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Chief Daniel Tremitiere

As we stop to reflect on those who have served, I wanted to share a story with you regarding our first Chief of Police, Daniel W. Tremitiere. By now, most of you have seen the photograph (attached) which depicts our Police Department in 1931; it is in front of the building that is now the Norris Deli on the corner of Mount Olive Road and Route 46, that was our first PD.

(Photo courtesy of Joe and Terry Maes of Hamilton Square, NJ (Chief Tremitiere was Terry’s Great Uncle)

The man on the far left is Daniel Tremitiere and records indicate he was the first official Chief of Police. He took command in 1930.

Daniel Tremitiere was born on April 17, 1906. He began his law enforcement career as a New Jersey State Trooper upon his graduation from the State Police Academy on June 16, 1928. As was the tradition then, he rode by horse from Trenton to his first post, which was the State Police Barracks in Netcong. The barracks at that time was a building adjacent to the Stanhope Hess Station on Lake Musconetcong. Coincidentally, Trooper Tremitiere was given Badge # 392 which is the same as the call numbers for our radio frequency.¹

He is said to have “retired” from NJSP on June 21, 1930, and it is at that time that he took the Police Chief position here at Mount Olive. As is still the case, after two years in the New Jersey State Police you must make the choice of whether to reenlist, it was most likely at that decision making point that Chief Tremitiere took the available option to become the Mount Olive Township’s first Chief of Police. During this era in New Jersey’s history, a trend was occurring throughout the state whereby Municipal Police Departments were being officially formed in order to better enhance local police services.

In speaking with family members, a description of Chief Tremitiere emerges as a man with a good sense of humor (go figure) who was said to have an infectious laugh and had many friends. He was also said to have a few enemies. His nephew Joe Tremitiere told me that he might have been a few times when he got “carried away” by his enthusiasm and commented that he remembered seeing his uncle’s photo in the Trenton Times, in 1932 or 1933, when he was accused of being “ungentle” to some “bootlegger thugs”. He was later exonerated in an article that appeared in the Trenton Times.

If you get a chance take a look at the logs we have from the 1930’s to get an idea of what police work was like for Chief Tremitiere back then. Attached is one interesting excerpt.

According to family members, after establishing the police department, and running it for a few years, Chief Tremitiere left Mount Olive in order to take a better paying post in the Security Division at Johnson and Johnson, based in New Brunswick (police officers were very poorly paid then). Later, he accepted a position as the Director of Security at Riverside Metals. He did, however, return to public service as a Corrections Officer at the New Jersey State Prison in Trenton.

Now to the Veteran’s Day tie-in. Daniel Tremitiere answered our nation’s call to service in 1943, when he enlisted in the United States Army Air Forces to fight in World War II. He was a left waist gunner in a B-17G Bomber. He flew 20 combat missions. The missions include the following:

  • January 11, 1944 - Bacenwich, Germany
  • January 21, 1944 - Pas De Calais area
  • February 1944 - Frankfurt, Germany
  • February 1944 - Frankfurt, Germany
  • February 1944 - Wilhelmshaven, Germany
  • February 1944 - Ruhr, Valley, Germany
  • February 1944 - Frankfurt, Germany
  • February 1944 - Nancie, France
  • February 20, 1944 - Leipzig, Germany
  • February 21, 1944 - Unknown
  • February 24, 1944 - Schweinfurt, Germany
  • February 25, 1944 - Augsburg, Germany
  • March 2, 1944 - Frankfurt, Germany
  • March 4, 1944 - Berlin, Germany
  • March 6, 1944 - Berlin, Germany
  • March 7, 1944 - Berlin, Germany
  • March 8, 1944 - Berlin, Germany
  • March 15, 1944 - Augsburg, Germany
  • March 18, 1944 - Augsburg, Germany
  • March 22, 1944 - Berlin, Germany (Final Flight)

  • The subsequent hand written account was authored by S/Sgt. Alexander Grant, who was a tail gunner aboard the flying fortress with Chief Tremitiere, Grant parachuted and survived the attack and resultant crash.

    “About the best way I can give a description of what happened to our B-17 on March 22nd 1944 is to write all I can from memory about it.”

    “Our target was Berlin, via the North Sea. Our altitude was approx. 25,000 feet. We weren’t inside the German coast not very much over half an hour. Just about 10 minutes from the IP. This I remember from the navigator giving an answer to someone’s question. Our number one engine started to flutter and windmill. The pilot, Lieutenant Whipple (Eldrid F. Whipple, 2nd Lieutenant, Pilot), decided to abort, just before that he ordered Lieutenant Freeborn (Glenn N. Freeborn, 2nd Lieutenant, Bombardier) to get rid of the bombs, which he did.”

