Sunday, July 20, 2014

This Week in SigEp Patriot History, Volume 20/2014, 14 – 20 JUL


During this week in our history, two SigEp Patriots were killed in action, two were awarded the U.S. Army’s second highest honor, and one was promoted to four-star General. There is also a U.S. Congressman, Governor, Mayor, and SigEp Citation Recipient – a total of 18 Brothers from 15 chapters. These Brothers serve as great examples of the virtue of selfless service to others – both in the military and in their communities, and they are worthy of our admiration and praise.

A special shout out to the two USAF SigEp Patriot pilots that we just connected down at Kandahar Air Field, Afghanistan. You boys be safe flying those "friendly" skies.

U.S. Army's
Service Cross
15 JUL 1918
For his actions on this date while serving with the American Expeditionary Forces (AEF) near Chateau-Thierry, France, World War I Veteran and Vermont Alpha Brother (then) Major Guy I. Rowe, U.S. Army was awarded the Distinguished Service Cross (DSC) – second only to the Medal of Honor. ***

16 JUL 1918
The next day, World War I Veteran and New York Alpha Brother Second Lieutenant Henry Q. Griffin, U.S. Army / AEF made the ultimate sacrifice when he was killed while engaging the enemy near St. Agnan, France. For his “extraordinary heroism in action,” Brother Griffin was posthumously awarded the DSC.***

*** The SigEp Patriots Project (SPP) has the citations for these two awards. If anyone from the Vermont Alpha and New York Alpha chapters would like a citation we look forward to hearing from you.

19 JUL 1918
World War I Veteran and First Secretary of Illinois Alpha, First Lieutenant Louis I. Phillis, U.S. Army Aviation Corps was killed in an accident on this date in Tours, France.

Louis was the first chapter brother to cross the Atlantic to “fight the Kaiser.” Unfortunately, he was also the first IL Alpha man to be killed in WWI. At the time of his death, he was serving in the same unit – the 95th Aero Squadron – as Quentin Roosevelt, the son of former president Theodore Roosevelt.

Respect can be paid to Brother Phillis at Union Cemetery, Morrisonville, NY.

17 JUL1943
On this date, Border War, World War I & World War II Veteran, Virginia Theta Brother (then) Major General Leonard T. Gerow, U.S. Army became commander of V Corps – at the time the largest unit of troops in the European Theater of Operations.

19 JUL 1943
Following graduating from the University of Alabama, Alabama Beta Brother James Calabra, Jr. entered the U.S. Army on this date.

Brother Gerow
19 JUL 1954
This is the date of rank of General (four-stars) in the U.S. Army for Brother Leonard Gerow. Based on the SPP archives, with this promotion he became the first SigEp Patriot to reach the four-star rank in any of the U.S. armed services. (Since Brother Gerow, six additional military brothers have achieved the rank of General in their respective service.)

20 JUL 1959
World War I Veteran and New Hampshire Alpha Renaissance Brother Major Wayne E. Stevens, U.S. Army, 67, died on this date at his home in Hanover, New Hampshire. As a First Lieutenant, he served in the Adjunct General Corps in the U.S. Army from 1917-18, and continued to serve through 1919. Wayne was initiated by NH Alpha chapter in 1922, and an indefatigable worker on behalf of the Fraternity for 38 years.

Brother Stevens was a member of the Dartmouth history faculty from 1921 until his death, a full professor since 1930. He received his baccalaureate at Knox College in 1913, master's and doctorate at Illinois, and instructed at the University of Minnesota (1916-17).

Wayne served as director of the war records section of the Illinois State Historical Society, historian of the U.S. Army Air Service, and as an adviser to the historical section of the Army War College. He also authored “The Northwest Fur Trade, 1763-1800,” as well as contributed to numerous journals and encyclopedias.

Respect can be paid to Brother Stevens at Pine Knoll Cemetery, Hanover, NH.

16 JUL 1961
World War I Veteran, U.S. Congressman (Iowa), Iowa State Representative and Pennsylvania Xi Brother First Lieutenant Paul H. Cunningham, U.S. Army / AEF died on this date in Brainerd, Minnesota. During WWI, Brother Cunningham served as an infantry officer from 1917-1919. After the war he moved to Des Moines, IA, and the next year joined the Iowa National Guard where he served until 1923.

