Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Last Week in SigEp Patriot History, 03 – 09 JUN

“He that outlives the day, and comes home safe…will yearly on the vigil, feast his friends…he’ll remember, what feats they did that day.” ~ William Shakespeare, Henry V


Last week marked the 71st anniversary of the Battle of Midway – the turning point of the Pacific Campaign during WWII, and one of our brothers was in the middle of it. You can read more about IL Alpha Brother Joseph M. Hissem and other amazing SigEp Patriots in this edition of “This Week.”

04 JUN 1942
Two SigEp Patriot military pilots were killed on this date while engaging the Japanese Imperial Navy.

IL Alpha Brother
Joseph M. Hissem, USNR

World War II Veteran and IL Alpha Brother Ensign Joseph Metcalf Hissem, U.S. Navy Reserve made the ultimate sacrifice during the Battle of Midway, and was later declared killed in action / buried at sea. Brother Hissem is the only SigEp Patriot known to be awarded the Navy Cross – second only to the Medal of Honor. His award citation reads:

“The Navy Cross is presented to Joseph Metcalf Hissem, Ensign, U.S. Navy (Reserve), for extraordinary heroism and distinguished service beyond the call of duty as a Radioman/Bombardier of Torpedo Squadron EIGHT (VT-8) embarked from Naval Air Station Midway during the "Air Battle of Midway", against enemy Japanese forces on 04 and 05 JUN 1942. In the first attack against an enemy carrier of the Japanese invasion fleet, Ensign Hissem pressed home his attack in the face of withering fire from enemy Japanese fighters and anti-aircraft forces. Because of events attendant upon the Battle of Midway, there can be no doubt that he gallantly gave up his life in the service of his country. His courage and utter disregard for his own personal safety were in keeping with the highest traditions of the United States Naval Service.”

Brother Hissem is the only SigEp Patriot known to have been awarded the Navy Cross.

Brother Hissem graduated from the Applied Life Studies College at the University of Illinois – Urbana in 1939, and enlisted in the Navy Reserve 09 JAN 1941. Days before the Battle of Midway, Joseph was stationed at Pearl Harbor, Hawaii when he volunteered to ferry aircraft to the remote naval air station at Midway. His commitment to service put him in a position to be involved with what would become the turning point of the war in the Pacific.

A ship was subsequently named in honor of Joseph. The ship, USS Hissem (DE-400), was a destroyer escort of the Edsall Class launched by Brown Shipbuilding Co., Houston, TX, and commissioned on 13 JAN 1944. Hissem received one battle star for World War II service. After decommissioning, the ship's bell was presented to the city of Mt Carroll, Illinois.

In Rockford, Illinois the American Legion post 193 is named the Fickbo-Hissem Post.

Brother Hissem is memorialized at Honolulu Memorial Cemetery, Honolulu, Hawaii, and at a tombstone in Greenwood Cemetery, West Galena, Illinois next to those for his parents.

On the same date, during the Battle of Dutch Harbor in the Aleutian Islands, World War II Veteran and KS Beta Brother Captain George Wayne Thornbrough, U.S. Army Air Forces made the ultimate sacrifice while piloting a B-26 Marauder. During the battle, Brother Thornbrough flew bravely attacking a Japanese aircraft carrier that was launching strike aircraft at Dutch Harbor. Although his torpedo struck the carrier, it failed to explode. He returned to his airfield to refuel and rearm and then took off to rejoin the fight. His aircraft and entire crew were lost during their return from this mission, when they were unable to land at Cold Bay. The wreckage of Captain Thornbrough's aircraft was found 50 miles from Cold Bay on the north side of the Alaska Peninsula the following month.

While the exact citation of General Order Number 67 (1942), Headquarters, Alaska Defense Command is unavailable, the following is a synopsis of that order, “Captain (Air Corps) George W. Thornbrough, United States Army Air Forces, was awarded the Distinguished Service Cross (Posthumously) for extraordinary heroism in connection with military operations against an armed enemy while serving as Pilot of a B-26 Medium Bomber in the 73rd Bombardment Squadron, 28th Bombardment Group (C), ELEVENTH Air Force, while participating in an air mission on 4 June 1942, against enemy targets in the Territory of Alaska. The personal courage and zealous devotion to duty displayed by Captain Thornbrough on this occasion have upheld the highest traditions of the military service and reflect great credit upon himself, the 11th Air Force, and the United States Army Air Forces.”

