Philip Orlando, creator of the Basilone Statue, was a childhood friend of John Basilone's who lived on Somerset Street in Raritan. Not only was he a sculpter, but
he was a decorated soldier who was awarded The Bronze Star in World War II
Bronze Star Citation
Click for 1942 Article from the Raritan Valley News Click for Articles about Philip Orlando
Receiving Citation (1942)
Winning The Bronze Star (1944) and his return home (1945)
Click for letter sent home to his family by his commanding officer
Click to see other works made by him Click to view an Excellent Article from
The Monument News
Philip's served in the 39th Infantry.
They were known as The Fighting Falcons. (Logo above)
They were a highly decorated unit
click for details on The 39th
His Unit Fought in the Legendary Battle for
The Bridge at Remagen.
click for details on The battle and to see Philip's artwork
Even in the middle of war, Philip Orlando added a sentimental touch in his
notes sent home to his wife Novella. Clicks for details
He lived at 41 E. Somerset Street in Raritan. The home is shown here in black & white in 1940 and in color in 2009.
The home is located across from the Shell Station.
Philip Orlando and John Basilone were born within one year of each other. They were childhood friends who played together in Raritan.

Philip Orlando's daughter Joan remembered her dad would tell a story about John Basilone. As young boys a bunch of Raritan kids would play on a hill where the Somerville Circle is today. This game was called "King of the Hill". It is where one boy had to get the top of the hill and remain there by pushing the others away. Philip said John always won, and was thus always King of the Hill. Because of that game, he always had in his mind's eye John standing above others as king of the hill. That was the first impression he had in his mind when he was creating the statue.
Here is Philip Orlando in his studio in Plainfield
Click to read about his studio
On June 6th, 1948
The Basilone Statue was officially dedicated
with a grand ceremony and parade in Raritan.

Click to see a larger version
of the photo on the left and to
read about how the statue was built.
For his whole adult life Philip Orlando earned his living as a sculptor.
He was the last of a generation to do so.
He wrote these words a few months before he died