Brother Cunningham graduated from State Teachers College in Indiana, PA (now Indiana University of Pennsylvania), and continued his education at the University of Michigan. After receiving his law degree, Paul was admitted to the bar in 1915.

He was elected to the Iowa State House of Representatives in 1933 and served there for four years. In 1941, Paul was elected to the Seventy-seventh Congress, and was re-elected eight times before resuming his law practice in 1959.

Paul was a proud member of the American Legion, Freemasons, Moose, and Odd Fellows.

Respect can be paid to Brother Cunningham at Masonic Cemetery, Des Moines, IA.

Brother McMullen
16 JUL 1966
On this date, Vietnam Veteran and Pennsylvania Eta Brother Second Lieutenant Gene “Smedley” McMullen, U.S. Marine Corps Reserve made the ultimate sacrifice when he was killed in action in Quang Tri Province, South Vietnam by Viet Cong counter battery fire.
At Penn State, Gene played on the varsity football team, was a member of Phi Beta Kappa, as well as enrolled in the NROTC and their Platoon Leaders Course as he prepared to enter the Marine Corps. Like so many other SigEp Marine Patriots before and after, he trained at Quantico his freshman, sophomore and junior years.

In 1965, Brother McMullen entered the Basic School at Quantico, and because he chose Artillery, when Gene graduated he was sent to Fort Sill, before reporting to Camp Pendleton. With his training completed, he reported for duty in Vietnam in May 1966, and assigned to the 12th Marine Regiment as a Forward Observer.

Gene is remembered on Panel 09E, Line 29 of the Vietnam Veterans Memorial Wall.

Respect can be paid to Brother McMullen at Section 3, Site 2560-B, Arlington National Cemetery, Arlington, VA.

18 JUL 1968
Virginia Alpha Brother Specialist Four Hunter F. Spencer, Jr., U.S. Army Reserve died on this date. He served in the Adjutant General Corps.

Respect can be paid to Brother Spencer at Section Q, Lot 2, Greenlawn Memorial Park, Newport News, VA.
Brother Love

16 JUL 1973
U.S Navy World War II Veteran, Governor (Colorado), SigEp Citation Recipient, and Colorado Beta Brother John A. Love resigned the Colorado governorship on this date after 10 years of service to become the nation's first director of the Office of Energy Policy for President Richard M. Nixon.

15 JUL 2004
Pennsylvania Eta Brother Lieutenant Colonel Daniel A. Augustyniak, U.S. Air Force (Retired), 63, died on this date after a long battle with brain cancer. Commissioned in the U.S. Air Force upon his graduation from Penn State, he served 18 years and six months before retiring. His next career involved five years of civil service work at the Air Force Logistics Command at Kelly Air Force Base.

His most recent “career” involved ten years of dedicated work to the Men's Ministry at St. Luke's Catholic Church, and he had stated that this was his most fulfilling endeavor.

Respect can be paid to Brother Augustyniak at Fort Sam Houston National Cemetery, San Antonio, TX.

15 JUL 2009
World War II Veteran New York Beta Brother Joseph I. Whittlesey, 87, died on this date in Cohoes, New York. During WWII, Brother Whittlesey served in France and Germany, where he earned several medals. After the war, he graduated from Cornell in 1949 with a degree in electrical engineering, and worked as an engineer for General Electric for 38 years before retiring in 1984.

He was active in the community, having worked with the Animal Protection Foundation, Boy Scout Troop 36, the Annie Schaffer Senior Center and Vale Cemetery. In addition Joseph was a longtime Republican committeeman and 32nd Degree Mason.

Respect can be paid to Brother Whittlesey at Glenside Cemetery in New York Mills, NY.

15 JUL 2012
On this date, two SigEp Patriots were lost to the ages.
– Mayor of Dothan, Alabama Beta Past President Captain Alfred J. Saliba, U.S. Air Force Reserve passed away at home in the city of his birth, Dothan, Alabama. Alfred spent two years on active duty in the U.S. Air Force, and was stationed in Japan and Korea.

