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Posted on: November 9, 2023

Toms River's Hometown Heroes

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George Howard Glawson, Jr. was born on January 18, 1950, to Mr. and Mrs. George H. Glawson Sr. His home of record is Toms River, NJ. He had two brothers and a sister. George graduated from Toms River High School.

Glawson entered the US Army where he attained the rank of Warrant Officer (WO). His tour of duty began in Vietnam on February 16, 1971. According to military records, Glawson was assigned to Headquarters, 11th Armored Cavalry Regiment and was also involved with the INFANT (Iroquois Night Fighter and Night Tracker) system. It was developed for the Army's Southeast Asia Night Operations program office. 

Glawson was killed while piloting a UH-1H helicopter, with the 128th Assault Helicopter Company. The aircraft exploded in mid-air, possibly caused by a malfunction or when hit by artillery round, while performing a nighttime maintenance test-flight. Four men, including Glawson, died. 

The fatal crash occurred in Tay Ninh Province, South Vietnam on June 1, 1971. 

A funeral Mass was held at St. Joseph's Roman Catholic Church in Toms River on Saturday, June 12, 1971, followed by burial with full military rites at St. Joseph's Cemetery. 

An outdoor Memorial at Toms River High School South is a tribute to the heroism of Glawson and five other graduates, who were killed during the war in Vietnam. It was dedicated in 2001.



Charles Fairfchild Godfrey was born on March 20, 1945. His home of record is Toms River, NJ. He attended Toms River High School and graduated in 1963. His high school yearbook, Cedar Chest 63, states that "Charlie" was a college prep student who enjoyed swimming, boating and reading. He participated in the Photo, Bowling and History clubs and played football in his freshman year.

Godfrey attended Monmouth College. After graduation, he enlisted in the US Army. He served in the US Army and attained the rank of Specialist 4 (SP4). His tour of duty began on September 28, 1969. 

Godfrey was serving as an Army Intelligence Analyst when he was killed in a helicopter crash, caused by hostile fire, in Quang Tri Province, South Vietnam on January 1, 1970. He was 24. Godfrey was serving with the 5th Infantry Division, 1st Brigade. 

Godfrey was survived by his spouse, Anita, a daughter, Marta, and his mother and stepfather, Janet and Sam Sangi.

He is one of six graduates remembered in an outdoor Vietnam Memorial dedicated at Toms River High School South, the original high school in Dover Township. 

Sources: Anita Godfrey (widow) and Anne M. Cullen (volunteer).



Gary Edward Jensen was born on April 22, 1949, to William and Marie Jensen. His home of record is Toms River, NJ. He graduated from Rahway High School in 1967, and later moved to Toms River, NJ with his family. His friends called him "Elvis" because of his remarkable resemblance to the singing star.

Prior to joining the US Army in March 1969, Jensen was employed by Purolator Products in Rahway, NJ. He entered the US Army where he attained the rank of Specialist 4 (SP4). He served with Company C, 3rd Battalion, 12th Infantry, 4th Infantry Division. 

On August 25, 1970, at the age of 21, Jensen died of injuries he sustained when his helicopter was shot down. All others aboard the helicopter were also killed in the crash. He was buried in St. Mary's Cemetery in Rahway, NJ. 

A machine gunner in the 3rd Battalion of a 4th Infantry Division regiment, Jensen was earlier awarded the Bronze Star Medal for meritorious action in combat, as well as the Air Medal and Combat Infantryman's Badge. He was also awarded the Army Commendation Medal for Heroism with Oak Leaf Cluster, the National Defense Service Medal, the Vietnam Service Medal, the Vietnam Campaign Medal, the United States Air Medal and the Purple Heart. 

He had completed more than 35 missions. He was survived by his parents, brother, William Jr., and sister, Nancy.



Thomas Edward Lilley was born on January 30, 1947, and raised in Toms River, NJ. He graduated from Toms River High School South in June 1965, and enjoyed bowling, football, golf, drawing, collecting coins and stamps and designing blueprints for homes.

He entered the US Army on July 13, 1966, where he attained the rank of Specialist 4 (SP4). He was sent to Vietnam as a member of the Headquarters Company, 2nd Battalion, 25th Regiment, 3rd Brigade, 4th Infantry Division.

 On February 19, 1968, Lilley was killed in action. 

He was awarded the Bronze Star, the Vietnam Campaign Ribbon, the Vietnam Military Merit Medal, the Sharpshooter Badge with Rifle Bar, the Good Conduct Medal, the National Defense Service Medal, the Vietnam Service Medal and the Purple Heart. 

Tom was the oldest of eight children and such a good big brother to his four brothers and three sisters. 

My mother and dad had four girls and no boys. Tom was loved so by my dad, because he never had a son. Dad started to teach Tom how to bowl and how to play golf when he was only 10 or so - my husband didn't play golf or bowl, but he was happy that my Dad helped Tom become such a good golfer and bowler. 

