Menendez Honors WWII Veteran, 26 Young NJans Appointed to US Military Service Academies

Menendez Honors WWII Veteran, 26 Young NJans Appointed to US Military Service Academies

Future military leaders from Bergen, Camden, Gloucester, Hudson, Hunterdon, Mercer, Middlesex, Monmouth, Morris, Ocean, Passaic, Somerset, Union Counties


NEWARK, N.J. – U.S. Senator Bob Menendez today honored a 94-year-old Navy veteran who served in the Pacific Rim during World War II, and celebrated 26 young future military leaders from New Jersey who he nominated and were accepted this year into the U.S. service academies.  A reception was held in the senator’s Newark office.  

Sen. Menendez saluted Patrick Tobia’s service and presented the Manasquan veteran with an American flag that the senator had flown over the U.S. Capitol in his honor.  Mr. Tobia served as a Petty Officer during World War II before being honorably discharged in 1946.  He participated in a number of operations in the Philippine Islands and served in the post-war Japan occupation force. 

“Because this is the Greatest Generation and in many respects we are living off the many investments and sacrifices brought by the Greatest Generation – something we need to renew ourselves and you will all be part of that – I wanted to recognize his service to our country with a flag that I had flown over the Capitol of the United States,” Sen. Menendez said.

Click to view video of Sen. Menendez present WWII veteran Patrick Tobia with a flag flown over the U.S. Capitol 

“Look at you, you are the Greatest Generation,” Tobia said to the students. “I’m saying that not from my head, but from [my heart]. You just keep up the American way and then I’ve got my gratitude. Thank you very much, keep up the American spirit.”

The senator also recognized 26 exceptional, young New Jerseyans who were accepted this year into the four U.S. military service academies.  The nominees were joined by family, friends, and the military academy screeners who recommended them for appointment. 

“Our military academies accept only the best of the best to become the next generation of officers to lead our forces in the protection of our nation and our freedoms,” Sen. Menendez said. “I am so proud of these extraordinary young New Jerseyans willing to serve our country.  They will represent our state well, and I wish them the very best of luck as they embark on this new adventure.” 

The Senator with one of this year's Academy students and their family


Sen. Menendez’s nominees for the service academies were chosen for their excellent academic records, leadership potential and strong character, among other criteria:

U.S. Military Academy

  • James Cuber: Manchester, Manchester Township High School (Prep School)
  • Sarah Furch: Hazlet, Saint John Vianney High School
  • Chris Jin: Paramus, Bergen County Technical High School
  • Veronica Lucian: Mickleton, Bishop Eustace Prepatory School *
  • Vincent Montesano: West Milford, West Milford Township High School
  • Cameo Mooney: Red Bank, Marine Academy of Science and Technology
  • Nicole Sacchinelli: Fair Lawn, Fair Lawn High School (Prep School)
  • Kevin Sembrat: Succasunna, Roxbury High School
  • Nanki Verma: Skillman, Montgomery High School
  • Sam Yom: Harrington Park, Northern Valley Regional High School of Old Tappan


U.S. Naval Academy

  • Ryan Chase: Chatham, Chatham High School
  • Andrew Jarret: Mantua, Clearview Regional High School


U.S. Air Force Academy

  • Trevon Averhart: Sicklerville, Winslow Township High School *
  • Lauryn Banks: Roselle, Abraham Clark High School *
  • Alexa Butera: Ho-Ho-Kus, Laurel Springs School
  • Peter Garlisi: Hamilton, Hamilton High School East
  • Madison Devone: Mullica Hill, Kingsway Regional High School (Prep School) *
  • Erin Durak: Bayonne High School, Bayonne *
  • Michael Miranda: Plainsboro, West Windsor Plainsboro High School North
  • Alyssa Naused: Old Bridge, Old Bridge High School *
  • Pareena Patel: Howell, Howell High School
  • Quincy Zawadzky: Brielle, Manasquan High School 

U.S. Merchant Marine Academy

  • Caroline Elliot: Ridgewood, Ridgewood High School *
  • Andrew Fabiano: Lebanon, Voorhees High School
  • Luke Gauthier: Forked River, Lacey Township High School
  • Matthew Novakowski: Hillsdale, Pascack Valley High School 

(*not in attendance)