SigEp Military History


This Week in SigEp Patriot History
September 2, 2012


Another one of those “just when you start thinking the world is a big place” stories: The other day, Operation Enduring Freedom veteran and FL Iota brother First Lieutenant William “Chase” Busch of the U.S. Army sent me a Facebook message telling me that he was conducting some training of his replacement in Afghanistan, and when they got to talking, they learned they were both brothers of Sigma Phi Epsilon. What are the chances of that? Two SigEp Patriots not only find each other in Afghanistan, but one is relieving the other.

August 29, 1918
- On this date, founding father Chaplain First Lieutenant Franklin Webb Kerfoot of the U.S. Army (Chaplain Corps) was killed in a collision of an automobile and a train on the Southern Railway in Chatham, Virginia. Brother Kerfoot had temporarily returned home from Newport News, where he was served as a Baptist chaplain working among the soldiers departing overseas.
Franklin was born in Buckland, Virginia on October 2, 1986. He was class of 1902 at Richmond College and later attended Crozer Theological Seminary. At his memorial service, he was remembered as “the most original preacher of his time,” and it was stated that God took him to welcome the soldiers who had “passed on” from the battlefield.
Respect can be paid at Green Hill Cemetery in Berryville, Virginia. While he is gone, SPP will proudly join others in remembering Brother Kerfoot’s life and patriotic service.

September 1, 1918
- World War I veteran and NH Alpha brother Private First Class Charles Enos Tayntor of the U.S. Army Ambulance Service, Army Medical Corps sailed for France for his service in Europe on this date.

August 30, 1941
- World War II Battle of Midway veteran and IL Alpha brother Joseph Metcalf Hissem received his commission as an ensign in the U.S. Navy Reserve on this date.

September 1, 1962
- On this date, World War II veteran, SigEp Citation recipient, and VA Zeta brother General Robert Jefferson Wood of the U.S. Army (Retired) was promoted to the rank of general (four stars).

September 2, 2004
- U.S. Navy World War II veteran and CO Alpha brother Donn Beck Brown died peacefully on this date. He was born on December 17, 1916, in Dayton, Ohio, and attended the University of Colorado, where he earned his mechanical engineering degree. World War II brought Donn to California. He served in the United States Navy in underwater demolition, which was the precursor to the Navy Seals. After his military service, Donn began his career with A.J. Bayer, Co. in Los Angeles, eventually becoming president and chairman of the company. One of Donn's greatest joys was helping others. He served on the board of directors of many organizations, including the Boy Scouts of America, the Salvation Army, Florence Crittenton Center, Hollywood Presbyterian Hospital, First Lincoln Financial Corp., and Union Bank.

August 28, 2008
- On this date, U.S. Navy veteran, Former District governor, and IN Alpha brother Rex Arden Sebastian died in Dallas, Texas.
Rex was born September 16, 1929 in Robinson, Illinois. He earned a bachelor's degree at Purdue (1951) and an MBA from Indiana University (1952) before beginning his first position in production management supervision for Proctor and Gamble in Cincinnati, Ohio. He then served for 33 months as an officer in the Supply Corps of the U.S. Navy.
Rex went overseas to work for Cummins Engine Company, Inc., where he was managing director of Cummins Engine Company, Ltd., in Scotland. His last position with Cummins was international vice president, headquartered in London, England, with responsibility for all international operations. In 1966, he left Cummins to join Dresser as vice president of international operations, responsible for all operations outside of the United States. Rex served as senior vice president of operations for the office of the chairman of Dresser Industries, Inc., from January 1975 to July 1985, at which time he took early retirement. In his capacity, Rex had total corporate responsibility for one of Dresser's defined product segments, the general industrial segment. In terms of annual revenue, the General Industrial Segment accounted for approximately $1 billion.
Ever supportive of Indiana University, Rex served as a member of the Dean's Advisory Council for the School of Business at Indiana University where, for several years, he served as chairman of the membership committee. He was made a member of the Indiana University School of Business alumni association's Academy of Alumni Fellows.
After his retirement, Rex returned to Texas, where he continued his commitment to the community. He served as a member and as a past chairman of the Dean's Advisory Council for the College of Business Administration and Graduate School of Business at the University of Texas at Austin and as a member and past chairman of the Dean's Advisory Council for the School of Management at the University of Texas at Dallas. Rex also established two professorships in the College of Business Administration and Graduate School of Business at the University of Texas at Austin.
Respect can be paid at the Sparkman Hillcrest Memorial Cemetery in Dallas, Texas. Brother Sebastian is gone, but SPP pledges that Rex and his patriotic service will always be remembered.

September 2, 2009
- U.S. Navy World War II veteran and NY Beta brother John William Bacon died on this date in Soquel, California at the age of 82.
John was born in Chicago, Illinois in 1927. At 18, he joined the Navy and after his service, John attended Cornell University, graduating with a bachelor's degree in industrial relations. In 1951, Brother Bacon moved to Washington, DC, to work for BNA Publishing Company and attend law school at George Washington University. In 1957, he took a job with the Food Employer's Council (FEC) and moved to Los Angeles.
He finished his career with the FEC as president. After FEC, John began a labor relations publication and consulting practice with one of his clients--SaveMart Supermarkets, headquartered in Modesto, California. He formally joined SaveMart and served as the vice president of human resources until his retirement in 1994. Thereafter, John moved to Soquel, California, to enjoy his retirement years. In Soquel, Brother Bacon was involved with charities and organizations, including the United Way and the Seymour Center/ Long's Marine Lab in Santa Cruz.

