Commemorating Nutley native on National New Jersey Day
In recognition of National New Jersey Day on July 27th, the American Battle Monuments Commission commemorates Nutley, New Jersey, native U.S. Navy Aviation Ordnanceman First Class Anthony Di Petta.
Di Petta served aboard the USS Enterprise during World War II, assigned to Navy Torpedo Squadron 20. On Sept. 10, 1944, Di Petta and two other crew members were aboard a TBM-1C Avenger (torpedo bomber) conducting air strikes against enemy targets near the Palau Islands. The aircraft was hit by enemy anti-aircraft fire and crashed in the waters nearby.
Initial efforts to recover Di Petta’s remains were unsuccessful, and after exhaustive searches to find the aircraft after the war ended, he was declared non-recoverable on July 16, 1949.
His name was recorded on the Tablets of the Missing at the Manila American Cemetery in the Philippines, along with more than 36,000 other service members who were unaccounted for.
Over the course of several decades, several additional recovery efforts have taken place through the Defense POW/MIA Accounting Agency (DPAA) and their partners. In Sept. 2021, following an excavation, remains were recovered that DPAA forensically identified as those of Di Petta.
The sailor, who was just 24 at the time of his death, was officially accounted for on Jan. 10, 2023. His remains were laid to rest in Wrightstown, New Jersey, and a bronze rosette has been placed beside his name on the Tablets of the Missing at Manila American Cemetery indicating he has been accounted for.
Di Petta is one of more than 7,200 American service members who entered the military from New Jersey and are commemorated or buried at an ABMC cemetery.