Except for his military service, Alfred lived most of his life in Dothan, and was a proud graduate of the University of Alabama's School of Engineering. After working with his father at Dothan Roofing and Remodeling, he built a successful business bearing his name which included homebuilding, residential and commercial real estate, neighborhood development, and commercial construction. Brother Saliba wisely partnered and invested in other local businesses and real estate ventures, and in 1999 and 2011, he was inducted in the Business Halls of Fame for the University of Alabama and the Dothan Area Chamber of Commerce, respectively.

Motivated by a desire to "give back" to the city he loved so much, from 1989 through 1997, Alfred served two terms as the city's mayor. Commitment to improving the city's infrastructure, recruiting new business, and providing opportunities for underserved families became the hallmarks of his tenure. Working with other visionaries, he helped establish a Family Services Center, which centralized education, childcare, and access to resource agencies. It became the prototype for 17 similar organizations throughout the Southeast and now bears his name.

Memorial contributions to the Alfred Saliba Family Services Center would celebrate Alfred's lifelong compassion and generosity.

Respect can be paid to Brother Saliba at Memory Hill Cemetery, Dothan.

Brother Saavedra, Jr
– Two-time Operation Enduring Freedom Veteran and Connecticut Alpha Brother Sergeant Kenneth Saavedra, Jr., U.S. Army & National Guard (Connecticut), 29, died in Waterbury, Connecticut. He was a member of the U.S. Army 1st Battalion, 102nd Infantry Regiment. After his active duty service, he continued to serve with the National Guard for almost 10 years.

Kenneth was an electrician and worked for Sikorsky Aircraft, and was a member of the Teamsters Local 1150 – where he served as Vice Chair of the Teamsters Veterans Caucus Connecticut Chapter 1.

At the request of the family, memorial contributions can be made to the Kenneth Saavedra Jr. Memorial Fund set up to benefit Veterans.

Respect can be paid to Brother Saavedra at the Connecticut Veterans’ Cemetery, Rocky Hill, CT.

20 JUL 2012
U.S. Navy World War II Veteran and Kansas Gamma Brother Ralph C. Ufford died on this date. Ralph was released from the Navy after three years of military service, and attended the University of Kansas where he graduated with the Class of 1949.

After 39 years as a mechanical engineer, he retired from Bendix/Allied Signal in 1990. While at Allied, he was actively involved with the Allied Signal Management Club and the Bannister Association Investment Club. Ralph was a Boy Scout Leader, and he traveled with his family to 45 of the 50 States, camping in many of them. Once their sons were raised, he and Dolores traveled to 36 Foreign Countries, including pilgrimages to Israel and to Santiago de Compostello, Spain.

Respect can be paid to Brother Ufford at Resurrection Cemetery, Lenexa, KS.

* U.S. Army Veteran Oklahoma Alpha Brother Newlin "Newt" W. Kessler, age 83, passed away at home on 11 JUL as a result of cancer and related complications. He served in the Army as an officer and had training as a paratrooper.
* U.S. Marine Corps Veteran of the South Pacific during World War II and Indiana Beta Brother Everett E. “Pic” Thomas passed away on 14 JUL at the age of 89. After his WWII service, Pic enrolled at Indiana University and brought his leadership to IN Beta.

Our thoughts and prayers go out to the family, friends and chapter brothers of SigEp Patriots Kessler and Thomas. SPP pledges that you and your patriotic service will always be remembered.

* Operation Enduring Freedom Veteran and Pennsylvania Xi Brother Kevin Michael has been selected for promotion to Lieutenant Colonel, U.S. Air Force. He will not get pinned until November, so we will all have to wait until then for the wetting down and free beers. Congratulations Brother!

Please keep sending in your good news stories.

Fraternally and Very Respectfully,

Brother Ed Jones, NY Eta ‘96
Chief Petty Officer, U.S. Navy Reserve
Founder, SigEp Patriots Project

Sunday, July 13, 2014

This Week in SigEp Patriot History, Volume 19/2014, 07 – 13 July


This week, the SigEp Patriots Project (SPP) honors and remembers 16 brother warriors from as many chapters and every branch of the military, including one from Wyoming Alpha who made the ultimate sacrifice more than 71 years ago while taking part in the liberation of Sicily during WWII. SPP pledges it will always remember all our brothers who serve/served our great country, and hopes you will celebrate with us by reading and passing word of this post.