When Tom and my oldest daughter, Kathy, were in high school, Tom always watched out for her and made sure that Kathy didn't go out with bad boys. Tom was the one who introduced Kathy to Tom Palmieri and years later my daughter married him. As a matter of fact, Tom Palmieri was the one who escorted my son's body back to the United States. At first they couldn't locate Tom Palmieri in Vietnam and when they finally located him, our son's body was already on the way back to the states - but Tom Palmieri met up with Tom's body and escorted him back to Toms River, NJ. 

It took a long time for my husband, myself and our seven children to get over Tom's death. My youngest son Ken was 2½ when Tom was killed. Ken was too young - but he grew up knowing Tom by his pictures. 

My husband died almost 2 years ago and is now with our son in Toms River. 

I have to tell you, Tom's being killed in Vietnam didn't deter my sons from joining the services. Warren Jr. Lilley wanted to join right after Tom was killed, but Warren wasn't quite 17 and the officer that came to our home talked him out of it. Thank God!!! 

But later as my other sons grew up - Bob enlisted in the Air Force and was stationed in Washington as a military policeman and was sent to Korea at a later date. Jim enlisted in the Air Force too and became a military policeman also - spent four years at Myrtle Beach Air Force Base and now is a Harry County Detective Sargent. Kenneth joined the South Carolina National Guard. Warren Jr. did not go in any of the services, but is a Senior Police Officer in Ocean City, NJ. 

My daughter Kathy just celebrated her 31st wedding anniversary to Tom Palmieri. My daughter Judy's husband was also in the Air Force and she is married 27 years. And my youngest daughter Pat is a Drug & Alcohol Abuse Counselor for Manchester Township High School. 

Written by Frances M. Lilley, Mother 5/2/99 Sources: Frances Lilley (mother) and NJVVMF.



Charles W. Kelly was born on January 11, 1928. His home of record is Toms River, NJ. Kelly later relocated to Willingboro, NJ with is family. He was a member of the Reformed Church in Willingboro and ordained as an Elder and Deacon. He was also a member of the Masonic Temple, Pythagorean Lodge Number 21.

He enlisted in the US Navy in 1946 and attained the rank of Lieutenant (LT). He was serving aboard a naval repair ship in Vietnam. 

Kelly was killed in action on January 17, 1967. He is buried at Riverside Cemetery in Toms River, NJ. He was survived by his mother, Mrs. S.A. Lattanzio, his wife, Jeanne and their two children, Charles and Kerri Lee. 

Source: NJVVMF, newspaper clippings, Photo from VVMF.



Peter Gary Scavuzzo was born on October 10, 1946, to William and Ann Scavuzzo. He was the second of four boys. His home of record is Toms River, NJ. His nickname was "Scooz."

Peter attended Toms River High School and enlisted in the US Marine Corps from Toms River even before graduation. Scavuzzo went to Boot Camp in at Parris Island, SC, after graduation. Scavuzzo served with H Company, Second Battalion, Seventh Marines, First Marine Division and deployed to Vietnam in August 1965. He attained the rank of Lance Corporal (LCPL/E3). He served as an infantryman. 

On March 4, 1966, Scavuzzo was killed in action in Quang Ngai Province in South Vietnam in an attack on North Vietnamese troops on the first day of Operation Utah. 

Peter was buried on March 17, 1966, with full military honors at St. Joseph's Roman Catholic Church in Toms River. 

Sources: Anne Cullen (volunteer), newspapers and NJVVMF.



Richard L. McClain was born in Pensacola, FL, on June 28, 1948, to Mr. and Mrs. Ernest R. McClain. His family moved to Toms River, NJ, when he was eight years old. He had twin brothers, Donald and Daniel. He attended Toms River High School and graduated in 1966. He continued his education at Rutgers University and chose to study chemistry. He left Rutgers after a year and a half to work at Toms River Chemical Company. 

McClain was drafted into the US Army and attained the rank of Private First Class (PFC). He served with C Company, 2nd Battalion, 35th Infantry Regiment, 4th Infantry Division. 

McClain was killed in action on September 30, 1968. In addition to his parents, he was survived by his twin brothers. 

Services with military honors were held at Beverly National Cemetery, Beverly, NJ.

 Information provided by NJVVMF. 



US Army Sergeant James W. Harvey II, 23, of Toms River and formerly of Clark passed away Monday, June 20, 2011 while proudly serving our country in Ghazni Province, Afghanistan. He has been posthumously awarded a Bronze Star and Purple Heart for bravery.

Jimmy was born in Livingston, and had resided in Clark for 10 years, graduating from the Arthur L. Johnson High School, before moving with his close knit family to Toms River 4 years ago. He was a member of the 2nd Battalion, 2nd Infantry Regiment, 3rd Brigade Combat Team, 1st Infantry Division, based in Fort Knox, Ky.

Editors note: If you know of a Toms River Hometown Hero who was killed in action or is missing in action who is not yet included here, please contact Art Gallagher at

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