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Congressman Tom MacArthur

Representing the 3rd District of New Jersey

MacArthur Awards Humanitarian Medals to New Jersey Guard Members

May 11, 2016
Press Release

Washington, DC – Congressman Tom MacArthur today announced that the Humanitarian Service Medal will now be available for Guard Members that responded to recovery efforts in the wake of Hurricane Sandy.
Hurricane Sandy touched down on October 29, 2012 and 2,300 New Jersey Citizen-Soldiers and Airmen, were called into service for the storm; rescuing nearly 7,000 residents, supporting sheltering operations, traffic control points, security patrols and debris clearing. The Humanitarian Service Medal was authorized by executive order 11965 on January 19, 1977.  It was established to honor personnel of the armed forces of the United States who distinguished themselves by meritorious direct participation in a significant military act or operation of a humanitarian nature, or have rendered service to mankind.  

Congressman MacArthur’s office was made aware of a bureaucratic snafu that was prohibiting Guard members from receiving the Humanitarian Service Medal. Ambiguous language in Army qualification guidelines prompted Congressman MacArthur to take the fight all the way up to the Secretary of Defense, who approved the medals the week of the third anniversary of Hurricane Sandy. 

"In the wake of Superstorm Sandy, many New Jersey residents struggled to keep their heads above water to regain normalcy," said Brig. Gen. Michael L. Cunniff, The Adjutant General, Department of Military and Veterans Affairs. "I am very proud of our dedicated New Jersey National Guardsmen who displayed immeasurable selfless service to our state during this time of uncertainty and provided some calm after the storm.  We appreciate Congressman MacArthur for championing the effort to recognize our troops with the Humanitarian Service Medal."
“Thousands of New Jersey Guardsmen left their families at home and volunteered to aid their fellow citizens during Superstorm Sandy,” said Congressman MacArthur. “In the wake of such a devastating disaster, our service members joined in the recovery and helped pick up the pieces, and I am so pleased these individuals will be recognized for their efforts.”

Approximately 2,300 NJ Guardsmen will be awarded the medal because of Congressman MacArthur’s efforts – the 7,400 Guard members in 11 states that responded will also be eligible