Hammonton, NJ ( December 22 , 2010).The Historical Society of Hammonton invites the public to a free community program to be held Thursday, January 6th , 8:00 PM at the Frog Rock Golf and Country Club.
HSH will be honoring Dr. Matthew Campanella of the HHS Class of 1940 for his service to our country during WW2. Attendees will hear the gripping story of how he survived 23 days lost in the Burma jungle after bailing out of a US Air Force transport plane.
Born in Hammonton and growing up in the early part of the century, Matthew excelled in school, picked peaches for the Parkhursts during the summer and following graduation worked in a then lucrative job as bookkeeper for AR Demarco. But with a sense of adventure and intellectual curiosity to learn about radio, in early 1941 he joined the US Army. When W W 2 was declared he became a Flight Radio Operator and on July of 1942 was sent to India where the US was preparing to supply China by ferrying supplies over the Himalaya Mountains soon to be known as the Hump.
During a mission in 1942, in a severe storm, the plane iced up losing altitude and in jeopardy of crashing, he was ordered by the pilot to bail out over the impenetrable and dense Burma jungle. With meager supplies in freezing temperatures he and the co-pilot began walking and praying in their quest for survival. Hungry, their bare feet cut and bruised each step torturous; they came upon a friendly native village and their final step to rescue. They were the first servicemen to ever walk out of the mighty Himalayas alive.
Back in Hammonton, a welcome home dinner was held at the Lillian on the Lake for the returning war hero.
Following the war Matthew graduated from Notre Dame with a Bachelors and Harvard with a Masters degree in Electrical Engineering. Later, he was granted a PhD from the University of Penn.
While at RCA, he helped develop the Early Warning Ballistic Missile System serving his country in the “Cold” as well as the “Hot” war.
This will be a rare opportunity to hear the dramatic story and to honor Dr. Matthew Campanella.
Refreshments will be served when you will have an opportunity to meet our guest.