Saturday, May 19, 2012

This Week in SigEp Patriot History, 14 – 20 MAY


Happy Armed Forces Day to all SigEps who serve – past and present! The day was created in 1949 to honor Americans serving in the five U.S. military branches – the Army, Navy, Marines, Air Force and Coast Guard – following the consolidation of the military services in the Department of Defense (under the first Secretary of Defense, World War I Veteran and NH Alpha Brother James V. Forrestal).

Yesterday, just before the periodontist started scrapping part of my gums, the conversation turned to the global war on terrorism and the operations in Iraq and Afghanistan. The young and compassionate dental assistant said, “You don’t hear enough about the good work done by U.S. service members in Afghanistan. Ya know, I don’t know anyone in the military.”

I see two important points here.

Without sounding like one of those people who thinks the “main stream media” has a grand plan against society, this humble observer believes there is a considerable focus on negative stories that cast a poor light on the U.S. military in Afghanistan.

That said, there are news items and websites about “good news stories” out of Afghanistan, and if people don’t “hear” it is because they are not listening.

As for the second point, a few years ago, I was watching a television show attempting to explain the current disconnect between the American public and members of the U.S. military. During the show it was stated that during World War II one in three Americans directly knew someone in the military. Today, that number is estimated to be one in eight. As we all know, it is natural to support someone with which you have a personal connection.

With this in mind, the SigEp Patriots Project continues its efforts to assist others in learning about, remembering and hopefully connecting with those patriotic brothers past and present who allow us to live our lives in freedom.

19 MAY 1944
On this date, World War I Veteran and NH Alpha Brother James Vincent Forrestal became Secretary of the Navy. He guided the Navy through the last year of the war and the two difficult years of demobilization after the Japanese surrender. Brother Forrestal served during WWI as a Lieutenant in the U.S. Navy Reserve, and would go on to become the first Secretary of Defense.

15 MAY 1973 / 15 MAY 1974
May is a meaningful month for AL Alpha Brother Colonel Wallace Jack Paschal II, U.S. Air Force. Before he joined the Air Force, Brother Paschall enlisted in the Alabama National Guard as a draftsman, 15 MAY 1973. A year later, he was promoted to Private First Class.

16 MAY 1981 / 16 MAY 1984
May also holds meaning for Operation IRAQI FREEDOM Veteran and VT Gamma Brother Major General Michael D. Dubie, U.S. Air National Guard (Vermont). On these dates, Brother Dubie was promoted to Second Lieutenant and First Lieutenant, respectively.

20 MAY 2005
On this date, U.S. Army World War II D-Day Veteran DE Alpha Brother Robert L. Snowberger died at his home in Wilmington, Delaware.

Robert, affectionately known as "Grumps" by his grandchildren, graduated from A.I. DuPont High School and was an all-state football player. He served with distinction in the U.S. Army during World War II, participating in the Normandy Invasion at Omaha Beach on D-Day. He was awarded the Bronze Star for heroic action against an "out numbering enemy force" in Germany, 06 APR 1945. After military service, he went on to graduate from the University of Delaware, and then worked for the DuPont Company in advertising. Taking an early retirement, he became an independent manufacturer's representative and was actively involved in many entrepreneurial ventures.

19 MAY 2010
Two SigEp Patriots were lost to us on this date.

World War II Veteran and CO Delta Brother First Lieutenant Douglas Lawrence Pearce, U.S. Army Air Corps was born in Calgary, Alberta, Canada, and raised in Carbon County, Utah where his father worked as a mining engineer. Brother Pearce graduated with an engineering degree from the Colorado School of Mines in 1942, and soon thereafter enlisted in the Army in Salt Lake City as a First Lieutenant, 9th Air Force. He served on active duty until 1946 and in reserves until 1949.

Respect can be paid to Brother Pearce at Highland Cemetery in Casper, Wyoming.

U.S. Army Reserve Veteran KS Epsilon Brother James R. Roth died at his home in Wichita, Kansas on this date. Brother Roth was a 1963 graduate of Emporia State University, where he majored in business and was a member of the golf and debate teams. Three years later, Jim graduate from Washburn University School of Law. He practiced law in Topeka for several years before moving to Wichita where he remained in private practice for more than 40 years. From 1966-1972, Brother Roth served in the U.S. Army Reserve. In 1992, the Governor of Kansas appointed him to the Washburn University Board of Regents, and he continued to serve on the Board for 18 years at the request of two subsequent governors – including four years as Chairman. Brother Roth was awarded the Distinguished Service Award from Washburn Law School (2005) and from the Washburn University Alumni Association (2010).

29 APR – WA Alpha President Ensign Gordon Ernest Ruehl, U.S. Navy passed away in Spokane, Washington in his sleep nineteen months after being diagnosed with Mesothelioma (asbestos cancer). In lieu of flowers the family suggests that memorials may be made to Hospice of Spokane, Westminster Congregational Church, to WSU School of Architecture c/o Greg Kessler, PO Box 64220, Pullman WA 99163 or to the charity of your choice.

12 MAY – World War II Navy Veteran, SigEp Citation Recipient and IL Gamma Founding Father Harold Arthur “Red” Poling passed away in Pacific Grove, California at the age of 86. In July 1943, at the age of 17 and just two weeks after graduating from high school, Red enlisted in the Navy and serves as an aviation cadet before being discharged in October 1945 following an injury. In 1993, the United States Navy Memorial presented Brother Poling the Lone Sailor Award adding him to an impressive list of Navy veterans who have distinguished themselves by drawing upon their military experience to become successful in their subsequent careers and lives, while exemplifying the core values of Honor, Courage and Commitment.

Our thoughts and prayers go out to friends, family and chapter brothers of Gordon and Red, and the SigEp Patriots Project pledges that their service will always be remembered. 

WELCOME HOME! Operation IRAQI FREEDOM Veteran and FL Iota Brother Specialist Adam Pietri, U.S. Army returned from Kuwait last week. Adam’s unit, 2-8 CAV, 1BCT was among the last to withdraw from Iraq. On Thursday, two-time Operation IRAQI FREEDOM Veteran, Operation ENDURING FREEDOM Veteran and HI Alpha Brother Major Siegfried Ramil, U.S. Army returned from his tour in Afghanistan. Thanks to brothers Pietri and Ramil for their patriotic service.

Fraternally and Respectfully,

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