Monday, September 24, 2012

Last Week in SigEp Patriot History, 17 - 23 SEP


In a week that saw the anniversary of the establishment of the Department of Defense and U.S. Air Force, 9/11 and the 34th observance of National POW/MIA Recognition Day, the following words remain true and a concern of the SigEp Patriots Project (SPP) serving to motivate and inspire us every day.

“We who have a deep concern for our Fraternity chapter are vitally conscious of the importance of its history. History is tradition and if we are wise, we seek guidance and discipline in tradition. But we observe sadly that events of importance, here today, have a way of becoming lost very quickly in the dim yesterdays. And if we are to make use of our history we cannot be satisfied to let significant events remain buried.”
~ Brother Pedro Campa, Illinois; from the Sigma Phi Epsilon Journal, Volume 67, Number 4, published May 1970

NH Alpha Brother
James Vincent Forrestal

17 SEP 1947
President Truman selected World War I Veteran and NH Alpha Brother Lieutenant James Vincent Forrestal, U.S. Navy Reserve to be the first secretary of defense and he was sworn in on this date. During the same week three years later, a bronze bust of Brother Forrestal was unveiled at the Mall entrance to the Pentagon (22 SEP 1950).

22 SEP 1995
On this date, AZ Beta Brother (then) Captain Alan Mark “Vodka” Gemmill, U.S. Navy completed his tour as Commanding Officer of the aircraft carrier USS Dwight D. Eisenhower (CVN-69) after serving since 20 MAR 1993.

20 SEP 2008
Operation DESERT STORM Veteran MO Lambda Brother Jay Scott Danner, U.S. Air National Guard (Missouri) died on this date at St. Francis Hospital, Tulsa, Oklahoma at the age of 43.

Scott was born 25 OCT 1964 in Maryville, Missouri, and was a 1984 graduate of Maryville High School. He graduated from Northwest Missouri State University in 1988 with a BS degree in Business Administration. Brother Danner served in the Missouri Air National Guard and was a veteran of Desert Storm. He worked for Philip Morris USA for 19 years and his final job was as a Unit Manager.

Respect can be paid to Brother Danner at Prairie Home Cemetery, Graham, MO. While gone, SPP pledges that Scott and his patriotic service will always be remembered.

19 SEP 2009
U.S. Navy World War II Veteran and CO Delta Brother Theodore “Ted” Louis Goudvis died on this date in Cambridge, Massachusetts. Born in 1918, Ted grew up near New York City. He graduated from Colorado School of Mines with a professional degree in mining engineering.

During World War II Ted was a Navy “Seabee” (Construction Battalion) and served in France and the Philippines. After the war, he and a college friend started a small business in northern Ohio manufacturing concrete products. He visited and fell in love with Aspen, Colo., in the 1960s, and built a house there when he retired in 1980. Ted was an avid hiker, skier and nature lover.

At this time, SPP does not know Ted’s final resting place, but we hope you will write if you have that information. In the meantime, SPP will keep looking, and pledges that Ted and his military service are always remembered.
18 SEP 2010
On this date, U.S. Army Air Corps World War II Veteran CA Beta Brother James Harding Cox James died at the age of 90. He grew up on the Ohio River in Toronto, Ohio in a family that shared a deep appreciation of music. He sang in glee clubs, school operettas and church choirs. Jim served in the US Army Air Corps as a Navigator Bombardier in WWII. He earned a degree in Mathematics and English at USC in 1947, and two years later an MBA from Harvard. He had a 36 year career with Bullocks Dept Stores as buyer, store manager and VP of Stores. Jim always had numerous civic involvements and had 30 years perfect attendance in Rotary. He was past President of the Harvard Club of Orange County. For many happy years he lived in Palos Verdes Estates. He served on the Board of The Chamber Orchestra of the South Bay and the Norris Theater and was editor of numerous bulletins and newsletters.

At this time, SPP is unable to determine where Brother Cox was laid to rest, and if you know we hope you will contact us. Jim is gone, but SPP pledges that his life and patriotic service will always be remembered.

22 SEP 2011

CA Gamma Brother
Kenneth Newton Linder, Sr
World War II Veteran and CA Gamma Brother Captain Kenneth “Lindy” Newton Linder, Sr., U.S. Marine Corps died on this date a year ago in Carpinteria, California. Lindy was born on 31 MAR 1922 in Pasadena, CA. In 1941, he was 19 years old and attending Pasedena Junior Collage taking Aviation Classes when Pearl Harbor was bombed on 07 DEC. Lindy joined the Navy and started with the Naval Aviation Cadet Training Program.

In early 1943, he was commissioned a Second Lieutenant in the Marine Corps, and earned his wings in Corpus Christi, TX before being assigned to the Marine Corps Air Station in Goleta, CA where he joined the reformed VMF-214 “Black Sheep Squadron” which flew the F-4U Corsair. The squadron deployed for the Pacific and the ensuing battle of Okinawa aboard the USS Benjamin Franklin (CV-13), and while aboard her Lindy was given half credit for shooting down a Japanese bomber that struck the ship on 19 March 1944. The bombing and ensuing fires resulted in the death of 772 aboard Franklin including 32 Black Sheep members.

