Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Last Week in SigEp Patriot History, 18 – 24 JUN


Good actions give strength to ourselves and inspire good actions in others. ~ Plato
We at the SigEp Patriots Project (SPP) may be crazy, but one of our goals is to learn at least the name of every brother of Sigma Phi Epsilon that ever served in uniform. We realize this is a daunting task – in addition to gathering stories of brothers’ accomplishments, but our diligence is reinforced by the amazing feats we learn daily of patriotic brothers, and we hope that by sharing them they will inspire you as well. Perhaps some of you will consider helping us, and we look forward to hearing from you.

21 JUN 1918
On this day, OH Gamma Brother Captain Robert Lester Tavenner, U.S. Army began his World War I service with the 37th Division, American Expeditionary Force, and would see action in France & Belgium before being discharged.

24 JUN 1918
NH Alpha Brother Private First Class Charles Enos Tayntor, 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 day.

18 JUN 1940
KY Epsilon Brother Joseph Fry Odle, Jr. enlisted in the U.S. Marine Corps on this day and later served in the Pacific Theater, including the Battle of Solomon Islands.

19 JUN 1942
On this day, Elmo Russell Zumwalt, Jr. graduated from the U.S. Naval Academy and commissioned an Ensign. He went on to serve in World War II, as well as the Korean and Vietnam wars in a notable career that included being appointed the youngest man to serve as Chief of Naval Operations (CNO). As the 19th CNO, Admiral Zumwalt played a major role in U.S. military history, especially during the Vietnam War. A highly-decorated war veteran, he reformed U.S. Navy personnel policies in an effort to improve enlisted life and ease racial tensions. He was initiated a renaissance brother of Sigma Phi Epsilon in 1980 – six years after his retirement from the Navy.

21 JUN 2001
U.S. Merchant Marine World War II Veteran and MT Alpha Brother Carroll O’Connor died on this day of heart failure in Culver City, California. Brother O’Connor was born John Carroll O’Connor 02 AUG 1924 in Manhattan, New York.

After high school, Carroll enlisted in the Merchant Marines and worked on ships transiting the Atlantic Ocean between the U.S. and Europe. In 1946, he enrolled at the University of Montana to study English. While there, he became interested in theater. He moved to Ireland where he continued his theatrical studies at the National University of Ireland, and he worked in theater in Europe until 1954 when he returned to New York. His attempts to land on Broadway failed and he taught high school until 1958. Finally in 1958, he landed an Off-Broadway production. He followed that with a Broadway production that was directed by Burgess Meredith. At the same time, he was getting attention on TV.

Brother O’Connor auditioned for the role of The Skipper on “Gilligan's Island”, and was considered for the role of Dr. Zachary Smith on “Lost in Space”. During the 1960’s decade he appeared in quite a few movies including “In Harm's Way”, “The Devil's Brigade”, and my favorite “Kelly's Heroes”. A pilot for the TV show “Those Were The Days” was first shot in 1968 based on the English hit, “Till Death Do Us Part”, but was rejected by the networks. In 1971, it was re-shot and re-cast as “All in the Family” and the rest is history. Archie Bunker, Carroll's character on “All in the Family”, was ranked #24 in TV Guide's list of the “50 Greatest TV Dads of All Time”.

From 1993 to 1997, Brother O’Connor was a spokesperson for Partnership for a Drug Free America, and he was instrumental in the passage of the Drug Dealers Civil Liability Act in California. The Act states that citizens can sue drug dealers whom they feel are responsible for the drug-related deaths of family members. The Act came about as a result of his son's drug-related suicide.

Carroll passed away on the same day as blues legend John Lee Hooker. Coincidentally, their stars are right next to one another on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.

Respect can be paid to Brother O’Connor at Westwood Memorial Park, Los Angeles, CA. He is gone but will never be forgotten.

18 JUN 2005
On this day, we lost Operation IRAQI FREEDOM Veteran and GA Delta Brother Noah Harris in Baqubah, Iraq to injuries sustained in Buritz, Iraq the day before while serving as a platoon leader when his mounted patrol was attacked by enemy forces using rocket-propelled grenades. Brother Harris was assigned to 2nd Battalion, 69th Armor Regiment, 3rd Brigade, 3rd Infantry Division at Fort Benning, Georgia. He was posthumously promoted to first lieutenant and was 23 years old.

Noah’s father, Rick Harris of Ellijay, GA, said his son joined the Army after the Sept. 11th terrorist attacks while attending UGA, telling his father that people “must serve some higher purpose than yourself in life.”

