Sunday, September 04, 2011

This Week in SigEp Patriot History, 29 AUG – 04 SEP

I hope I shall always possess firmness and virtue enough to maintain what I consider the most enviable of all titles, the character of an honest man." ~ George Washington

01 SEP 1894
The Sigma Phi Epsilon Journal (Volume 16, Number 1 – October 1918) reported that World War I Veteran and OR Alpha Brother Milton A. Kooreman, U.S. Army (who joined SigEp at Oregon Agricultural College – now Oregon State) was born in Alton, Iowa on this date.

29 AUG 1929
Korean War Veteran, Member West Virginia State Delegates and WV Beta Brother David L. Solomon, U.S. Army was born in Shinnston, West Virginia on this date.

02 SEP 2004
World War II Veteran and CO Alpha Brother Donn Beck Brown, U.S. Navy died peacefully on this date.

He was born on 17 DEC 1916, in Dayton, Ohio, and attended the University of Colorado where he was a member of SigEp and earned his mechanical engineering degree.

World War II brought Donn to California. He served in the United States Navy in underwater demolition, which was the precursor to the Navy SEALs.

After his military service, Donn began his career with A.J. Bayer, Co. in Los Angeles, eventually becoming President and Chairman of the company. One of Donn's greatest joys was helping others. He served on the Board of Directors of many organizations, including the Boy Scouts of America, the Salvation Army, Florence Crittenton Center, Hollywood Presbyterian Hospital, First Lincoln Financial Corp. and Union Bank. He was also an enthusiastic and longtime member of the Rotary Club/LA 5, Los Rancheros Visitadores, Southern Skis, the Beach Club, and the Wine and Food Society of Southern California.

02 SEP 2009
U.S. Veteran and NY Beta Brother John W. Bacon passed away on this date in Soquel, California. Brother Bacon was vice president of human resources at SaveMart Supermarkets, and president of the Food Employers Council.

01 SEP 2010
World War II Veteran and IL Alpha Walter William Rust, U.S. Navy died at home on this date in Bellevue, Washington.

Walter was born 25 FEB 1926 in Sioux Falls, South Dakota. A prolific skater, he set national records in the 1/2 and 3/4 mile as a juvenile and junior en route to several State, National and North American race titles.

In 1944, he graduated from Elgin High School. He was inducted into the Elgin Sports Hall of Fame in 1996. Walt served in the U.S. Navy as a radioman aboard the escort aircraft carrier USS Puget Sound (CVE-113) from 1944 to 1946 in the South Pacific.

He graduated from the University of Illinois in 1950 where he was a member of Sigma Phi Epsilon.

In 1961, Walter's job with Weyerhaeuser took the family to their home in Los Alamitos, CA where they lived until 1966. Then it was back to Bellevue where he retired from Weyerhaeuser in 1980. Spotting an opportunity, he started his own business, Pasayten Incorporated, in MAR 1980.

In 2008, he returned to retired life. Walt was an active outdoorsman, athlete, photographer, sailor, wood carver and Little League umpire. He competed in cycling and placed in state, national, and world events into his 70's. He was active in the Boy Scouts for more than 20 years. He served as Scout Master and Assist ant Scout Master with Troop 600 of Bellevue and was awarded the Silver Beaver.

Remembrances may be made to Boy Scouts of America, Chief Seattle Council, P.O. Box 440408, Seattle, WA 98114 or Friends of Youth, Family Resource Center Campus, 16225 NE 87th Street, Suite A-6, Redmond, WA 98052-3536.

Brother Rust was laid to rest at Sunset Hills Memorial Park.

02 SEP 2010
World War II and Vietnam Veteran and UT Alpha Brother Lieutenant Colonel William J. Gibson, U.S. Air Force (Retired) passed away on this date at the age of 90. He was born in Ogden, Utah on 28 APR 1920.

Brother Gibson was a distinguished and decorated veteran of World War II and the Vietnam War. He entered active duty with the Army Air Corps in OCT 1941 as a B-17 pilot. Immediately after the attack on Pearl Harbor, he deployed to the Pacific Theater, where he flew numerous combat missions against enemy shipping and ground targets. At 24, he was the youngest Lieutenant Colonel in the Army Air Corps, commanding a squadron of B-29s. In the last mission of the war, he led a composite crew drawn from all the air crews in the Pacific Theater to fly the official photos of the Japanese surrender back to Washington, D.C. He died on the 65th anniversary of that mission.

William served in Vietnam, completing more than 1,000 combat missions. He was rated in 62 different aircraft from bi-planes to jets, with more than 22,000 flying hours.

Along with his affiliation in Sigma Phi Epsilon, Brother Gibson’s obituary also stated that he was a member of the Quiet Birdmen and the Order of Daedalians. He served the Air Force Association as a National Director and a trustee of the Aerospace Education Foundation. Col. Gibson also was devoted to his fellow veterans of the 505th Bomb Group, who met regularly for reunions under his direction.

*Welcome Aboard, Brother! KY Delta Brother and Operation ENDURING FREEDOM Veteran Sergeant First Class Roger Thomas, U.S. Army joined the SigEps Who Serve group this week! Brother Thomas is currently deployed, and we send our thoughts and prayers out to him, his Soldiers and all SigEp Patriots serving in harm’s way.

*Congrats to Navy Veteran and SC Beta Brother Anthony Seifert who celebrated his 11th wedding anniversary earlier this week!

*A year ago this week, Operation ENDURING FREEDOM Veteran and FL Beta Brother Captain Nate Davis, U.S. Army was promoted to his current rank.

On this date in 1917, American forces in France suffered their first fatalities of World War I. Do we know if any Brothers were among those first casualties in Europe? At Guadalcanal on 04 SEP 1942, the Japanese received additional reinforcements. Off the coast, two older American destroyers utilized as transports were sunk by Japanese destroyers. It is very likely that Brothers served at Guadalcanal. How many made the ultimate sacrifice there? Where any SigEp Patriots aboard those downed destroyers?

During the Vietnam War on this date in 1967, the U.S. 1st Marine Division launched Operation SWIFT in Quang Nam and Quang Tin Provinces. During four days of fighting, 114 men of the U.S. 5th Marine Regiment were killed. Is there a list of SigEps wounded and killed during SWIFT?

On this date in 2004, insurgents clashed with U.S. and Iraqi troops in northern Iraq. A suicide attacker detonated a car bomb in the northern city of Kirkuk, killing 17 and wounding 36. Saboteurs blew up an oil pipeline in southern Iraq. Were SigEp Patriots in harm’s way on this day?

In any of these situations as well as in the future, it is the goal of the SigEp Patriots Project (SPP) to be able to recognize and honor the men involved, and provide support to them and their families. Ambitious goals to be sure, but at Conclave we were reminded that dedicated men are capable of great things, and with determination and some assistance the goals of the Project will be achieved.

To date, the SPP has made some progress, but there is still much information to be gathered. Various degrees of detail on the military careers of more than 320 SigEp Patriots have been collected, and an additional 327 Brothers have joined the official SPP Facebook group – SigEps Who Serve. Thank you for your assistance in passing the word about this effort.

Fraternally and Respectfully,

Ed Jones
Chief Petty Officer, U.S. Navy Reserve
Founder, SigEp Patriots Project
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