The newest member of the New York State Senate Veterans Hall of Fame is well-known in the Mineola community as someone many have come to admire not only his service to the community, but his knowledge and wisdom. But before Walter Hobbs was known as a pillar of the Mineola community, he served in World War II, as a lieutenant in the Naval Air Corps.
On Tuesday, May 21, New York State Senator Jack M. Martins honored Mr. Hobbs by inducting him into the New York State Senate Veterans Hall of Fame, joining a prestigious group of men and women who have served bravely in defending our nation’s freedom.
When the Japanese attacked Pearl Harbor on December 7, 1941, Mr. Hobbs was away at college, attending Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Upon coming home for vacation to Manhasset, where his father worked taking care of the famed Whitney Estate, Mr. Hobbs enlisted in the United States Naval Air Corps.
After completing basic training in North Carolina, he started flight training in Florida. After spending some time in Oklahoma, Walter was assigned to the Pacific Theater, flying PBY amphibian planes for search and rescue missions. Mr. Hobbs helped patrol the waters surrounding the Pacific islands, where some of the fiercest battles of the war in the Pacific took place.
After the war ended, he returned home to Manhasset, where he met the love of his life, Joan, at a polo match. Joan and Walter had a lot in common, since she also served in the Navy after the Women Accepted for Volunteer Emergency Service, or WAVES, began. The couple made their home in Mineola and just recently, on April 30, celebrated their 63rd wedding anniversary.
Over the years, Mr. Hobbs has become active in the Mineola community, serving in the Veterans of Foreign Wars and American Legion Post, as well as on the Mineola Library Board. Walter’s and Joan’s contributions to the community were recognized when the art gallery in the library was named after them.
He is always willing to share his vast knowledge of Long Island and of history - and all those who know him have come to count on his insight and guidance. He is a true treasure in the community.
Senator Martins inducted John S. Davanzo of Mineola to the Veterans Hall of Fame in 2011 and Sergeant James John Regan of Manhasset posthumously last year. For the biographies of all the inductees, visit http://www.nysenate.gov/report/2013-veterans-hall-fame-award-recipients.