    “We then dropped out wheels and dove into the clouds, approximately 9,000 feet. We shot flares for fighter escort but didn’t get any. We flew along for a while, navigator giving pilot headings, all gunners checked our guns, everything was working. At some unknown point to me we caught a terrific barrage of flak but except for a few holes escaped.”

    “Next thing I knew those P-51 were alongside of us then they flew off. About this time we were in the vicinity of Bremer. The navigator said something about 20 minutes and we would cross the coast.”

    “Then all the flak in Germany seemed to come up. I couldn’t see out of my tail window for it. I got hit in my thighs, my intercom was out. My parachute was badly shot up. By signs I got S/Sgt. R.E. Wilson’s (right waist gunner) attention, he, I believe, called Lt. Whipple and I crawled out. I saw S/Sgt Dan Tremitier (the Left Waist Gunner and our first Chief of Police) his left arm was bleeding, he had his parachute on. T/ Sgt. H.D. Hawkins (Radio Operator) helped me into the radio room. About that time Sgt. Moore (Ball Turret Gunner) came out of the ball. I saw Lieutenant Liebowitz (Oscar Liebowitz, co-pilot) on the catwalk of the ship. He motioned down indicating for us to jump. We could have the flak hitting up front. So I believe Lts. Murphy (John T. Murphy, Navigator, 2nd Lieutenant) and Freeborn were killed outright. No one it seems heard anything from them after the flak really started in earnest.

    T/Sgt. Hawkins and S/Sgt. Wilson helped me on with the spare chute. Then Hawkins jumped, followed by Ward (Frank R. Ward,T/Sgt., Top Turret Gunner), then Moore, finally me and last Wilson. Tremitier would have been next but I understand the ship went into a spin, so he probably got caught in the gravity pull, Lt. Liebowitz was as white as a sheet. I never saw a man so pale. He had his parachute on”

    After I was in Germany, the Germans told me that our ship was found with five dead men on it. I didn’t see the ship after I jumped.”

    T/Sgt. Ward told me Lt. Whipple’s left leg had been almost torn off by the flak. I don’t believe Sgt. Moore could give much information because he hit the ground with his head, and was in a coma of amnesia for over 19 days. I was with him when he came out of it. He didn’t remember a thing.”

    “That’s all I know, I hope it’s satisfactory. If any more information is required I’ll be glad to tell anything additional I might think of.”

    -By S/Sgt. A.Grant, Jr.

    On this mission, 2nd Lieutenant Eldred Whipple (pilot), 2nd Lieutenant Oscar Liebowitz (the co-pilot), 2nd Lieutenant John T. Murphy (navigator) 2nd Lieutenant Glenn N. Freeborn (Bombadier) and S/Sgt. Dan W. Tremitiere (Left Waist Gunner) were all listed as KIA (Killed In Action).

    T/Sgt. Harry D. Hawkins (Radio Operator), S/Sgt. R.E. Wilson’s (right waist gunner), T/Sgt. Frank E. Ward (Top Turret Gunner), S/Sgt. Richard E. Wilson (Right Waist Gunner) and Sgt. Alexander Grant (Tail Gunner) parachuted and survived and were listed as EUS (Evacuated to US after release from POW status).

    Chief Tremitiere was buried in the Ardennes American Cemetery in Neupre, Belgium at Plot C, Row 22, in Grave 11. He was a Staff Sergeant in the United States Army Air Forces in the 366th Bomber Squadron, 305th Bomber Group. He was posthumously awarded the Air Medal with 2 Oak Leaf Clusters and the Purple Heart.²

    The Air Medal is awarded to any person who, while serving in any capacity in or with the Armed Forces of the United States, shall have distinguished himself/herself by meritorious achievement while participating in aerial flight.³

    The Purple Heart is a U.S. military decoration awarded in the name of the President of the United States to those who have been wounded or killed while serving on or after April 5, 1917, with the U.S. military.

    I just thought you might be interested in this brief history of our first Chief of Police and his service and sacrifice to our country, especially this week, as we prepare to honor our veterans.

    -This tribute written by Capt. Mark Spitzer on 11/08/06-

    ¹NJSP HR Employee Detail
    ²American Battle Monuments Commission, Form 49, Dan W. Tremitier S.Sgt. SN#32363581

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