10 JUL 1942
On this date, North Carolina Epsilon Brother Robert L. Orr entered the U.S. Army, and went on to serve in the Army Corps of Engineers during World War II.

13 JUL 1942
Massachusetts Alpha Brother David H. Johnson joined the U.S. Coast Guard on this date, serving as a Soundman Second Class during World War II.

Assault on Sicily - Operation Husky
11 JUL 1943
A year ago, SPP mentioned in this work that 10 JUL 1943 marked the beginning of Operation Husky - at the time, the largest combined operation of WWII, and asked if anyone had any idea how many SigEp Patriots where there. Now we know that at least one brave SigEp made the ultimate sacrifice on the second day of the operation.

On this date, World War II Veteran and Wyoming Alpha Brother First Lieutenant Paul C. Rawdon, Jr., U.S. Army was 26 years old, and assigned to the 179th Infantry Regiment, 45th Infantry Division when his unit made landfall on the southern shore of Sicily. 

Paul completed his bachelor's degree at the University of Wyoming before going to work in New Mexico. He was inducted in to the Army in MAR 1941, and he was with the division when it shipped overseas a month before he was killed.

Respect can be paid to Brother Rawdon at Block 12, Row C, Plot 13 of Glenrock Cemetery, Glenrock, WY.

Wednesday, July 09, 2014

This (Last) Week in SigEp Patriot History, 30 JUN - 06 JUL

This (Last) Week in SigEp Patriot History, Volume 18/2014, 30 JUN – 06 JUL


In this edition, the SigEp Patriots Project (SPP) honors 22 incredible Army, Navy, Coast Guard and Air Force Brothers who served in the Border War - just years after the Fraternity was founded - to the present day. They are from 18 Chapters including a future Congressman, a former Chief of Naval Operations and two additional men who rose to the 4-star rank of their respective service, another who became a legend in the Fraternity, and one fought his way across Europe during WWII, only to be evacuated home after receiving his second Purple Heart.

Brother Gerow
(as a 4-star General)
01 JUL 1916
Border War Veteran of Vera Cruz and Virginia Theta Brother Leonard T. Gerow was promoted to First Lieutenant, U.S. Army on this date.

30 JUN 1920
Nearly four years to the day later, (then) Captain Leonard T. Gerow completed his WWI service on the staff of the U.S. Army Signal Corps in France. He was Colonel (temporary) in charge of purchasing all the radio equipment for the American Expeditionary Force. For his service he earned the Distinguished Service Medal and French Legion of Honor.

Friday, July 04, 2014

Tennessee SigEps provide housing for university intern

Posted in News on July 3, 2014 by AARON JAY LEDESMA, MARQUETTE ‘14

Tennessee Alpha SigEps are giving back to their university in a unique way. The chapter is currently housing Alex Rossmann, a female graduate intern for the university, who is working this summer on creating an anti-hazing campaign for the University of Tennessee.

The idea of housing a university intern came from the chapter faculty advisor and UT staff member Keith Becklin, Western Michigan ‘06. He told the undergraduates that the university was looking to hire an intern, but it could not provide summer housing due to its budget. 

That’s when the men of the Tennessee Alpha chapter stepped up in a big way. The chapter generously offered to provide the university with complimentary accommodations for Rossmann in their resident scholar’s suite. 

At first, Lindi Smedberg, Director of Sorority and Fraternity Life, was hesitant because the intern is a woman. However, based on Lindi's experience with the chapter, she said she felt comfortable, and Alex gladly accepted SigEp's generous offer. 

"Tennessee would not have been able to hire Alex this summer if it had not been for the help of the SigEp chapter,” says Smedberg. “The men of Sigma Phi Epsilon have gone above and beyond by cleaning, painting and furnishing the suite for Alex, including the addition of new rugs, drapes, and art work."  

The SigEps realize the importance of this unique partnership and the opportunities it can bring to their chapter and university.

“Alex is a huge asset to the campus and it is great that SigEp is able to host her,” says chapter president Robert Billings, Tennessee ‘15. “In order to make SigEp the best experience that we can, we have to be a valued partner with our universities.”

Rossmann is wrapping up her eight-week internship and has only good things to say about her summer with SigEp.

