Friday, July 13, 2012

Last Week in SigEp Patriot History, 02 - 08 JUL


08 JUL 1944 – The U.S. naval bombardment of Guam began.

How many SigEp Patriots were there? The SigEp Patriots Project (SPP) thinks it is important to know.

This Week in SigEp Patriot History:

08 JUL 1986
On this day, World War II Veteran, SigEp Citation Recipient and VA Zeta Brother General Robert Jefferson Wood, U.S. Army (Retired) – one of five known SigEp Patriots to reach this rank in the U.S. military – died of a stroke at the Veterans Administration Hospital in Washington, DC. Brother Wood was a United States Army four-star general who helped organize the creation of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) military organization in the early 1950s and later served as director of the military assistance program from 1962 to 1965.

Robert was born in 1905 in Petersburg, Virginia. He attended Randolph-Macon College for a year until entering the United States Military Academy in 1926. On 12 JUN 1930, Brother Wood graduated and was commissioned a second lieutenant in the Army Coast Artillery Corps.

During World War II, he served in the Mediterranean theater, advancing through the grades from captain to colonel. Following the war, Brother Wood served as a military aide to Secretary of Defense and NH Alpha Brother James Vincent Forrestal.

Following an assignment to the Advanced Planning Group charged with creating Supreme Headquarters Allied Powers Europe (SHAPE), the NATO headquarters organization, Robert was promoted to brigadier general in MAY 1952 and assigned as Chief of the Defense Annual Review Team for the U.S. Mission to NATO. On 01 MAY 1956, Brother Wood became commanding general of Fort Bliss (Texas) and commandant of the Antiaircraft Artillery and Guided Missile School.

With his promotion to Lieutenant General in 1960, he was assigned as commanding general of the Army Air Defense Command (ARADCOM) in Colorado Springs, Colorado, and two years later appointed director of the military assistance program in the office of the Assistant Secretary of Defense for International Security Affairs, with the rank of full general. The Director of Military Assistance supervised the operational details of arms transfer to NATO allies and other friendly countries. As chief of staff of the foreign military aid program, he was considered to be on the same level as the chiefs of staff of the Army, Navy, and Air Force and of comparable military rank, but without a seat on the Joint Chiefs of Staff.

Robert retired on 01 SEP 1965, but was recalled to active duty in 1968 to serve as Director of the Overseas Base Requirements Study Group, a special interdepartmental study group planning future overseas military base locations. With his work completed, he returned to retired status on 31 MAR 1969. He subsequently served on a presidential task force on international development.

His awards and decorations include the Distinguished Service Medal, Legion of Merit (with oak leaf cluster), and the Purple Heart.

Brother Wood is gone, and the SigEp Patriots Project pledges that he will never be forgotten.

07 JUL 2006
U.S Army National Guard Veteran (Montana) MT Beta Brother Daniel William Ayres died on this day at his home in Cody, Montana. Daniel was born in Bozeman, Montana in 1929, graduated from Gallatin County High School and attended Montana State University, Bozeman, and the University of Montana in Missoula.
Brother Ayres served in the Montana National Guard and was an active Gideon, a certified swimming and sailing instructor and a 4-H leader. He was also a sandblast artist in the Bozeman Granite Works, a family-owned business, and worked as a dairy-route driver, proprietor of Rainbow Water Service, a real estate broker, and a charter tour bus driver. He especially enjoyed tours into Yellowstone Park.

He claimed to be a lover, not a fighter. He brought adventure to his family with camping trips and Jeep outings. Other hobbies included sailing, swimming and skiing.

Brother Ayres is gone, and the SigEp Patriots Project pledges that he will never be forgotten.

07 JUL 2008
On this day, World War II, Korean War and Vietnam War Veteran and VA Eta Brother Commander Donald Eugene Cummings, U.S. Navy (Retired) died in The Woodlands, Texas. In addition to Sigma Phi Epsilon, Brother Cummings was a member of the University of Virginia’s championship boxing team.

Don served in the U.S. Navy from 1946 to 1969 as a fighter pilot. While in the Navy, he boxed in the finals of the Olympic trials.  His last assignment was as air boss on the aircraft carrrier USS Shangri-la (CV-38) serving with the Atlantic Fleet and assigned to deploy to the Mediterranean Sea. After retiring from the Navy, he was the corporate pilot for Campbell-Ewald Advertising Corp.

Respect can be paid to Brother Cummings in Section C-1, Row D, Site 38 at Houston National Cemetery, Houston Texas. Brother Cummings is gone, and the SigEp Patriots Project pledges that he will never be forgotten.

04 JUL 2010
U.S Army Air Force World War II Veteran and OR Beta Brother Vernon Sprague White died on this day at the age of 88. Vern was born in Salem, Oregon in 1921, graduated from Portland's Washington High School and the University of Oregon. During World War II he served in the U.S. Army Air Forces' 95th Bomb Group.

Vern had a lifelong avocation of politics, and his hobbies included history, genealogy, and the concept of smaller government with reduced taxes. He was editor of the Daily Journal of Commerce. In 1961, he became managing editor of "Western Timber Industry and News," which merged in 1971 with "World Wood Products." He was chairman of the Young Republicans in 1953 and founding president of the Trumpeters in 1957. From 1958 to 1960, Vern was chairman of the Multnomah County Republican Party.

Brother White is gone, and the SigEp Patriots Project pledges that he will never be forgotten.

– IL Theta Brother James P. “Jim” Epperson (U.S. Army) passed away 11 JUN 2012.
– U.S. Army Air Corps World War II Veteran and WI Beta Brother John Peter Griesbach passed away 29 JUN 2012, in Round Rock, Texas after a short illness with congestive heart failure.
– World War II Veteran of the Normandy, Northern France and Rhineland Campaigns and VA Zeta Brother Staff Sergeant Morris Kent Mallory, U.S. Army passed away 03 JUL 2012.
– Vietnam War Veteran and VT Gamma Brother Captain Charles Vincent Masick, U.S. Army passed away 07 JUL 2012 in Cooperstown, New York.

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

* Welcome Home to Operation IRAQI FREEDOM / NEW DAWN Veteran Brother Lieutenant Ian Marks, U.S. Coast Guard following his successful deployment to Kuwait! Also, congratulations are in order as he has been selected for promotion to Lieutenant Commander!
* Congratulations to PA Gamma Brother Ensign Charles Brand, U.S. Navy on his recent commissioning!
* On Saturday, it was a great pleasure to watch as six SigEp Patriots graduated from Marine Corps Officer Candidate School. KY Epsilon brothers Brentt Mcgee and Zachary Tkach, CA Omega Brother Tyler Sweet, PA Gamma Brother Doug Upton, and brothers Nickless and Gustafson. All the brothers excelled at OCS, and Doug graduated in the top 10% of the class.
* Congratulations to VA Omicron Brother First Lieutenant Andy Ryan, U.S. Army and his wife Gaby on their marriage on Saturday!
* Congratulations to AL Zeta Brother Cadet Daven Bailey (ROTC) on his graduation from LDAC on Monday.

* 477! The official Facebook group of the SigEp Patriots Project – SigEps Who Serve – now numbers 477 brothers who serve/served our country in the U.S. military. Please keep passing the word about the official SPP Facebook group - All that is required is your military and home chapter affiliation.
* 535! The SPP archives now include more than 535 pages of stories and information about SigEp Patriots. If you have stories, pictures and other news about SigEps who serve/served please send an email to

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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