Noah enjoyed giving stuffed animals and soccer balls to Iraqi children. He was known for having bullets in one pocket, Beanie Babies in the other. Members of his unit stated that for every bullet Noah shot from his weapon, he must have handed out 10 Beanie Babies to the children of Iraq. A 1999 graduate of Gilmer High School in Ellijay, he was a leader both as a scholar and an athlete. He was captain and most valuable player of the high school's football team, won a state individual wrestling title, and later named the state’s Scholar-Athlete of the Year in 1999. He was honored as a scholar athlete during the 1999 Peach Bowl and was an Honor Bar Thespian as an actor in the school theater club. At the University of Georgia, in addition to SigEp, Brother Harris was an active volunteer with Watch Dawgs, a student organization dedicated to preventing alcohol-related accidents and incidents by giving students free rides home after a late night in downtown Athens. He was perhaps most visible as a member of UGA's cheerleading squad from 1999 to 2002, where his athletic gifts and his outgoing personality could both be fully utilized. He captained the squad in 2001. Noah was born in the mountain home that his parents built themselves in Ellijay, digging holes for the posts and driving the nails.
Brother Harris was known in his platoon for having a photo of his parents’ home in Ellijay as a screen saver on his laptop computer, said Captain Bobby Toon. “When I asked him what the picture was of, he said, ‘That’s why I’m here.’,” Toon said. Meanwhile, to raise morale, he organized a pen pal program that paired his fellow soldiers with UGA students.

The weight room in the military science building at UGA was named in honor of Noah.

Brother Harris’ ashes were scattered, but respect can be paid to him at his cenotaph along the Warriors Walk Memorial at Fort Stewart, Georgia. He is gone but will never be forgotten.

18 JUN 2008
World War II Veteran and CA Beta Brother Captain Richard E. Barrett, U.S. Army Air Corps died on this day.  After attending school in Europe he returned to Los Angeles, finished high school, and attended USC where he majored in business and international affairs. In addition to SigEp, Brother Barrett was president of the Trojan and San Gorgonio ski clubs. Upon graduation, he worked briefly at Douglas Aircraft. He enlisted in the U.S. Army Air Corps serving as a Captain in the Pacific theater, specializing in intercepting and decoding Japanese messages for 2 1/2 years. Returning home Dick formed Barsa Company, selling U.S. products overseas. He published and exported Encyclopedia Britannica, medical books, bibles, and dictionaries in Spanish and Portuguese, employing over 5000 worldwide. After selling Barsa Company in 1967, he settled in Newport Beach where he lived with his family for 41 years and pursued other investments. The highlight of his life was deep sea fishing. He held multiple world records and contributed to the tag and release program. His boat, "Grin'n Barrett" was well known throughout the fishing community. Dick was a major contributor to Hoag Hospital, USC, and other philanthropic organizations. He is gone but will never forgotten.

Editor’s Note: According to an article recently found in an edition of the Journal, during WWII CA Beta had at least 210 brothers serving in uniform.

– On 08 JUN 2012, WY Alpha President Ronald Dwight Harvey (U.S. Navy & U.S. Navy Reserve) passed away after a two year battle with cancer.
– U.S. Navy Reserve World War II Veteran IA Delta Brother John Clement Redden passed away 09 JUN 2012.
– U.S. Navy Korean War Veteran NC Eta Brother Robert Clifton Snyder passed away 10 JUN 2012.
– On 15 JUN 2012, UT Beta Brother Norman Edward Turner (U.S. Navy) passed away peacefully.
– U.S. Army World War II Veteran KS Beta Brother Edwin Speight Darden II passed away at his home in Fresno, CA on 16 JUN 2012.
– World War II Veteran and CA Beta Brother Captain James D. “Dean” Rickman, U.S. Army passed away peacefully on 16 JUN 2012 in Wichita, KS.
– On 18 JUN 2012, MA Alpha Brother Arthur Roy Fogelgren (U.S. Army) passed away in Hyannis, MA following a brief illness.

Our thoughts and prayers go out to the family, friends and chapter brothers of these SigEp Patriots. They are gone but they will never be forgotten.

* On Saturday, NY Chi Brother Second Lieutenant Brian Bierwirth, U.S. Army returned safely to his wife, Kelly, family and friends!
* TN Eta Brother Second Lieutenant Clint Van Ert, U.S. Army graduated from the Field Artillery Basic Officer Leader Course yesterday.
* U.S. Navy Hospital Corpsman NC Kappa Brother Bryce Booth was selected Sailor of the Month at Portsmouth Naval Hospital. Bryce trains Sailors as part of the small pox vaccination program that prepares Sailors for overseas deployment.

There are many brothers serving in uniform around the world accomplishing great things, and we look forward to hearing from military and non-military brothers who are interested in sharing those items.

* Over the past few days, four additional SigEp Patriots have joined their brethren on SPP’s official Facebook page – SigEps Who Serve. Welcome aboard to RI Beta Brother Jonathan Ramirez (U.S. Air Force), CA Phi Brother Seth Newark (U.S. Army ROTC), Mo Nu Brother Pat Kelly (U.S. Marine Corps), and MO Eta Brother Jarrod DeVore (U.S. Marine Corps)!
* We are a bit overdue in welcoming Brother Ryan Lee Torres to the SPP leadership team as the TX Theta chapter point of contact and 26th brother to step forward and offer his time and assistance.

* We learned the other day that NH Alpha Brother Captain Theodor "Dr. Seuss" Geisel, U.S. Army donated one million dollars to the construction of the D-Day Memorial in Bedford, Virginia.

Fraternally and Very Respectfully,

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