Sunday, January 26, 2014

Last Week in SigEp Patriot History, Volume 3/14, 13 – 19 JAN

18 JAN 1910
On this date, after graduating from Norwich University, VT Alpha Brother Guy I. Rowe was commissioned a second lieutenant in the U.S. Army. He would go on to serve in World War I & II, and retire as a Brigadier General.

16 JAN 1918
This is an important day for VA Theta Brother Leonard T. Gerow. On this date, (then) Colonel Gerow, U.S. Army / American Expeditionary Force (AEF) began his two-and-a-half year service in France on the staff of the U.S. Signal Corps. Brother Gerow was responsible for purchasing all the radio equipment for the AEF. Among his awards for service during WWI are the Distinguished Service Medal and French Legion of Honor.

16 JAN 1936
WWI Veteran
and NY Beta Brother
On this date, U.S. Army Air Service World War I Veteran and Ace, Founder of the Alabama Air National Guard and NY Beta Brother Major James “Jimmy” A. Meissner, U.S. Air National Guard (Alabama) died in Birmingham, Alabama as a result of pneumonia. Of the five U.S. Army SigEp Patriots to be awarded the Distinguished Service Cross (DSC) – in the U.S. Army second only to the Congressional Medal of Honor – Jimmy is the only brother known to the SigEp Patriots Project (SPP) to have been awarded the DSC twice.


An undergraduate at Cornell University in 1917, Brother Meissner dropped out of school to join the Air Service as an enlisted man. He was quickly recognized for his abilities, and was assigned to pilot training. By MAR, he was assigned to the 94th Aero Squadron in France, and was credited with four confirmed victories while flying a Nieuport 28. By July, recognizing his leadership abilities, Brother Meissner was assigned as Commander, 147th Aero Squadron, and scored four more victories.


After completing his service in Europe, Jimmy returned to Cornell graduating in 1919, and soon after that took a job in Birmingham, AL. He remained interested in flying, and formed a flying club of friends primarily comprised of former Army Air Service combat pilots.


Always the leader, Brother Meissner saw the need for an organized, official aviation squadron in Alabama to train Army aviators, and he finally overcame all of the setbacks on 21 JAN 1922, when officials in the War Department organized the 125th Observation Squadron, and allotted it to the state of Alabama.  Placing the unit under the command of Major James Meissner, the new observation squadron became the very first Air National Guard Unit in the state of Alabama and only the seventh such unit in the United States.


Upon his death, the city held a memorial service including a flyover by the planes of the unit he had founded. Additionally, his old friend and brother in arms, Eddie Rickenbacker – the premier American Ace of WWI, returned to Birmingham to be an honorary pall-bearer for his old wingman. Four months later, the Jimmy’s ashes were buried with full military honors in Arlington National Cemetery in Arlington, Virginia.

Respect can be paid to Brother Meissner at Arlington in Section 2, Site 4791.

15 JAN 1941
PA Eta Brother John A. Standen, Jr. joined the U. S. Army on this date.

15 JAN 1942
On this date, Ohio Alpha Brother Wilbur C. Cotner joined the U.S. Army Air Forces.

16 JAN 1942
IN Alpha Brother Stuart R. Thomson entered in to service in the U.S. Navy on this date.

14 JAN 1943
On this date, World War I Veteran and IA Beta Founding Father Second Lieutenant Bourke Blakemore Hickenlooper, U.S. Army began what would be two years of service as governor of Iowa.

USS Hissem (DE-400)
13 JAN 1944
A ship named in honor of World War II Veteran and IN Alpha Brother Ensign Joseph M. Hissem, U.S. Navy Reserve – killed in action while flying a fighter plane attacking the Japanese Imperial Fleet at the Battle of Midway – was commissioned on this date, Lieutenant Commander W. W. Low in command. The ship, USS Hissem, was a Destroyer Escort of the EDSALL class, with the designation DE-400. It was launched by Brown Shipbuilding Company, Houston, TX, and sponsored by Miss Elizabeth D. Hissem, Joseph’s sister. Hissem received one battle star for World War II service.

14 JAN 1944
VT Beta Brother Charles O. Wagenhale joined the U.S. Army Medical Corps on this date.

19 JAN 1944
NY Beta Brother John S. McGowin joined the U.S. Navy Reserve.

103rd Infantry Division
15 JAN 1945
World War II Veteran and WV Beta Brother (then) Major General Anthony Clement "Nuts" McAuliffe, U.S. Army was redeployed from his service at the Battle of the Bulge and took command of the 103rd Infantry Division on this date. Before he relinquished command six months later, McAuliffe would lead the 103rd through the defenses of the Siegfried Line, take Munsingen, liberate the Kaufering concentration camp – a sub-camp of Dachau near Landsberg, cross the Danube River capturing Innsbruck, Austria with little to no fighting, and following Victory in Europe Day (V-E Day) he led the division in their new role as an occupational force.

16 JAN 1945
On this date, World War II Veteran and VA Alpha Brother First Lieutenant John Beverley Blanton, Jr., U.S. Army made the ultimate sacrifice while serving with the 193rd Glider Infantry Regiment, 17th Airborne Division.

