Monday, October 31, 2011

Last Week in SigEp Patriot History, 24 - 30 OCT

In this “Last Week” edition:
- A World War I Ace’s activity over France
- Birth of the internet by SigEp Citation recipient
- Death of World War II Veteran and Congressman
- A Brother who made the ultimate sacrifice
- Two more SigEp Patriots passed away this week
- A Brother safely returns from a successful Afghanistan deployment
- The SigEp Patriots Project and the official Facebook group continues to grow

28 & 29 OCT 1918
World War I Veteran and Ace NY Beta Brother Major James Armand Meissner, U.S. Army Air Service had his seventh and eighth (final) aerial kills over Bantheville and Buzancy, France, respectively.

26 OCT 1922
U.S. Army World War II Veteran OH Gamma Brother Robert W. Bishop was born on this date in Cleveland, Ohio.

26 OCT 1936
On this date, MI Alpha Brother First Lieutenant George Henry Cress, U.S. Army was born.

25 OCT 1964
Operation DESERT STORM Veteran MO Lambda Brother Jay Scott Danner, U.S. Air National Guard (Missouri) was born on this date in Maryville, Missouri.

29 OCT 1969
On this date the internet was born when U.S. Navy World War II Veteran and SigEp Citation Recipient OR Alpha Brother Dr. Doug Engelbart’s ARPANET (the precursor to the internet) computer at Stanford Research Institute (SRI) received the first message sent between two nodes. The message, sent from the SDS Sigma 7 computer at UCLA to SRI's SDS 940 computer, was supposed to consist of the word "log", followed by Engelbart's reply of "in", thus spelling the word "log-in". The computer at UCLA crashed after sending only two characters — "lo" — but those letters were instantaneously received at 10:30 PM local time on 29 OCT 1969 at Engelbart's SRI laboratory, making it arguably the birthplace of the internet.

26 OCT 1997
World War II Veteran, FL State Representative, U.S. Congressman and FL Alpha Brother Captain Donald Ray Matthews, U.S. Army died on this date in Gainesville, Florida. Born in Micanopy, FL on 03 OCT 1907, Brother Matthews was a school teacher, principal and member of the Florida state house of representatives before serving in the U.S. Army during World War II. Discharged at the rank of Captain, Don served as an alternate delegate from Florida to the Democratic National Convention in 1952, and went on represent the Florida 8th District in the U.S. Congress from 1953-67. Respect can be paid to Brother Matthews at the Hawthorne Cemetery, Hawthorne, FL.

27 OCT 2005
On this date, Bosnia and Operation IRAQI FREEDOM Veteran FL Epsilon Brother Colonel William Wesley Wood, U.S. Army made the ultimate sacrifice in Baghdad, Iraq. Brother Wood died in when he was directing security operations in response to the detonation of an improvised explosive device (IED). During this response, a second IED detonated near his position. He was a regular Army soldier commanding the Army National Guard's 1st Battalion, 184th Infantry Regiment – “Nightstalkers,” Modesto, California.

Bill was born on 12 OCT 1961 in Lubbock, Texas where his father was serving in the Air Force. After graduating from high school he attended a local community college before enrolling at Florida State University and joining the ROTC Program. He was commissioned as an Infantry 2nd Lieutenant after graduating from FSU in 1984, and following several overseas and stateside tours he was selected to serve as the deputy division operations officer for the 1st Infantry Division which deployed to Kosovo.

In JUN 2002, Brother Wood assumed command of the 2d Battalion, 39th Infantry Regiment at Fort Jackson, South Carolina. During his two years in command, he was hand selected by the Commanding General of Fort Jackson to be the G3 for a Task Force comprised of over 31 different Army organizations which deployed to Tazar, Hungary. As the G3, Bill was responsible for the planning, coordination and execution of a strategic mission of training Free Iraqi Forces in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom.

Deploying with the 2d Brigade to Eastern Baghdad as part of Operation Iraqi Freedom III, he was instrumental in the brigade’s transition with the 1st Brigade, 1st Cavalry Division, security for the then newly-elected Iraqi Government, and coordinating non-lethal effects throughout the brigade’s area of operations. He was selected for a second battalion command in the 4th Brigade of the 3d Infantry Division, and assumed command of 1st Battalion, 184th Infantry Regiment in late JUL 2005. He was instrumental in the success of battalion surge operations leading up to the Iraqi Constitutional Referendum.

