored by New Jersey Congressman Leonard Lance has secured passage in the U.S. House of Representatives, designating the U.S. Post Office at 30 East Street in Raritan, New Jersey, as the ‘Gunnery Sergeant John Basilone Post Office.’ In a speech before his colleagues in the House, Rep. Lance recounted the many honors Basilone earned in service to our country and asked the House to support his measure so as to inspire future service in Basilone’s tradition.
Rep. Lance said of the war hero, “Gunnery Sergeant Basilone is an exemplar of brave service in our Armed Forces and a member of the greatest generation whose collective bravery and selflessness won World War II and liberated millions from oppression. In Congress, there are many actions we take to honor and remember those who serve our nation. These commendations matter. Younger generations ask whose name is inscribed on monuments, at flag posts or on federal properties and in retelling these stories we inspire young Americans to appreciate the generations that came before in public service. And Gunnery Sergeant Basilone indeed has a tremendous story.”
The Congressman then recounted details from Basilone’s life and told the story of his decision first to enlist in the Army and later in the Marine Corps. He recited the details of Operation Watchtower, where Basilone and his fellow Marines sought to regain territory in Guadalcanal in the Pacific Theater. He went on to point out the specific citations that earned Basilone the Medal of Honor. Lance also spoke of the tour of duty where Basilone lost his life and posthumously earned the Navy Cross.
The bill was given strong support on the floor by Congressmen Bill Pascrell, Jr., who said, “I rise today to honor Sergeant John Basilone. Gunnery Sergeant Basilone is a native of my home state of New Jersey and a hero of our Italian American community.”
Basilone was the only Marine of World War II to receive both the Medal of Honor and the Navy Cross. The measure now heads to the U.S. Senate for approval.