Brother Linder was an early graduate of University of California – Santa Barbara and was the first VP of the CA Gamma chapter at UCSB. He was active for many years with the Elks Club and Kiwanis Club, where he was in charge of the First Feast Pancake Breakfast. He was an avid golfer and belonged to the La Cumbre Golf and Country Club. He and his wife, Mickie, were early members of the Los Fiesteros Dance club. He helped raise the funds to build the YMCA on Hitchcock Avenue. He was a board member and contributed to the Peirre Clayssons Military Museum. After retiring from Dean Witter brokerage firm, he and his wife moved to Arizona. After 10 years they returned to Carpinteria.

SPP has been unable to determine where Brother Linder was laid to rest, and we welcome any information about where to show our respect. While he is gone, we vow to forge on, learning more about Ken, and pledging that his patriotic service will always be remembered.

22 SEP 2011
On the same date, U.S. Army World War II Veteran, Army Infantry Officer Candidate Hall of Fame Member, Kansas State Senator and KS Beta Brother Merrill H. Werts, 88, died in Junction City, Kansas.

Merrill was born 17 NOV 1922, and raised on a farm near Smith Center, Kansas. Brother Werts' college career was interrupted by his service with the U.S. Army, from June 1943 to March 1946, with the 271st Infantry, 69th Division. He received the Combat Infantry Badge, the Bronze Star, and a Purple Heart after losing a leg in Germany.

After the war, he returned to Kansas State, served as senior class president and earned a bachelor's degree. The G.I. Bill made it possible for him to attend Cornell University, where he earned a master's degree in agricultural economics in 1948.

After graduation, he began his business career in Topeka, Kansas, finding a mentor in Lou Falley in retail and banking; this led to his appointment in 1958 as vice president of the Southwest State Bank, the first suburban bank in Topeka. In 1965, he became president of the First National Bank in Junction City, and was later one of the principals in chartering a new affiliate bank, the Fort Riley National Bank. He left the First National Bank in 1977. After beginning a new business as a management consultant, he was elected to the Kansas State Senate, where he was assiduous in his service to the communities of Junction City, Fort Riley, and Manhattan for ten years. Brother Werts was a member of Rotary, where he served as a district governor of District, and received the Paul Harris Fellow Special Honor. He was very active in civic affairs, including the Geary Community Health Care Foundation, the Kansas Commission of Veteran Affairs, the Geary County Public Building Commission, and the Chamber of Commerce. He and Dorothy were both enthusiastic supporters of the Junction City Little Theater, as actors and board members, and they enthusiastically supported the effort to restore the Colonial Theatre, now the C.L. Hoover Opera House.

He was inducted into the Army Infantry Officer Candidate Hall of Fame at Fort Benning and served as the Civilian Aide to the Secretary of the Army for Kansas, 1991-1995. He was a life member of the American Legion, the Veterans of Foreign Wars, and the Disabled American Veterans.

Brother Werts' remains were cremated. SPP pledges that Merrill and his patriotic service will always be remembered.

* Welcome home to Operation ENDURING FREEDOM Veteran and AL Theta Brother Lieutenant Colonel Jason Czar, U.S. Army who returned earlier this month!
* AL Theta Brother Private Daniel Gilbert, U.S. Army National Guard (Alabama) completed one station unit training, which includes basic training and advanced infantry training. Congratulations Brother!

It took a lot of hard work and grassroot efforts from many people, but SPP reached a number of milestones this week.
* SPP is very pleased to welcome five SigEp Patriots to SigEps Who Serve – the official Facebook group of the SigEp Patriots Project. This brings the number of brothers in the group to over 500! We are honored to count among us ROTC cadets CA Eta Brother Andrew Yacovone and WI Zeta Brother Michael Ploetz; fellow GA Epsilon Patriots and Operation ENDURING FREEDOM veterans Captain Tripp Bishop, U.S. Marine Corps and Captain Mike Douglas, U.S. Army, as well as AL Theta Brother Private Daniel Gilbert, U.S. Army National Guard (Alabama). If you are a military brother please go to All we ask is your military affiliation, military status, and home chapter. Also, please help SPP find our fellow SigEp Patriots by sending them the link.
* Not on Facebook? No problem. We hope all SigEp Patriots will request to be added to the SPP listserve and join over 100 brothers using that method to stay connected.
* With an increase in information about brothers who have been awarded the Navy Cross, Silver Star, gone missing or been killed in action, the SPP archives now number more than 620 pages.
* The last week has been quite productive, and we now have the names, birth dates, ranks, as well as other data and accomplishments of over 2,800 SigEp Patriots! Thanks to all who have made contributions this week.

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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