Colonel Wood’s awards and decorations include the Bronze Star Medal with Valor Device, the Purple Heart, the Meritorious Service Medal with five Oak Leaf Clusters, the Army Commendation Medal with three Oak Leaf Clusters, the Army Achievement Medal with two Oak Leaf Clusters, the National Defense Service Medal with Bronze Star Device, the Kosovo Campaign Medal, the Global War on Terror Expeditionary Medal, the Global War on Terror Service Medal, the NATO Medal, the Combat Infantryman’s Badge, the Expert Infantryman’s Badge, and the Parachutist Badge.

Respect can be paid to Brother Wood at Barrancas National Cemetery, Naval Air Station Pensacola, FL in Section 51, Site 684.

26 OCT 2007
U.S. Navy World War II and Korean War Veteran NE Alpha Brother F. Gene Dixon, D.D.S. died on this date. Brother Dixon devoted over thirty years of his life to the creation, design and development of the first comprehensive, free-choice, prepaid dental care plan in the United States. He is largely considered to be the pioneer in improving the quality, access and affordability of dental care for the nation. Dr. Dixon's innovative and unprecedented efforts revolutionized the way in which people access preventative dental care in the United States and elsewhere. The not-for-profit corporation that he founded over 50 years ago is today known as Delta Dental.

Gene was born 13 APR 1923 in Superior, Nebraska, and graduated as a Doctor of Dental Surgery from the University of Nebraska College of Dentistry in 1947 where he was elected as the president of NE Alpha. Following graduation Dr. Dixon served as a dental officer in the U.S. Navy during both World War II and the Korean War. He was stationed in Great Lakes, MI, the Aleutian Islands, and Hunter's Point, CA. He was discharged as a Lieutenant in 1952, before moving to San Mateo, CA, where he began private practice and where he spent the next 55 years of his life. Brother Dixon was a member of several honor societies and "Who's Who in the West."

24 OCT 2009
On this date, U.S. Army Veteran NC Eta Brother Edgar Jackson “Jack” Venable died in High Point, North Carolina. A native and lifelong resident of Guilford County, North Carolina he was born 16 MAY 1931. Jack became an Eagle Scout in 1947 with Troop 11 in High Point, received his private pilot's license the same year, and owned his own plane. He graduated from High Point College in 1953. He was veteran of the U.S. Army. Brother Venable was also an amateur astronomer, built his own telescope and witnessed many Apollo liftoffs. In 1991, after 35 years with IBM, he retired as a senior customer engineer. Respects can be paid to Jack at the Floral Garden Park Cemetery.

U.S. Army Korean War Veteran NC Theta Brother Allan La Torre and KS Epsilon Brother Carroll Denning, U.S. Army Reserve died on 24 OCT. Our thoughts and prayers go out to the families and friends of Brothers La Torre and Denning.

* A heartfelt WELCOME HOME from Afghanistan to Operation ENDURING FREEDOM Veteran and KY Zeta Brother First Lieutenant Kevin Wilson, U.S. Marine Corps!
* Congratulations to TN Eta Brother Major James Chase, U.S. Army on his recent promotion to his current rank. Best of luck in Korea, James!
* Congratulations to Operation IRAQI FREEDOM Veteran and Missouri Mu Brother First Lieutenant Mike Herbst, U.S. Army on getting orders to serve in the Old Guard! I look forward to showing you around DC.

* The ranks of the SigEp Patriots Project (SPP) and our Official Facebook Group – SigEps Who Serve – continue to grow! Keep passing the word because this is YOUR group, exclusively set up for Brothers who serve/served the nation in the U.S. military. We would like to wish a sincere welcome to the following new group members, Brothers:
Brett Sorah, U.S. Navy
Joseph W. Christian, U.S. Navy
Jimmy Peluso, U.S. Navy
Steve Bembenista, U.S. Navy
CJ Wesley, U.S. Army
Brian Plamondon, U.S. Marine Corps
Adam Reiffen, U.S. Navy
Mike Herbst, U.S. Army

Are you a Brother who serves/served in the U.S. military? If so, we are looking for you! Clink on the link to go to the official Facebook page of the SPP

Not on Facebook. There is a listserve that you can join by sending an email to me at

Fraternally and Respectfully,

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