“Living with SigEp has enhanced my experience and added a new richness to my understanding of Greek life,” says Rossmann, who does not have a Greek affiliation. “Having positive relationships with the university allows Greeks to have a bigger impact on campus. I am so happy to be a part of a wonderful partnership with UT and SigEp!​"

Happy Fourth of July!

Yes, we stole this from HQ. Have a good one anyway.

Sunday, June 29, 2014

This Week in SigEp Patriot History, Volume 17/2014, 23 – 29 JUN


This week, we remember two Army Air Corps brothers killed in action during WWII are very happy to welcome a brother home from Afghanistan, and honored to announce that tomorrow one of our own will be awarded the Navy and Marine Corps Medal for non-combat heroism.
Navy and
Marine Corps

In total, this week, we celebrate 15 brothers, representing 13 chapters, serving in the Army, Navy, Air Force and National Guard in places like Afghanistan, Egypt, France, Japan, Korea, the South Pacific and the U.S.

24 JUN 1918
NH Alpha Brother Private First Class Charles E. Tayntor, Jr., U.S. Army was a member of the Medical Corps, Base Hospital Unit 83, American Expeditionary Force when he was called in to the service on this date.

27 JUN 1942
This is the enlistment date of OR Alpha Brother Jack Liljeberg in the U.S. Navy, and MA Delta Brother Kenneth G. Merriam in the U.S. Army.

26 JUN 1943
This marks the date the only SigEp Patriot of the Iowa Alpha Chapter was killed in action in WWII.
Taxpayer's Pride, 1942
Photo Credit

World War II Veteran and IA Alpha Brother Second Lieutenant Sumner Luten Beck, U.S. Army Air Corps made the ultimate sacrifice while serving as a navigator about a B17F (Fighting Fortress) nicknamed “Taxpayer’s Pride” during a night mission over Rabaul, New Britain. Brother Beck and his crewmates were shot down by a J1N1 (Irving) and crashed into the jungle near Mount Varzin.

The Class of 1938 graduate from Iowa Wesleyan College had nearly completed his training as an Air Corps navigator when he was commission in MAY 1943. Just weeks later, Sumner arrived in the SW Pacific Theater, and he would be killed in less than a month.

Very early on 26 JUN 1943, before the sun was above the horizon, Sumner and his comrades took off in the B-17 from Dobodura Airfield on a bombing mission against Vunakanau Airfield near Rabaul. Strict radio silence was maintained during the mission. Nothing was heard from this bomber after takeoff. Upon reaching their objective, they successfully bombed the target then turned for home. According to an account from the Japanese pilot who shot the plane down, within minutes of their bombing run, Sumner and the crew were taking 20mm cannon fire from the Irving, and the B-17 caught on fire before crashing in to the jungle.

Starting at 0230 hours, other U.S. aircraft over the target reported an aircraft had crashed, and that a fire could be seen on the ground in the vicinity of the down airplane. When the bomber failed to return, the crew were declared missing in action. The War Department declared them “presumed lost” in JAN 1946.

In actuality, the tail gunner managed to parachute out and away from the falling debris. He served in a Japanese Army POW camp the remainder of the war.

Post war, the crew's remains were recovered at the crash site near Mount Varzin. However, Brother Beck’s body was not among them. Several years later, his remains were recovered, and returned to the States.

Respect can be paid to Brother Beck at Fairview Cemetery in Lee County, IA.

Sunday, June 22, 2014

This Week in SigEp Patriot History, Volume 16/14, 16 – 22 JUN


Three Brothers were killed in action during this week in our history, and on Monday the SigEp Patriots Project (SPP) welcomed home a SigEp Patriot from Afghanistan who has multiple tours in Iraq and Afghanistan since 9/11.

Awards for Valor presented by the
U.S. military
The Army Distinguished Service Cross (ADSC), Navy Cross and Air Force Cross are the second highest military decoration for valor for extraordinary heroism in combat bestowed upon a member of their respective service, and are second only to the Medal of Honor (MoH). While there is no record of a brother of Sigma Phi Epsilon being awarded the MoH, 10 amazing SigEp Patriots have distinguished themselves valiantly in earning a service cross. Several of them are listed in this week's work.