George and his unit flew from Fort Randall Army Airfield which was renamed Thornbrough Air Force Base in 1948.

Brother Thornbrough is remembered with a headstone at Lot 3, Block 43, Section 4, Lakin Cemetery, Lakin, Kansas.

03 JUN 1967
Vietnam Veteran and PA Iota President Second Lieutenant Charles Joseph Schultz, U.S. Marine Corps made the ultimate sacrifice on this date. On 02 JUN, during Operation UNION II in the Que Son Valley, the Marines found the enemy entrenched in and around the Vinh Huy village complex. Heavy fighting on the 2nd and 3rd cost 67 American lives as the 2nd Battalion, 5th Marines, 1st Marines and elements of two other Marine battalions took on and decisively defeated the 3rd NVA Regiment. The 2/5 Marines lost 32 men over the two day period including Brother Schultz.

Born in 1944, Charles graduated from Metuchen High School in 1962 with aspiration for a career in medicine. During his senior year at Muhlenberg College, he was president of the PA Iota, and is remembered by his chapter brothers as “full of character and leadership” and “the optimism and patriotism we all had in the early 60s.”

He is remembered through the Richard Herold-Charles Schultz Scholarship Fund which carries his legacy through his name and that of a fellow young Vietnam War veteran from Metuchen High School, Metuchen, NJ. Send contributions to: Herold-Schultz Scholarship Fund, c/o Jackie Owen, 1612 Mountain Top Road, Bridgewater, NJ 08807.

Charles is honored at the Veterans Memorial Park in Metuchen, and on Panel 21E, Row 52 of the Vietnam Veterans Memorial – The Wall – in Washington, DC.

Respect can be paid to Brother Schultz at Hillside Cemetery in Metuchen.

06 JUN 1969
On this date, Vietnam War Veteran and WA Beta Brother First Lieutenant Michael Stuart LaFromboise, U.S. Marine Corps Reserve made the ultimate sacrifice on this date during action in Quang Tri, South Vietnam on the 366th day of his tour. Brother LaFromboise was an Artillery Officer attached to Headquarters Battery, 12th Marines, 3rd Marine Division, III Marine Amphibious Force. He was 26 years old.

Michael was a member of Company N, Officer Basic Class 6-67 that graduated on 01 NOV 1967.

Brother LaFromboise was a rower at the University of Washington and he is remembered through an endowment there, as well as with an annual memorial scholarship through the Marine Corps Scholarship Foundation.

Michael is honored on Panel 23 West, Line 88 of the Vietnam War Memorial – The Wall. 

Respect can be paid to Brother LaFromboise at Evergreen Washelli Memorial Park and Funeral Home in Seattle, WA.

07 JUN 1970
IL Delta brothers Ted LaBedz and Bill Ward were commissioned as second lieutenants in the Air Force on this date.

08 JUN 1970
On this date, IL Beta Brother Stephen Downs was commissioned a second lieutenant in the Air Force, and IL Beta Brother Robert Henderson was commissioned an Army second lieutenant.

09 JUN 1983
On this date, U.S. Marine Corps World War I Veteran, Governor (Virginia), U.S. Congressman and VA Zeta Brother William Munford Tuck died in South Boston, Virginia. Bill was born in 1896 near High Hill, Virginia. He left the College of William & Mary for two years, and following a year as a principal-teacher, he served in the U.S. Marine Corps in World War I. Following his discharge, Bill entered the law school of Washington and Lee University, and after graduating in 1921 was admitted to the Virginia Bar the same year before commencing his practice in South Boston, VA.

In 1923, at age 27, he entered the political arena by running for a seat in the House of Delegates, and starting a successful career of service to the citizens of Virginia. Brother Tuck served in that capacity from 1924-32, the Virginia State Senate (1932-42), as Lieutenant Governor of Virginia (1942-46), Governor of Virginia (1946-50), delegate to Democratic National Convention from Virginia (1948 & 1952), and as Chairman of the Virginia State Democratic Central Committee in 1952 before being elected to the Eighty-Third U.S. Congress and the seven succeeding Congresses serving as the U.S. Congressman, Virginia 5th District (1953-69).