Born in Richmond in 1918, John was a member of the Corps of Cadets while attending John Marshall High School. The John Marshall Corps of Cadets Memorial Foundation memorialized Brother Blanton and other members of the Corps who gave their lives in the Armed Services in World Wars I and II at Hollywood Cemetery in Richmond with plaques and flagpoles.

Respect can also be paid to Brother Blanton at Plot C, Section 2, Lot 11 of Oakwood Cemetery, Richmond, VA.

Fifteenth U.S. Army
(1944-46)
On the same date, World War I & World War II D-Day Veteran and VA Theta Brother (now) Major General Leonard T. Gerow, U.S. Army began his service as Commanding Officer, U.S. Army Fifteenth Army. Included under his command was John Eisenhower, son of General Dwight D. Eisenhower. Brother Gerow remained in command of the Fifteenth Army until he was succeeded by General George S. Patton in OCT 1945.

19 JAN 1945
World War II Veteran and NH Alpha Brother Private First Class Frederick A. Tilton, U.S. Marine Corps was discharged on this date.

15 JAN 1946
After more than five years of service, World War II Veteran and New York Alpha Brother Major Stanley A. Evans, U.S. Army was returned to inactive duty. Brother Evans entered the service in 1940 and was a military policeman.

On the same date, World War II Veteran and NY Gamma Brother Major W. R. Spencer, Jr., U.S. Army was released from active duty. Brother Spencer served overseas for 14 months with the infantry.

16 JAN 1946
U.S. Marine Corps World War I Veteran and VA Zeta Brother William Munford Tuck began his service as the 55th governor of Virginia.

17 JAN 1946
After more than six years of service, World War II Veteran and IN Alpha Brother Lieutenant Colonel Robert N. Voigt, U.S. Army was discharged on this date.

CA Delta Brother
1LT Stephen Joyner, USMC
07 – 15 JAN 1968
During this week, the actions of Vietnam War Veteran and CA Delta Brother First Lieutenant Stephen Douglass Joyner, U.S. Marine Corps saved the lives of seven wounded Marines, while he served as a platoon leader during combat operations near the hills overlooking the Khe Sanh combat base. For his valorous service, paperwork was submitted for the awarding of a Bronze Star Medal with combat “V”, however Brother Joyner was killed in action before it could be awarded.   Instead, the medal was awarded posthumously, and presented to his mother during a ceremony in NOV 1968.

OH Kappa Brother
1LT Paul Strahm, USAF
KIA South Vietnam 14 JAN 1968
14 JAN 1968
On this date, Vietnam War Veteran and OH Kappa Brother First Lieutenant Paul “Doug” Douglas Strahm, U.S. Air Force made the ultimate sacrifice in Bien Hoa, South Vietnam. His awards include the Purple Heart, Air Medal, National Defense Service Medal and Vietnam Service Medal. Brother Strahm is honored and memorialized on Panel 34E, Line 50 of the Vietnam Veteran's Memorial Wall – The Wall – on the north side of the National Mall in Washington, DC.

Respect can be paid to Brother Strahm at Ottawa Hills Memorial Park, Ottawa Hills, OH.

18 JAN 1969
World War I and World War II Veteran, Oklahoma Supreme Court Chief Justice and VA Epsilon Brother Colonel Charles W. Mason, U.S. Army died on this date. He was 81 years old. During WWI, Brother Mason served as a captain in the U.S. Army Air Service as a balloon pilot, and as a command pilot with the Air Corps during WWII.

Brother Mason graduated from Washington and Lee in 1911, serving as the Nowata County Attorney from 1914-16, and after his service in World War I he was elected district judge of Oklahoma’s 2nd District in 1919. Charles served as a district judge until he was elected to the Oklahoma State Supreme Court where he served, including two years as Chief Justice of the court from 1929-31.

Respect can be paid to Brother Mason at Nowata Memorial Cemetery, Nowata, Oklahoma.

16 JAN 1970
Vietnam War Veteran and CO Delta Brother Specialist 5 Larry L. Orvis, U.S. Army died on this date. Larry entered the Army in 1966, and served 18 months in Vietnam.

Respect can be paid to Brother Orivs at Section K, Site 937 of Rock Island National Cemetery, Rock Island, Illinois.

14 JAN 1976
World War I Veteran, Virginia State Representative and VA Epsilon Brother Second Lieutenant Cralle Fauntleroy Blackwell, U.S. Army died on this date. Brother Blackwell graduated from Washington and Lee in 1918, and served with the U.S. Army Coastal Artillery during WWI.

In 1924, Cralle began his 14 years of service as mayor of Kenbridge, VA before being elected to the Virginia State House of Delegates, where he served until 1949.

Respect can be paid to Brother Blackwell at Kenbridge Heights Cemetery, Kenbridge, VA.

