Hennessy leads passage of bill that would rename military training facilities after heroes

April 24, 2018

State Rep. Jack Hennessy, D-Bridgeport, spearheaded House passage of legislation Tuesday that would rename two Connecticut military training facilities after Medal of Honor recipients.

House Bill 5230, “An Act Honoring Connecticut National Guard Medal of Honor Recipients,” passed the House of Representatives in a 121 to 28 vote. The legislation now heads to the Senate for further consideration.

“Today’s passage of House Bill 5230 is a way to help keep the legacies of our military heroes alive. By renaming the Connecticut military training facilities after Medal of Honor recipients, we can ensure that the heroic actions of two of the National Guard’s most honored members are not forgotten,” said Hennessy, chairman of the legislature’s Veterans’ Affairs Committee.

The bill, requested by the Connecticut Military Department, would honor the only two Connecticut National Guard members awarded the Congressional Medal of Honor.

It would rename Camp Niantic, the National Guard training site in East Lyme, Camp Nett at Niantic in honor of World War II Col. Robert B. Nett; and the state military training facility in Windsor Locks would be named Camp Hartell in honor of First Lt. Lee R. Hartell, a veteran of the Korean conflict.

Until 2010, Camp Niantic bore the name of the sitting governor, but legislation passed that year made the Camp Niantic name permanent.

“Military facilities across the country are named after famous military figures. The camp’s current name holds no meaning. By renaming the facility after one of Connecticut’s heroes, it will inspire the next generation of soldiers to follow in Col. Nett’s footsteps,” said Hennessy.

Nett, who was born and raised in New Haven, joined the U.S. Army at 17 and served in World War II and the Korean and Vietnam wars.

In 1942, Nett was a member of the 102nd Infantry, the first American unit deployed to the South Pacific following the attack on Pearl Harbor. Two years later, while stationed on Leyte Island in the Philippines, Nett led his unit to overtake and secure a fortified Japanese position.

When Nett was awarded the Medal of Honor he elected to receive it in New Haven, alongside his men, rather than at the White House.
Nett was awarded the Legion of Merit, Bronze Star, Purple Heart, Meritorious Service Medal, Air Medal, Army Commendation Medal, Combat Infantryman Badge with Star, Ranger Tab, Airborne Gliderman Badge, Air Assault Badge and Grand Cross of Malta.

In 2007, he was inducted into the Connecticut Veterans Hall of Fame.

Hartell, a Danbury native, was posthumously awarded the Medal of Honor for his efforts on Aug. 27, 1951 during the Korean War while serving as a field artillery forward observer on Hill 700 near Kobanson-ni.

The military facility in Windsor Locks will bear his name.

Press Release: Hennessy champions passage of bill that would rename military training facilities after heroes