September 1, 2010
- On this date, Operation Enduring Freedom veteran and FL Beta brother Captain Charles Nathan “Nate” Davis Jr. of the U.S. Army pinned on his current rank.

On the same day, U.S. Navy World War II veteran and IL Alpha brother Walter William Rust died at his home in Bellevue, Washington, at the age of 84.
He was born on February 25, 1926, in Sioux Falls, South Dakota. While growing up in Elgin, Illinois, Walt won several city ice-skating races, including two Chicago Tribune Silver Skates titles. He set national records in the half- and 3/4-mile races as a juvenile and junior en route to several state, national, and North American race titles. In 1944, he graduated from Elgin High School, and he was inducted into the Elgin Sports Hall of Fame in 1996.
Walt served in the U.S. Navy as a radioman aboard the escort aircraft carrier USS Puget Sound (CVE-113) from 1944 to 1946 in the South Pacific. He graduated from the University of Illinois in 1950.
He moved his family to Seattle in 1953, and shortly thereafter they moved to Bellevue. In 1955, he bought his first, and only, new car. In 1961, Walt's job with Weyerhaeuser took the family to their home in Los Alamitos, California, where they lived until 1966. Then it was back to Bellevue, where he retired from Weyerhaeuser in 1980. Spotting an opportunity, he started his own business, Pasayten Incorporated, in March of 1980. In 2008, he returned to retired life. Walt was an active outdoorsman, athlete, photographer, sailor, woodcarver, and Little League umpire. He competed in cycling and placed in state, national, and world events into his 70s. He was active in the Boy Scouts for more than 20 years. He served as scoutmaster and assistant scoutmaster with Troop 600 of Bellevue and was awarded the Silver Beaver. He had two Ford Model As and was a member of the Evergreen A's of Bellevue, where he formed some great friendships.
Respect can be paid to Walt at Sunset Hills Memorial Park at 1215 145th Place SE in Bellevue, Washington. While gone, SPP pledges that Walt’s life and patriotic service will always be remembered.

September 2, 2010
- On this date, on the 65th anniversary of the mission he commanded to fly the official photos of the Japanese surrender back to Washington, DC, World War II and Vietnam War veteran and UT Alpha brother Lieutenant Colonel William J. Gibson of the U.S. Air Force (Retired) died at his home in Air Force Village in San Antonio, Texas.
William was born in Ogden, Utah, on April 28, 1920. He entered active duty with the Army Air Corps in October 1941 as a B-17 pilot. Immediately after the attack on Pearl Harbor, he deployed to the Pacific Theater, where he flew numerous combat missions against enemy shipping and ground targets. At age 24, he was the youngest lieutenant colonel in the Army Air Corps, commanding a squadron of B-29s. In the last mission of the war, he led a composite crew drawn from all the air crews in the Pacific Theater to fly the official photos of the Japanese surrender back to Washington, DC.
William also served in Vietnam, completing more than 1,000 combat missions. He was rated in 62 different aircraft, from bi-planes to jets, with more than 22,000 flying hours. William earned a bachelor's degree from Utah State University and a master's degree from Weber State University. He was a member of the Quiet Birdmen and the Order of Daedalians. He volunteered for many years as a docent at the Institute of Texas Cultures, and served the Air Force Association as a national director and trustee of the Aerospace Education Foundation. William was devoted to his fellow veterans of the 505th Bomb Group, which met regularly for reunions under his direction.
Respect can be paid to Brother Gibson at Ben Lomond Cemetery in North Ogden, Utah.

* ME Alpha brother First Lieutenant Perleston Lincoln “Bub” Pert Jr. of the U.S. Army passed away on August 27, 2012.

Our thoughts and prayers go out to the family, friends and chapter brothers of SigEp Patriot Pert. While gone, SPP pledges that Bub will never be forgotten.

* Operation Iraqi Freedom veteran and OH Rho brother Captain Matthew Phillip Basil of the U.S. Army is now engaged to Carissa Tobin, a first lieutenant in the U.S. Army. Congratulations to Matt and Carissa on their future nuptials!
* Operation Enduring Freedom veteran and FL Iota brother First Lieutenant William “Chase” Busch of the U.S. Army was recently presented with the Bronze Star Medal in recognition of his service in Afghanistan. Congratulations, Chase, and thank you for your service!

Have great news about a promotion, new orders, the birth of a child, or anything else? SPP would love to share it with everyone! Just send an email to

* Michigan Eta brother First Lieutenant Dominic Perry of the U.S. Air Force recently joined the ranks of SigEps Who Serve: The official Facebook group of the SigEp Patriots Project. Go to to join Brother Perry and nearly 500 other brothers-in-arms. All we ask for is your military affiliation and home chapter. 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 SPP listserve and join over 100 brothers using that to stay connected.

Fraternally and Very Respectfully,
Brother Ed Jones, NY Eta ’96
Chief Petty Officer, U.S. Navy Reserve
Founder, SigEp Patriots Project