19 JAN 2004
U.S. Army World War II Veteran and VA Alpha Brother Willie Elwood Cross died on this date. He was a veteran of the U.S. Army's Ninth Infantry Division in WWII, and saw action in the Ardennes Forest Campaign during the Battle of the Bulge. In the Rhineland Campaign, he was in the first Allied infantry division across the Rhine River at the Remagen Bridge Battle, for which he received the Bronze Star Medal. Willie also served in Headquarters, United States Strategic Bombing Survey Group Air Command in London, England for six months after V-E Day before being discharged.

Willie served 16 years as a building official for the City of Richmond. Prior to working with the city, he was president and part owner of W.L. Cross & Son, Inc., a masonry contracting company. He was a past president of the Mason Contractors Association of Richmond, a 45-year member of the Tuckahoe Lions Club, a member of the American Legion Post 361 and the Disabled American Veterans.

Respect can be paid to Brother Cross at Greenwood Memorial Gardens, Richmond, VA.

14 JAN 2007
A 1984 graduate of Georgia Tech, GA Alpha Brother First Lieutenant William “Bill” Cheih-Ve Soong, U.S. Air Force died on this date.

Respect can be paid to Brother Soong in Section 8-O, Row 1, Site 5 at Arlington National Cemetery, Arlington, VA.

16 JAN 2007
World War II Veteran and NY Beta Brother Major James R. Knipe, Sr., U.S. Army Air Forces died on this date in Lower Gwynedd, Pennsylvania. A 1931 graduate of Cornell, James was a hotelier and active in the community and alumni affairs.

Respect can be paid to Brother Knipe at Riverside Cemetery in Norristown, PA.

17 JAN 2012
U.S. Army World War II Veteran NC Delta Brother Phillip Adger Williams, 81, died on this date in Hilton Head, South Carolina. Following high school, Phillip joined the Merchant Marines and then served in the Army during WWII. Following his WWII service, Brother Williams graduated from the University of North Carolina in 1951 where he graduated Phi Beta Kappa. He worked his way through the ranks of the Travelers Insurance Company, retiring as senior vice president. He also served as president of the American Academy of Actuaries.

On the same date, CA Sigma Brother Mark Gelverio Dalmacio raised his hand, took the oath and joined the U.S. Navy!

19 JAN 2012
OH Eta Brother James Francis Gullo, 65, died at his home on this date. Little is known by SPP about Brother Gullo except that during his time at Miami University of Ohio, he was a member of SigEp and ROTC. James was a longtime contractor for the Canton Repository and was known for his strong work ethic and dedication.

RECENT LOSSES TO THE ROLL
* U.S. Navy Veteran MA Delta Brother Emil L. Bernier passed away 15 JAN at Salem Hospital in Massachusetts. Life member of VFW Post #2005 Chaplain Lyman Rollins.
* Korean War Veteran and NY Delta Brother Specialist 4th Class James H. "Jim" Menk, U.S. Army, 82, passed away peacefully on the morning of 16 JAN. From 1954 to 1956, Jim served in Korea overseeing firearm stores and radar installations in the DMZ.
* In Bluffton, South Carolina, U.S Navy World War II Veteran PA Delta Warren S. Bell, 93, also passed away 16 JAN. Warren graduated from the University of Pennsylvania Wharton School of Business, the U.S. Merchant Marine Academy, and Albany Military Academy in Albany, NY and served in the Pacific during WWII.
* U.S. Army Veteran IN Alpha Brother James J. Portteus, 87, passed away, 18 JAN at The Heart Hospital at Deaconess Gateway in Newburgh, Indiana.
* Also on 18 JAN, U.S. Army Veteran KY Delta Brother Dennis S. “Champ” Frisch, 71, passed away at his home.
* IL Delta Brother Captain James C. Rockow, U.S. Air Force, 81, of Peoria passed away 19 JAN at UnityPoint Health-Proctor in Peoria, Illinois.

Our thoughts and prayers are with the chapter brothers, family and friends of SigEp Patriots Bernier, Menk, Bell, Portteus, Frisch and Rockow.

CELEBRATIONS AND ACCOMPLISHMENTS
- WELCOME HOME to Operation ENDURING FREEDOM veterans KY Zeta Brother First Lieutenant TJ Freno, U.S. Army and NY Chi Brother Second Lieutenant Josh Risewick, U.S. Army from their deployments to Afghanistan! Thank you for your service, Brothers!
- On 17 JAN, U.S. Army JAG Officer LA Gamma Brother Mike Tregle and his wife Megan welcomed their daughter, Emma Leigh, in to the world. All the best to Mike and his family.
- FL Zeta Brother Patrick Curran was promoted to Colonel, U.S. Army on 03 JAN! Congratulations to Patrick!
- TN Kappa Brother Second Lieutenant Andrew “Ox” Henderson, U.S. Army learned he will be assigned to the 3rd ID and will be heading to Fort Benning. Best of luck, Andrew!

If you have some good news you would like to share please send me an email.

Fraternally and Very Respectfully,

Brother Ed Jones, NY Eta ‘96
Chief Petty Officer, U.S. Navy Reserve
Founder, SigEp Patriots Project
sigepswhoserve@gmail.com