His memberships include the American Bar Association, Sons of the American Revolution, Omicron Delta Kappa, American Legion and Freemasons.

William M. Tuck Airport in South Boston is named in his honor.

Respect can be paid to Brother Tuck at Oak Ridge Cemetery in South Boston.

10 JUN 2004
U.S. Army Korean War Veteran and NC Delta Brother Nathaniel Sullivan Crews died unexpectedly on this date in Danville, Virginia at the age of 67. During the Korean War, he served in the U.S. Army, special services division.

Brother Crews earned a B.S. degree from The University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill. He was a long-standing member of the First Presbyterian Church of Danville, where he served as a deacon, elder, trustee, and chairman of the Mission Committee. He was with J.C. Bradford for 20 years and retired from Legg Mason in 2003.
Respect can be paid to Brother Crews at Mountain View Cemetery in Danville.

05 JUN 2005
Korean & Vietnam War Veteran and KY Beta Brother Colonel Richard Lawrence “Larry” Mehr, U.S. Air Force (Retired) died on this date at his home in Rockford, IL. Many of Larry’s fellow pilots knew him for a complex and daring rescue operation he directed the summer of 1967 in Southeast Asia for which he was awarded the Air Force Cross – second only to the Medal of Honor.

Department of the Air Force, Special Order GB-293 (11 AUG 1967) reads, “The President of the United States of America, authorized by Title 10, Section 8742, United States Code, takes pleasure in presenting the Air Force Cross to Major Richard Lawrence Mehr, United States Air Force, for extraordinary heroism in military operations against an opposing armed force while serving as an A-1E Pilot in the 602d Tactical Fighter Squadron (Commando), Udorn Royal Thai Air Base, Thailand, in action in Southeast Asia on 02 and 03 JUL 1967. On 02 JUL, Major Mehr flew through intense hostile fire to provide cover for an F-105 pilot downed in a heavily defended area of North Vietnam. With the onset of darkness and diminishing fuel, Major Mehr returned to base for minimum rest. He volunteered to continue rescue operations that were set up for the next day and took off at first light. Amidst MiG fighters, deadly missiles, anti-aircraft fire, and hostile small arms fire, he located the downed pilot. Braving this deadly arsenal that damaged his aircraft, he continued to direct air strikes against the hostile positions and thereby protected the downed pilot and permitted a helicopter to rescue the pilot from the area. Through his extraordinary heroism, superb airmanship, and aggressiveness in the face of hostile forces, Major Mehr reflected the highest credit upon himself and the United States Air Force.”

A member of the Air Force ROTC at University of Louisville, he began his active duty in July 1952. Trained as a supply officer, he served as such with the 67th Fighter-Bomber Squadron in Korea from JAN 1953 – JAN 1954. He began pilot training in JUN of that year, and received his pilot wings at Webb AFG in JUN 1955. In addition to his accomplishments in combat, Brother Mehr completed a Master of Science degree and a doctorate in business and finance, both from George Washington University, and graduated from the U.S. Naval War College. He retired from the Air Force in 1972.

His awards include the Air Force Cross, Silver Star, Legion of Merit, and the Distinguished Flying Cross (with “V” and two oak leaf clusters), Meritorious Service Medal, 22 Air Medals, Air Force Commendation Medal (with one oak leaf cluster), and National Defense Service Medal (two awards).

Respect can paid to Brother Mehr at Section 68, Site 3411 at Arlington National Cemetery, Arlington, VA.

04 JUN 2008
U.S. Veteran and NY Beta Brother James Greene of Auburn, NY, and Fripp Island, SC, passed away on this date. Brother Greene was Vice President of Greene Air Control, and prior to that the experimental design engineer with Auburn Spark Plug. He was also active in civic and community affairs.

Respect can be paid to Brother Greene at Saint Josephs Catholic Cemetery, Auburn, NY.

05 JUN 2009
Vietnam War Veteran and VT Alpha Brother Lieutenant Colonel Richard E. Munsell, U.S. Army / Vermont Army National Guard (Retired) died on this date. 