21 JUN 1918
On this date, OH Gamma Brother First Lieutenant Robert L. Tavenner, U.S. Army began his World War I service with the 37th Division of the American Expeditionary Force, and would see action in France & Belgium. According to the SPP archives, Brother Tavenner is the third of six SigEp Patriots known to have been awarded the ADSC.

18 JUN 1940
KY Epsilon Brother Joseph F. Odle, Jr. enlisted in the U.S. Marine Corps on this date. During WWII he served at the Battle of Solomon Islands.

16 JUN 1941
WI Alpha Brother William H. Zuehlke, Jr., entered the U.S. Navy Reserve on this date, and, according to the SPP archives, the Class of 1936 Lawrence University graduate had one of the longest overseas deployments of any SigEp Patriot who served during WWII.

Saturday, June 14, 2014

This Week in SigEp Patriot History, Volume 15/14, 09 – 15 JUN


Editor's note: I guess I need editor. My apologies for the chronological errors in last week's version of "This Week in SigEp Patriot History" (TWISPH). Another example of why it is always good to have someone read over your work.

Today marks the 239th anniversary of the founding of the U.S. Army. Happy 239th Birthday U.S. Army SigEp Patriots!

Volume 15 of TWISPH for the year includes notable news, accomplishments and acts of service and sacrifice by 27 military brothers of the Army, Navy, Marine Corps and Air Force from 25 chapters from across the country spanning 97 years.

Four SigEp Patriots made the ultimate sacrifice during this week (1 - WWII, 2 - Vietnam War and 1 - Operation Iraqi Freedom), and eight brothers passed away having served in four conflicts around the world. Please keep their family, friends and chapter brothers in your thoughts and prayers.

The SigEp Patriots Project (SPP) knows of 14 brothers who served in the military and were awarded the SigEp Citation - two of them are referenced in this edition of TWISPH.

13 JUN 1918VA Epsilon Brother Cralle Blackwell volunteered on this date for World War I service with the U.S. Army Coast Artillery Corps.

On the same date, NY Beta Brother (then) Lieutenant James A. Meissner, U.S. Army Air Service had his 4th aerial kill over Thiaucort, France in his Nieuport 28 while assigned to 97th Aero Squadron. He would go on to be a WWI Ace and establish the Alabama Air National Guard.

12 JUN 1930VA Zeta Brother Robert Wood graduated from the U.S. Military Academy at West Point on this date and was commissioned a Second Lieutenant, U.S. Army Coast Artillery Corps. Following WWI, he attended the National War College and later served as a military aide to the (first) Secretary of Defense, James Forrestal (a fellow SigEp). Brother Wood went on to retire as a General, and was posthumously awarded the SigEp Citation in 1967.

12 JUN 1944On this date, World War II Veteran and CO Gamma Brother Staff Sergeant Arthur Sinclair Edmundson, U.S. Army made the ultimate sacrifice when he was killed in action in Normandy, France while serving with the 359th Infantry Regiment, 90th Infantry Division. Brother Sinclair left Colorado State University to enlist in the Army as a Private at Fort Bliss, TX in MAR 1942.

Arthur is remembered on Panel: 11, Column: 1, Row: 107 of the Colorado Freedom Memorial in Aurora, CO.

Respect can be paid to Brother Edmundson at Plot H, Row 18, Grave 22, Normandy American Cemetery and Memorial, Colleville-sur-Mer, France.

Sunday, June 08, 2014

This Week in SigEp Patriot History, VOL 14/14, 02 – 08 JUN

This was quite a week in the history of SigEp Patriots. Four of our brothers made the ultimate sacrifice. Three military brothers discussed in this issue were awarded the nation's second highest honor. We also learned that three more of our brothers-in-arms were recently lost to the ages, and 63 brothers were added to the archives of the SigEp Patriots Project (SPP).

Brother Forrestal
02 JUN 1917
On this date, one of the principle architects of the National Security Act of 1947 and first Secretary of Defense, NH Alpha Brother James V. Forrestal, joined the Navy and began his World War I service. Brother Forrestal would achieve the rank of Lieutenant before being discharged at the end of the war, and the first U.S. super carrier would be named in his honor, USS Forrestal (CV-59).

06 JUN 1941
AL Alpha Brother Joseph Dean joined the U.S. Army Quartermaster Corps on this date after graduating with the Class of 1940 from Auburn University.

