Provided/U.S. Navy Chief Petty Officer Phillip Wong.

The Downbeach community is getting ready to make a splash welcoming this year’s American Legion Post 469 Wounded Warrior Week recipient, U.S. Navy Chief Petty Officer Phillip Fong and his family to Longport for a week-long all-expense-paid vacation at the Jersey shore.

To get their week off to a great start, the Legion is asking local residents to line the parade route 5:30 p.m. Tuesday, Sept. 12 for an unexpected “welcome to your home away from home” parade, which will come as a surprise for the Fong family, which includes his wife Sylvia, and their three sons, Phill, 11; Will, 9; and Dill, 7.

The Fongs, who will be arriving from their home in Riverview, Florida, will be arriving at Ski Beach in Ventnor, where they will be transported to a beach-block home in Longport in a long, white, convertible limousine, traveling through Ventnor, Margate and Longport, where first-responders in their vehicles with lights flashing and sirens blaring will join the parade. The route is Dorset Avenue to Atlantic Avenue and south to Longport where they will be treated to a special barbeque in the park at the rear of Longport Borough Hall. The parade will be led by members of the American Legion Riders in their Harley Davidson motorcycles.

During deployment to Monrovia, Liberia, Fong contracted cerebral malaria and encephalitis, and recuperated at the Naval Hospital in Bethesda, Maryland over a 12-month period. He was later deployed to various locations around the world where he led training missions. He was named Command Sailor of the Year, Instructor of the Year and Sailor of the Year in 2012, when he earned the rank of chief petty officer.

Fong’s last tour of duty was in Tampa, Florida, where he worked supporting other wounded warriors in the U.S. Special Operations Command, and Warrior Care Program Benevolence and Adaptive Sports sections. In 2018 and 2019, he participated in the DoD Warrior Games in powerlifting, rowing, shot put and discus. He also represented the USA in the Invictus Games of 2018 held in Sydney, Australia, and the 2022 Invictus Games in The Hague, Netherlands, earning gold and bronze medals in rugby and rowing.

Anyone who would like to show their support and give this American hero and his family a hometown welcome home he may not have had previously, are asked to line the parade route, wave the American flag and make patriotic posters and banners showing their patriotism and support for American freedom fighters.

The Legion is counting on the support of local residents, businesses and veterans organization for “mission success” in making the 12th annual Wounded Warrior Week celebration a memorable one for the family.

The Fongs’ vacation at the Jersey shore will include all-expenses paid for dinners, boat outings, trips to the Ocean City boardwalk and more, all donated by area businesses and supporters.

Updates on their arrival, should it be delayed by weather, will be posted at and Longport Borough Hall on Facebook.


Nanette LoBiondo Galloway

Award winning journalist covering news, events and people of Atlantic County for more than 20 years.