Female Iraqi vet honored with street sign in North Brunswick

NORTH BRUNSWICK – Three more veteran street naming ceremonies were held in North Brunswick, including one for a young female involved in the War on Terror.

A sign for DiGloria Way hangs at the intersection of Maple Avenue and Laurel Place, Natale Way adorns the intersection of Hidden Lake Drive and Upper Brook Drive, and the intersection of Axel Avenue and Seneca Road is now known as Francis Way.

Melissa A. Francis was born on Nov. 12, 1986, in Trenton.

She served in Operation Enduring Freedom with the U.S. Army from January 2, 2010, until Sept. 21, 2013. She was deployed to Iraq and Afghanistan.

As a Specialist in the Army (SPC), she held a Chief Warrant Officer 3 position as the Standardization Instructor for all Non-Rated Crewmembers deployed to United States Central Command (Centcom). She was responsible for improving aircrew performance with civilian contractors as well as ground forces. This resulted in actionable intelligence, getting accurate information to make decisions. A number of operations concluded with the capture of 113 insurgents. No American lives were lost due to alerting ground forces of the location of the insurgents who were trying to penetrate the compound, according to the proclamation read in her honor.

Francis has flown more than 2,100 combat hours aboard a manned aircraft during the Global War on Terror. She has assisted in setting up a mission in South America against drug trafficking and helping the border patrol in monitoring the Mexico/United States border. Melissa has trained more than 92 servicemembers, from a private to CW5. She has also had the honor of briefing military and foreign military partners in addition to high ranking officials in the government, according to the proclamation.

Francis received numerous awards for her service which include the Afghanistan Campaign Medal with Campaign Star, Army Achievement Medal, Army Good Conduct Medal, National Defense Service Medal, Global War on Terrorism Expeditionary Medal, Global War on Terrorism Service Medal, Iraq Campaign Medal with Campaign Star, Army Service Ribbon, NATO Medal and Basic Aviation Badge.

She currently lives in Virginia and works in the Washington D.C. area. She has a son, Finley.

Joseph Di Gloria was born on May 23, 1919, in Brooklyn, New York, according to the proclamation read in his honor of Sept. 25.

He enlisted in the U.S. Army on Aug. 6, 1941, at the age of 22 when America was under attack during World War II.

He trained and completed boot camp and was assigned to Company E 34th Infantry 24th Division. He went on to fight in the Philippines against the Japanese. He served for more than 38 months in the combat theatre and on three different islands, according to the proclamation.

Di Gloria became ill with malaria and left the war zone in October 1944 as a Private First Class. After arriving home, he was stationed in Hawaii for a short time where he guarded German prisoners, according to the proclamation.

He was honorably discharged and earned numerous medals during his time of service, which include the Distinguished Medal, Asiatic Pacific, Purple Heart and three other medals of honor.

Di Gloria continued his service as a veterans service officer for the Township of North Brunswick for many years. He provided fellow serviceman with military benefit assistance. He was also an active member of the American Legion Lee Pardun Post 459 and the New Brunswick VFW.

Di Gloria was married to Jeannette (Sciarratta) on July 1, 1945. They have two children, Josephine Tallman and Vincent Di Gloria. They also have five grandchildren: Colleen Jones, Michael Reagan, Patrick Reagan, Cristen Di Gloria and Aaron Di Gloria.

Pasquale T. Natale was born on Aug. 22, 1946, in Brooklyn, New York.

He was a Sergeant E5 in the U.S. Army. He enlisted on June 9, 1966, at the age of 19.

He completed his basic training in Fort Gordon, Georgia. He was assigned to Korea 8th Army in the 618 Medical CO., a mobile hospital which was on alert for the 15 months he served, according to the proclamation read in his honor.

During one of the many conflicts from 1966-69, the violence between the demilitarized zone and the area in South Korea grew to new heights, according to his proclamation. Even though the 8th Army was undermanned, his unit remained on high warning everyday taking in the wounded, knowing that the North could take over the South at any moment, according to the document.

Natale was honorably discharged in March 1968, earning numerous medals and awards including the Armed Forces Expeditionary Medal, Korean Defense Service Medal, National Defense Service Medal and the Good Conduct Medal. He also has a Certification of Appreciation from the State of New Jersey for his service, according to the proclamation.

Natale has worked in the men’s clothing business along the East Coast since 1970.

He has been married to Stella for 47 years and they have a son, Patrick, married to Tara. They also have three grandchildren: Julie, Patrick and Luke.

They have made North Brunswick their home since 1980.

To round out the season, three more street namings were expected on Oct. 2, followed by two on Oct. 10 and two on Oct. 23. To nominate a veteran for next year’s program, contact Lou Ann Benson at lbenson@northbrunswicknj.gov or 732-247-0922, ext. 475.

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