Brother Munsell graduated from Norwich in 1954, where in addition to SigEp he was on the football team, and a member of Drill Team, Newman Club, and Varsity Club. Upon graduation he was commissioned a second lieutenant in the U.S. Army where he served as an armor officer for 21 years. Brother Munsell retired as a lieutenant colonel and the senior Army advisor to the Vermont National Guard. A combat veteran of two tours of duty in Vietnam, he was the recipient of numerous medals and awards, including a Bronze Star Medal (two oak leaf clusters), the Meritorious Service Medal, the Air Medal (one oak leaf cluster), the Vietnam Cross of Gallantry w/Palm (2nd Award), the Combat Infantry Badge, and the Vietnam Cross of Gallantry with Gold Star.

Following his retirement, he was the owner and operator of the Village Cobbler in Essex Junction and of DePaul's Shoe Store in Winooski. Dick was a member of St. Lawrence Parish, the VFW Post 6689 in Essex Junction, the Vermont State Guard, and was very active in, and passionate about, the Lions Club of Essex Junction where he was past president of that club and past district governor for the State of Vermont. In addition, he put his efforts into the Veteran's Memorial Fountain at the Five Corners in Essex Junction by designing the initial plans for the memorial.

03 JUN 2010
Operations IRAQI FREEDOM and ENDURING FREEDOM Veteran, UT Beta Brother and MT Alpha President Lieutenant Colonel David Yockey, U.S. Air Force (Retired) died on this date. During his 20 years in the Air Force, Brother Yockey’s service included Officers’ Candidate School at Lackland AFB, San Antonio, Texas; Officer-in-Charge, Norton AFB, California; completing a master’s degree at the Air Force Institute of Technology; Logistics Support Manager, C-17 System Program Office, Wright-Patterson AFB, Ohio; Squadron Maintenance Officer and Director of Operations, Rota, Spain; at Scott AFB he was the C-17 Weapon System Manager, and later become the Executive Officer, Directorate of Logistics, HQ Air Mobility Command.

During this combat assignment, Brother Yockey deployed to the Middle East as Deputy Director of Logistics, Air Force Forward, in support of Operations IRAQI and ENDURING FREEDOM and Combined Joint Task Force Horn of Africa. After his deployment he became the military deputy, hand-picked by the wing commander to initiate aerospace maintenance throughout an 8,500-person wing.

Prior to graduating from high school in Utah, Senator Orrin Hatch nominated Dave to the U.S. Military Academy at West Point, and Representative Howard Nielson nominated him to the United States Air Force Academy and the U.S. Military Academy.

Instead, he spent his freshman year in college at Utah State University, where he pledged Sigma Phi Epsilon and was selected as a member of the President’s Leadership Council. After his freshman year his family moved to Hamilton, Montana, and Dave transferred to University of Montana to complete his B.S. in business administration.

At UM, Brother Yockey held the office of president of the MT Alpha Chapter, and was one of three students in the United States to be elected to hold a position on SigEp’s national board of directors. He was also a Montana University Peer Advisor and was invited to membership in Silent Sentinel, the only honor society selecting from the university at large.

His awards and decorations include the Meritorious Service Medal, (two oak leaf clusters), Air Force Commendation Medal (two oak leaf clusters), Air Force Achievement Medal, National Defense Service Medal (two awarded), Global War on Terrorism Expeditionary Medal and Global War on Terrorism Service Medal.

06 JUN 2010
U.S. Marine Corps Veteran and DE Alpha Brother James Robert McCarthy died on this date in Hoover, Alabama at the age of 81. After graduating from high school, James served four years in the Marine Corps before attending the University of Delaware and receiving a degree in Mechanical Engineering.

Brother McCarthy joined United States Steel Corporation after graduating from the advanced management program at Harvard, accepting many moves and promotions in his 31 year career. He moved to Birmingham, Alabama after working in the company's home office in Pittsburgh, and retired there as General Manager Sales, Southern Division, in 1986. He was involved with many business and civic groups throughout his career and was an active member of New Horizons and Friends of Hoover.

07 JUN 2010
Korean War Veteran and NE Beta Brother First Lieutenant Paul Edgar Fesler, U.S. Air Force died on this date in Omaha, Nebraska at the age of 77. Respect can be paid to Paul at Westlawn-Hillcrest Cemetery in Omaha.

