There is a time in our lives where we would like to honor someone for serving our country and flag, and today the Township of Union has found that person. Our local businesses on the corner of Vauxhall Road and Burnet Avenue, Union Fire Equipment Corp., Triangle Liquor, Union Service Center, Luigi’s Barber Shop and Fior’ D Italia, have gotten to know this man over the years and have always described him as a real gentleman and a giant amongst men.
Ralph Vincelli, born in Newark, New Jersey 90 years ago is married to wife Helen for 66 years. He has lived at his current Vauxhall Road address since 1976, and has two sons Ralph Jr, and Salvatore Vincelli, daughter in law Lynn, and granddaughter Kelley Anne. During World War Two, Ralph Vincelli served our country on the famous Destroyer USS Conner DD 582.
The Conner was first launched on July 18, 1942 by Boston Navy Yard, sponsored by Miss T.L. Conner, and commissioned on June 8, 1943. The ship arrived to Pearl Harbor on September 19, 1943 to join the task force for the October 5-6 raid on Wake Island. She sailed to sea again from Pearl Harbor on November 10 for the invasion on Gilbert Islands, in which she screened ships and protected assault shipping as it unloaded.
On August 6, 1945, the Conner and USS Charrette captured the Tachibana Maru, a Japanese troop transport disguised as a hospital ship smuggling arms and soldiers into battle. This was the only capture of a Japanese ship by the American Navy on the high seas during all of World War Two, and is little known because that very same day the atomic bomb was dropped on Hiroshima.
Later on, as the war was ending, the Conner arrived at Jinsen, Korea on September 8, 1945. She went on to serve in the occupation of the Far East, then returned to San Francisco on January 20, 1946, where she was decommissioned and placed in reserve at Long Beach on July 5, 1946.
The Conner received 12 battle stars for its World War Two service.
On behalf of the Township of Union, it is my pleasure to honor Ralph Vincelli with a Mayor’s Award for his bravery in serving and protecting this great country. He is one of many veterans who have fought to keep our country safe and out of harm’s way. Therefore, it is important that we continue to honor our war veterans with the dignity and respect that they deserve.