TRENTON – Today the Senate passed legislation sponsored by Senate Military and Veterans’ Affairs Committee Chair Troy Singleton that would designate October 3rd of each year as “Sergeant Dominick Pilla and Corporal Jamie Smith Day” in New Jersey.
Sergeant Pilla and Corporal Smith were United States Army Rangers who served in Mogadishu, Somalia. They were killed on October 3, 1993, when Sergeant Pilla’s convoy was ambushed and when Corporal Smith was shot in the leg and his femoral artery severed. The fatal firefight of the mission and the death of both men were recreated in the film “Black Hawk Down.”
“There is no higher honor in our military than to give one’s life for their country,” said Senator Singleton (D-Burlington). “Sergeant Pilla and Corporal Smith, both of whom were New Jersey natives, embodied what it meant to be Army Rangers. Nearly 25 years ago, they sacrificed their lives during the Battle of Mogadishu in Somalia. Designating October 3rd in their honor will ensure that these great men are never forgotten.”
Senator Singleton sponsored this resolution after learning about Pilla and Smith’s New Jersey roots from 8th Legislative District Assemblyman Ryan Peters, who is also a Navy SEAL.
“Many heroes fighting for us in foreign lands are often nameless to the people they’re protecting back home,” said Assemblyman Peters (R-Burlington). “I thank Senator Singleton for joining with me to make sure these two men will now be known and always be remembered.”
Sergeant Pilla was posthumously awarded the Bronze Star with valor device and the Purple Heart. Corporal Smith was posthumously awarded the Bronze Star with valor device, an Oak Leaf Cluster, and a Purple Heart.
The resolution, SJR-75, was released from the full Senate by a vote of 32-0, and next heads to the Assembly for further consideration.