Thursday, 30 May 2013 00:00
New York State Senator Jack M. Martins honored Walter 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 on May 21.
The newest member of the 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 Hobbs was known as a pillar of the Mineola community, he served in World War II, as a lieutenant in the Naval Air Corps.
When the Japanese attacked Pearl Harbor on Dec. 7, 1941, 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, Hobbs enlisted in the United States Naval Air Corps.
After completing basic training in North Carolina, he started flight training in Florida. Hobbs was assigned to the Pacific Theater, flying PBY amphibian planes for search and rescue missions after spending time in Oklahoma. He 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 his wife, 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 celebrated their 63rd wedding anniversary on April 30.
Over the years, Hobbs has become active in Mineola, serving in the Veterans of Foreign Wars and American Legion Post, as well as on the Mineola Library Board. The Hobbs contributions to the community were recognized when the art gallery in the library was named after them.
Martins inducted John S. Davanzo of Mineola to the hall of fame in 2011 and Sergeant James John Regan of Manhasset posthumously in 2012.