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South Jersey

August 12, 1998

USS New Jersey Commision Members
The following are brief biographical sketches of the members of the New Jersey Battleship Commission:

Walter E. Olkowski
Walter E. Olkowski, 71, of Bridgewater, was a member of the first crew to man the USS New Jersey during World War II. He is now a member and past president of the Battleship New Jersey Museum Society and the USS New Jersey Veterans Inc., reunion group, which numbers about 1,300.

An engineering technician who attended Newark College of Engineering and Rutgers University, New Brunswick, he formerly worked at Princeton University and for the Department of the Army.

He is chairman of the commission's historical acquisition of artifacts and research committee, which is assisting in the collection of memorabilia from families and other military ships or facilities for the future battleship museum.

He recently helped secure 16-inch dummy projectiles for the ship's 16-inch guns from a Navy ordnance depot in Indiana. They are being donated by the Navy, which saves the commission $35,000, but the Battleship Foundation will pay to lease rail cars and transport them to a weapons facility in Earle, Monmouth County.

Eugene Simko
Eugene Simko of Middletown is a professor and master's program director at Monmouth University.

He is an avid scale modeler and World War II history buff who has visited the USS New Jersey. He is a commissioned officer in the U.S. Army Inactive Reserves.

He said he became a commissioner in 1994 after meeting Assemblyman Joseph Azzolina, R-Monmouth, chairman of the commission, at a Monmouth County Historical Association meeting. "I told him my Dad, who was from Trenton, saw the New Jersey at Pearl Harbor during World War II and went aboard her," he said.

Paul Taylor
As the Department of Environmental Protection liaison to the commission, Paul Taylor is not a voting member but provides input and attends most meetings.

Taylor, 51, of Wall Township, Monmouth County, is the DEP supervisor of the Office of Historic Sites and a former naval officer who has been a state employee for 19 years.

He volunteered to serve on the commission and was named seven years ago as liaison.

"I was born in Jersey City, but that doesn't prejudice me one way or another."

Some may have been focusing on New York Harbor, but I was very, very impressed with the Camden proposal," he said.

Gloria Patrizio
Gloria Patrizio is a retired teacher, singer and poet from Middletown who is an original member of the commission. She was appointed in 1980 by then-Gov. Brendan T. Byrne about four years after she joined the Battleship New Jersey Museum Society.

She has written a poem about the battleship. She also penned poems about the Statue of Liberty and the Bald Eagle, both of which are in the Smithsonian Institution in Washington, D.C.

Daniel Byles
Daniel Byles of Nutley is a retired corporate lawyer appointed to the commission in 1996. He is a Navy veteran of World War II who spent four years at sea in all theaters of the war aboard Merchant Marine ships.

William F. Faherty Jr.
William Faherty of Hackettstown is one of the most well-known commissioners in state circles. He is a retired banker who has served in various posts under six governors since Gov. Richard J. Hughes first appointed him assistant commissioner of banking and insurance.

Gov. Whitman appointed him to the commission in 1995. He also is a director of the Delta Dental Plan and Hackettstown Community Hospital.

Hugo Pfaltz Jr.
Hugo Pfaltz Jr. of Summit is a lawyer and former state assemblyman from 1967 to 1971. He is a partner in the law firm of Pfaltz and Woller of Summit and has been a director of the Elizabethtown Water Co.

He also is a Navy veteran of the Korean Conflict, retiring from the Navy Reserve as a lieutenant in 1962. Gov. Thomas Kean appointed him to the commission in 1986.

Rear Adm. George Reider
Retired Rear Adm. George Reider of Scotch Plains is a civil engineer and consultant who began his career in the Construction Battalions of the Navy during World War II.

For the battleship project, he has done environmental and docking studies. He was appointed to the commission in 1994.

Thomas J. Gorman
Thomas Gorman of Lincroft in Middletown Township is a retired Navy commander who is vice chairman of the New Jersey Battleship Commission. After retiring from the military, he founded the Marine Academy of Science and Technology in Sandy Hook, Monmouth County, a secondary school dedicated to marine biology and oceanography.

While assigned to the U.S. Maritime Administration, he coordinated the first major towing-at-sea conference, which culminated in the first publication of a naval manual for sea towing.

After meeting Azzolina at a Battleship Museum Society meeting, he became a commission member in 1984 and helped work out the contract and timetable for towing the ship from Washington State through the Panama Canal to New Jersey.

Joseph Dyer
Joseph Dyer of Pennsville is the newest member of the commission and the only one from South Jersey. He is a former Republican freeholder and administrator in Salem County and a Navy veteran of the Korean Conflict.

He said he was appointed to the commission as a result of an inquiry he made to the state after he saw the USS New Jersey in Bremerton, Wash., in 1997 alongside the USS Missouri, during his own ship's reunion of former crew members.

He said he discovered there were no battleship commission representatives from South Jersey. He was appointed by Gov. Christie Whitman in March.

During World War II he was a radarman aboard the aircraft carrier USS Philippine Sea.

Stuart Chalkley
Stuart Chalkley of Piscataway, Middlesex County, is an artist and member of the Battleship New Jersey Museum Society appointed to the commission in 1994.

He is the battleship commissioner who designed the commemorative motor vehicle license plate of the ship that went on sale in 1996.

Sales of the plate are generating millions of dollars in donations to bring the ship back to New Jersey for a permanent home as a museum.

Joseph E. Gonzales Jr.
Joseph Gonzales Jr. of Princeton has been president of the New Jersey Business and Industry Association since 1996 and has been active in Republican politics.

He has been on the commission since 1994.

Leon Morrison
Leon Morrison of Fort Lee, Bergen County, is a retired oil refinery engineer who is a past president of the Battleship New Jersey Museum Society. He also is a member of the USS New Jersey Veterans Inc.

Gov. Tom Kean appointed him in 1987.

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