Monday, September 10, 2012

Last Week in SigEp Patriot History, 03 - 09 SEP


On 05 SEP 1969, the Guardsmen of the 116th Engineer Battalion (Combat) were released from active duty having just returned from their eleven-month tour of service in Vietnam. This marked the sixth time in 70 years that the battalion served on active duty. In fact, the 116th was the only Guard unit, Army or Air, to serve in theater during both the Korean and Vietnam wars.

How many SigEps served with this dedicated group of men? Nobody knows – not yet, for the SigEp Patriots Project (SSP) will continue to work to answer this and other questions pertaining to SigEps who serve, and we hope you can help us. Please write to if you are or know of a brother who served with the 116th.

05 SEP 1919
World War I Veteran and OH Gamma Brother Captain Robert Lester Tavenner, U.S. Army completed his service in Europe with the American Expeditionary Force on this date.

07 SEP 1956
On this date, Korean War Veteran and Ace, SigEp Citation Recipient and IN Alpha Brother Captain Iven Carl "Kinch" Kincheloe, Jr., U.S. Air Force piloted the Bell X-2 research rocket plane more than 2,000mph and to a world's record altitude of 126,200 feet – the first flight ever above 100,000 feet. For this he was nicknamed "America's No. 1 Spaceman" and received the Mackay Trophy the next year.

06 SEP 2003
World War II, Korean War and Vietnam War Veteran, and PA Mu Brother Brigadier General William Robert Sarber, Jr., U.S. Army (Retired) died on this date in a nursing home in Yorktown, Virginia.

Born 21 FEB 1929, in Charleston, West Virginia, Brother Sarber graduated from Temple University with a bachelor's degree in Accounting, and began his 31-year military career in 1946. He also received a master's degree in Banking and Finance from The Wharton School, University of Pennsylvania, and is a graduate of the Armor School, Transportation School, Command and General Staff College, Armed Forces Staff College and the Industrial College of The Armed Forces. General Sarber's commands included the 7th Transportation Group, Fort Eustis, VA; Kaiserslautern Army Depot Complex, U.S. Army, Europe; and Eastern Area, Military Traffic Management Command, Bayonne, NJ.

Respect can be paid to Brother Sarber at Arlington National Cemetery, Arlington, VA. While William is gone, SPP pledges that his life and patriotic service will always be remembered.
06 SEP 2006
On this date, VT Alpha Brother Lieutenant Colonel Edmund Lewis Koehler, U.S. Army / Army Reserve / New Jersey & Vermont Army National Guards (Retired) died in Shelburne, Vermont at the age of 74.

Ed was born in Morristown in 1932. He was a graduate of Boonton High School and Norwich University, where he received his bachelor's degree in business administration. In addition to Sigma Phi Epsilon, while at Norwich, Brother Koehler was a member of the Hockey and Track teams, French Club, Junior Weekend Committee, Outing Club, War Whoop Staff, and Alpha Kappa Psi.

After his commissioning and graduation from Norwich, Ed served in the Army 2nd Armored Division in Germany and Austria. Lieutenant Colonel Koehler completed his Army Reserve career following tours in the New Jersey and Vermont National Guards. His business career began in New Jersey with Standard Oil and continued with Coin Depot Corp. In 1968 he relocated to Vermont and worked with Green Mountain Hardware, and he retired from Brite Technologies in 1997.

SPP can’t tell you where to show your respect to Brother Koehler, but we will continue to answer that question so we can share it with you. While he is gone, SPP pledges that Ed’s life and patriotic service will always be remembered.

06 SEP 2008
World War II Veteran and NY Beta Brother Major Oliver John Foster Jr., U.S. Army Air Forces died peacefully on this date at the Vermont Veterans Home in Bennington, Vermont died at the age of 86.

During WWII Brother Foster served as a P-47 Pilot and a Captain in the 311th Fighter Squadron of the 58th Fighter Group in the South Pacific theatre. He was a recipient of the Distinguished Flying Cross, as well as having been awarded the Air Medal with 3 Oak Leaf Clusters. Upon his return stateside, he received a promotion to Major.

Oliver was born in West Springfield, Massachusetts on 02 DEC 1921, and attended local schools. Oliver studied architecture at Cornell University and practiced in Sweden before returning to the U.S. to pursue his career in West Hartford, CT where he was a partner in the firm of Moore and Salsbury, Architects. The balance of his career was spent in private practice in Maine and Prince Edward Island, Canada. He was a member of the American Institute of Architects.

Respect can be paid to Brother Foster at Section E-50, Site A in the Vermont Veterans Memorial Cemetery, Montpelier, VT. While he may be gone, SPP pledges that Oliver’s life and patriotic service will always be remembered.

08 SEP 2010
On this date, Vietnam War Veteran and ID Alpha Brother First Lieutenant James Walter Swan, U.S. Army died in his cabin in McCall, Idaho with his family by his side at the age of 66.

Jim was born 23 MAY 1944 in Caldwell, Idaho. He grew up in Boise and the Idaho mountains enjoying camping, fishing, skiing and golfing. He graduated from St. Martin's High School in Olympia, Washington in 1962. Jim had an extremely competitive spirit, participating in sports, especially football, ski races, and horse shows. He graduated from Idaho State University with a degree in Business Administration and Marketing. In addition to SigEp, Brother Swan was a member of the ISU ski team.

After graduation, Jim joined the U.S. Army and served as a First Lieutenant in Texas and then in Korea on the DMZ. At that time he was responsible for an orphanage about which he was passionate. He strived every day to ensure the best of care for the children. He returned to Boise to work for his father at the Jess W. Swan Insurance Agency. Jim and a partner purchased the Jess W. Swan agency in 1977, and they enjoyed a great and successful partnership and business for many years. Jim served in several capacities including President of the Idaho Independent Insurance Agents Association, and was also a former Independent Insurance Agent of the Year. He was an enthusiastic supporter of the Big "I" Junior Classic Golf Tournament.

Jim had numerous friends and was loyal regardless of the situation. He was a humble man and a champion of the underdog. He truly listened with interest to others and was a compassionate caring companion. Jim had an iron will. He suffered a number of years with ill health, but never gave up. He was a tough, determined man with a great sense of humor. He entertained family and friends despite his illness to the end.

Brother Swan was laid to rest with military honors at the Idaho State Veterans Cemetery in Boise, and respect can be paid to him there in Section 10, Row P, Site 128. While he is gone, SPP pledges that Jim’s life and patriotic service will always be remembered.

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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