Friday, June 06, 2014

SigEps at Normandy on D-Day

American Normandy Cemetery

With today being the 70th anniversary of the invasion of Normandy - Operation Overlord or more commonly known as D-Day, the SigEp Patriots Project (SPP) thought it important to honor some of our brave brothers who served on that historic day.

If you ever get the chance to visit Normandy, do it! It is an incredibly moving experience.

It’s estimated that over 160,000 Allied troops landed along a 50 mile stretch of beach in Normandy, France 70 years ago today. While it is officially known that 4,413 U.S. service members were killed on D-Day, miraculously, all of the brothers mentioned here survived the hostile actions that took place that day.

101st Airborne
Brothers serving with the 101st Airborne Division were likely the first SigEp Patriots to touch down in Normandy, France on D-Day. The Division jumped over the course of about an hour from 0048 (or 12:48am) to 0140 (1:40am).

In an interview published in September 1944, DE Alpha Brother (Class of 1943) Staff Sergeant Robert A. Shurter, Jr., U.S. Army is quoted as saying, “Our Company jumped at 1:17 a.m., five hours before the actual invasion started.” His stick (Number 61) was spread out over about 6.5 kilometers from St. Mere Eglise northeast to where he landed just above Ravenoville. “We all knew our mission. Roads leading to the beach had to be cleared of known machine gun nests, pill boxes, and 88’s and we had to secure the high ground in the area to cover the seaborn infantry.” Brother Shurter was 23 years when he earned his Combat Infantry Badge on D-Day while serving as Operations Sergeant in Dog Company, 2nd Battalion, 506th Parachute Infantry Division, 101st Airborne Division.

One of the variations of the interview mentioned that a group of men, including Robert, decided to head toward Pouppeville, where he may have run in to
Brother Anthony McAuliffe. In the Spring of 1945, according to Volume 42, Number 4 of the SigEp Journal, “Robert Shurter, Delaware Alpha, '43,
Brother Anthony McAuliffe
paratrooper; awarded the Bronze Star for gallant action in Normandy, by SigEp brother Major General Anthony C. McAuliffe, West Virginia Beta, after two and a half years in the service.”

Brother Shurter would go on to become First Sergeant of Dog Company, parachute in to Holland with the 101st as part of Operation Market Garden, and later was appointed Sergeant Major of the 506th.

Although he had no formal Army instruction in parachuting, World War I Veteran and WV Beta Brother Brigadier General Anthony McAuliffe, U.S. Army also parachuted into Normandy with the 101st Airborne Division on D-Day as commander of the Artillery Division.

Sunday, June 01, 2014

This Week in SigEp Patriot History, VOL 13/14, 26 MAY – 01 JUN

Greetings from the home office in Jalalabad, Afghanistan. In this edition, the SigEp Patriots Project (SPP) highlights the lives, accomplishments and sacrifices of military brothers from 23 chapters, who served in at least one of six major conflicts over the course of 97 years. We remember 26 Brothers, one of which we salute for completing his military obligation, four that we added to our Facebook group, and honor the passing of the first SigEp killed in Operation Iraqi Freedom.

28 MAY 1917
Dropping out of Cornell, NY Beta Brother James Meissner enlisted in the Army Signal Service (the branch of the Army then tasked with flying) as a Private First Class on this date. One year and two days later, First Lieutenant Meissner was awarded his second Distinguished Service Cross for extraordinary heroism while in aerial combat over Jaulny, France during WWI. 

01 JUN 1939
On this date, World War I Veteran, U.S. Congressman (Virginia) and VA Eta Brother Private Joel Flood, U.S. Army was appointed Assistant U.S. Attorney for the Western District of Virginia. He would serve in this capacity until elected as a judge to the Fifth Judicial Circuit of Virginia.
Brother Leonard Gerow

01 JUN 1942
"I believe they [the troops] are as well prepared for battle as any troops we have ever sent into action."

These words were spoken by Vera Cruz & World War I Veteran, VA Theta Brother Leonard T. Gerow, (then) Brigadier General and Chief of the U.S. Army War Plans Division, while observing maneuvers of American forces in Southwest Britain.

29 MAY 1943
KS Gamma Brother Raymond L. Childers began his WWII service with the U.S. Army Coast Artillery Corps on this date.