Sunday, July 01, 2012

This Week in SigEp Patriot History, 25 JUN – 01 JUL


In U.S. military history this week, Brigadier General James G. Harbord, the Commanding General of the 4th Marine Brigade, notified American Expeditionary Force Headquarters on 26 JUN 1918 that Belleau Wood was "now U.S. Marine Corps entirely." After 20 days of combat, and at a cost of over 4,000 casualties, the 4th Brigade of Marines had proven its fighting heart. The grateful Commander of the French Sixth Army would soon decree that in all official correspondence, Belleau Wood would henceforth bear the name, "Bois de la Brigade de Marine." The Battle of Belleau Wood is also where the moniker “Devil Dogs” was used by German soldiers to describe U.S. Marines who fought so ferociously during the battle.

Anyone know how many SigEps served at Belleau Wood? The SigEp Patriots Project believes this is an important question, and we continue to strive to answer it.

This Week in SigEp Patriot History:

26 JUN 1953
On this day, U.S. Army WWI Veteran, Speaker of the North Carolina House of Representatives, and U.S. Senator (North Carolina) NC Gamma Brother Willis Smith died while serving in the U.S. Congress.

Willis was born 19 DEC 1887 in Norfolk, VA, and became a SigEp at Trinity College (now Duke University). After graduating in 1910, he attended law school, was admitted to the bar in 1912, and during World War he served in the Army in Virginia during World War I.

From 1927-32, Brother Smith was a member of the North Carolina state House of Representatives, the last two years as Speaker. Twice he was a delegate to the Democratic National Convention.

At the Nuremburg Trials in 1946 he was an observer, and after serving as a U.S. delegate to the Interparliamentary Union (1951) he was selected as the chairman of the American delegation to the Union’s meeting in Bern, Switzerland in 1952.

Simultaneously, Brother Smith was serving in the U.S. Congress. In 1950, he was elected to fill the vacancy caused by the death of J. Melville Broughton, and he until his death in the naval hospital at Bethesda, MD.

Respect can be paid to Brother Smith at Oakwood Cemetery, Raleigh, North Carolina. He is gone but will never be forgotten.

01 JUL 1957
On this day, U.S. Army World War II Veteran and VA Zeta Brother Robert Jefferson Wood was assigned as the Army's Deputy Chief of Research and Development, working on a variety of projects including antimissile weapons and germ and gas warfare systems.

In the early 50s, Brother Wood was involved with the creation of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization’s military system, and he would go on to be a U.S. Army four-star general before retiring in 1986 and also earn the SigEp Citation.

26 JUN 1997
World War II Veteran and CO Beta Brother Pharmacist Mate First Class Jack Dempsey Paxton, U.S. Navy died on this day in Tulsa, Oklahoma.

Jack was born 12 NOV 1921 in Tulsa. After earning a Master Degree of Psychology he worked as a psychologist for Tulsa Child Guidance and the Peoria Board of Education, Peoria, IL before serving as Director of Special Education for Tulsa Public Schools (1953 – 1973). From 1973 to 1987, he was a Professor of Psychology at Northwestern State University in Alva, OK.

Among his honors and distinctions were Psi Chi President; Sigma Phi Epsilon; Phi Delta Kappa; Kappa Delta Pi; Past President Oklahoma Chapter CEC, Past President of Tulsa Special Education Association. Jack was a licensed psychologist for the state of Illinois and Oklahoma. Other activities included his being a board member of Tulsa Child Guidance Clinic and Family and Childrens Service. In 1993 he retired from Tulsa Public Schools and moved to Collinsville to be near his daughter's family in Owasso.

Respect can be paid to Brother Paxton at the National Memorial Cemetery of the Pacific, Honolulu, Hawaii. He is gone but will never be forgotten.

28 JUN 2007
A 5th generation Richmonder, VA Alpha Brother Major Doctor William Fielding Bryce V, U.S. Air Force died on this day in Richmond, Virginia at the age of 63. William was born in Richmond on 08 APR 1944, and he received his education in Richmond public schools and the University of Richmond, where he double-majored in chemistry and mathematics. In 1970, he received his medical degree from the Medical College of Virginia. He served an internship and residency at Roanoke Memorial Hospital from 1970 to 1972 before serving in the U.S. Air Force, and was stationed at Homestead Air Force Base.

In 1975, Brother Bryce returned to Richmond to begin his family practice. He partially retired in 2002 and began a house call practice and worked small, contract medical services for the Federal Government until 2004. Dr. Bryce was a member of the Richmond Academy of Medicine, the Medical Society of Virginia, AMA, American Academy of Family Physicians, and the Manchester Medical Society of which he served as president.

Respect can be paid to Brother Bryce at Maury Cemetery, Richmond, VA. He is gone but will never be forgotten.

– On 21 JUN 2012, World War II Merchant Marine Veteran, U.S. Army Korean War Veteran and FL Alpha President Grover Eldridge Baker passed away in Florida from Alzheimer’s Disease. Our thoughts and prayers go out to the family, friends and chapter brothers of SigEp Patriot Baker. He is gone but will never be forgotten.

* U.S. Navy Medical SigEps continue to rise to the top! Congratulations to VA Pi Brothers LT Mike Pullen, U.S. Navy and LT Steven Whelpley, U.S. Navy who were recently selected as Intern of the Year, Navy Medical Center (NMC) Portsmouth and Emergency Room Intern of the Year, NMC Portsmouth, respectively.

* 470! With the addition of SigEp Patriot CA Beta Gamma Brother Tim Hissem, Second Lieutenant, U.S. Army the SigEps Who Serve group now numbers 470 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.
* 2500! During the week the archives of SPP now contain the names and information about more than 2,500 SigEp Patriots and the chapter representatives continue to add names. 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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