08 JUN 2010
OH Nu Brother Lieutenant Commander David Lee Balint, U.S. Navy (Retired) died on this date in Ft. Wayne, Indiana. David is the former Director, Field Liaison Office, Navy International Logistics Control Office, Philadelphia, PA. Prior to that assignment, he held a variety of acquisition management positions.

He earned his bachelor’s degree from Cleveland State University, an MBA from Temple University, and is a 1982 graduate of the Navy War College.

Following his service the Navy Supply Corps, Brother Balint began a career that included time with Teledyne Corporation, Boeing Aircraft and most recently with ITT Corporation. At Boeing he had company-wide responsibilities for coordinating export compliance activities internally, as well as with supporting industry, cognizant U.S. government agencies, foreign governments, and other participating foreign entities.

Brother Balint is a former President of the New Jersey Epsilon Alumni Volunteer Corporation at Glassboro State College, and was a member of the Board of Governors of the Sigma Phi Epsilon Educational Foundation. He also served as Chairman of the Huntsville [Alabama] Corporate Volunteer Council, and as a member of the Board of Directors of the Volunteer Center of Huntsville and Madison County and the Family Services Center of Huntsville.

The David L. Balint Alumni Office at Cleveland State was named in his honor.

10 JUN 2010
TX Beta Brother Lieutenant Commander Raymond Kendel Banks, U.S. Navy died on this date in Tyler, Texas. He was born in 1933 in Little Elm, Texas, and attended North Texas University on a basketball scholarship. After graduation, he joined the Navy and had an outstanding career as a carrier pilot. After an honorable discharge, he began a long career as a pilot for Central Airlines and Frontier Airlines, later retiring from Continental Airlines.

10 JUN 2011
Korean War Veteran, Vietnam War Veteran and KY Alpha President Colonel John Mason Taylor, U.S. Army (Retired) – community leader, scientist, and longtime Greenbelt, Maryland resident died on this date at 79 years old. Before graduating, he joined the Army, and after serving in Korea he joined the reserves and moved his family to Maryland.

While a Plant Pathologist at the USDA in Beltsville he worked on his Doctorate at the University of Maryland. In Greenbelt he committed years of service to the community. He was a board member, Scoutmaster of Troop 202, travel chairman for the Golden Age Club and President of Greenbelt GIVES. He helped run the church food pantry until advancing Alzheimer's made it impractical to continue.

Brother Taylor was laid to rest with full military honors, and respect can be paid to him at Section 55, Site 2664, Arlington National Cemetery, Arlington, Virginia.

03 JUN 2012
U.S. Navy World War II and Korean War Veteran CA Beta Brother Lee Dale Heitzig died unexpectedly on this date. Born in 1926 in Fresno in 1926, he lived there his entire life except for two tours in the Navy during WWII and Korea.

Lee's 65 years in the tire business began as a teen working in the family business of Heitzig and Shirkey and later for Schoettler Tire. While at the University of Southern California he became a member of Sigma Phi Epsilon, but the school of his heart was Roosevelt High School where he played football and ran track. He was very proud of winning a 1st place medal in hurdles at the 1944 West Coast Relays.

Remembrances may be made to Alzheimer's & Memory Center, 313 N. Hillard Lane, Fresno, CA 93726; or AA Serenity Retreat, c/o Bill Hamilton, 176 Anderson Avenue, Clovis, CA 93612.

Respect can be paid to Brother Heitzig at Clovis Cemetery in Clovis.

* 30 MAY – U.S. Air Force Veteran and PA Gamma Brother Nicolas Lee “Nick” Goodman passed away suddenly in Rowlett, Texas.
* 06 JUN – World War II Veteran and NC Delta Brother Dr. Wardell “Ward” Hardee Mills passed away at Well Spring Retirement Community in Greensboro, North Carolina. In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions may be made to Guilford Park Presbyterian Church, 2100 Fernwood Drive, Greensboro, NC 27408. U.S. Navy World War II Veteran and TX Upsilon Brother John E. Fahrlander, 87 of Prairie Village, Kansas passed away peacefully at Lakeview Village in Lenexa, Kansas. In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions may be made to the Alzheimer's Association.

Our thoughts and prayers go out to the chapter brothers, family, and friends of Nick, Ward and John.

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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