SigEp Military History


This Week in SigEp Patriot History
March 4-9, 2013


08 March 1918
On this date, World War I Veteran and Ace, NY Beta Brother Lieutenant James “Jimmy” Armand Meissner, U.S. Army Air Service reported to Major John Huffner, Commander, 94th Aero Squadron, 1st Pursuit Group, U.S. Army Air Service, American Expeditionary Force. Known as the “Hat in the Ring Squadron” it was the first entirely American fighter squadron to serve in WWI.

Contrary to popular belief and the information passed by SigEp about Brother Kiffen Rockwell, Jimmy went on to be the most successful SigEp Ace fighter pilot to serve with the U.S. Army Air Service in World War I. While he served nobly as an aviator during WWI, Rockwell served in the French Air Service.

Brother Meissner went on to attain the rank of Major, and founded the Alabama Air National Guard, serving as the unit’s first commanding officer.

05 March 1941
NC Delta Brother Lieutenant Seymour Anderson Johnson, U.S. Navy died on this date when the Grumman F4F-3 he was piloting crashed near Norbeck, Maryland. He was buried in Arlington National Cemetery in Washington, DC.

Seymour was born in Goldsboro, North Carolina, graduated from Goldsboro High School and attended the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill for three years before entering the United States Naval Academy at Annapolis, MD. After graduating from the academy, Seymour was commissioned as an ensign and entered flight training at Pensacola, FL. He received his pilot wings in 1929, and after completing flight training he served as a pilot aboard battleships and aircraft carriers.

In 1937, he volunteered for duty as a test pilot, an assignment usually lasting two years. Brother Johnson was assigned to Anacostia Naval Air Station in Washington, DC beginning in 1938 and served as a test pilot until his death. During his last flight, he reported he was at 43,000 feet and was getting low on oxygen. His death was attributed to a lack of oxygen at high altitude.

Seymour had more than 4,000 hours in a variety of Naval and Grumman Aircraft Corporation aircraft. He had been selected for promotion to lieutenant commander and would have pinned on his oak leafs in June 1941.

In August 1940, the War Department designated the airport near Goldsboro as essential to national defense, and in December funds were authorized for the construction of a U.S. Army Air Corps Technical Training School. On 30 October 1942, Congressman Graham H. Barden informed the Goldsboro News-Argus that "the Army Air Forces Technical Training School in Goldsboro had been named Seymour Johnson Field."

Seymour Johnson Air Force Base is the only Air Force base named in honor of a naval officer.

Respect can be paid to Brother Johnson at Section 7, Site 8153, Arlington National Cemetery, Arlington, VA.

05 March 1945
On this date, World War II Veteran and KS Gamma Brother Second Lieutenant Robert Ellsworth Stoddard, U.S. Marine Corps died of wounds received in combat on Iwo Jima on 04 March.

For those of you attending the University of Kansas, you have the privilege to see the Memorial Campanile Doors of Memory. These doors, with the inscription “Cedant Arma, Humanitati” (Let Arms Yield to Humanity), were the gift of Mr. and Mrs. A.E. Stoddard of Omaha in memory of their son, Second Lieutenant Robert E. Stoddard.

Respect can be paid to Brother Stoddard at the Westlawn-Hillcrest Memorial Cemetery in Omaha, Nebraska.

06 March 1949
On this date, World War II Veteran and IN Alpha Brother Second Lieutenant Clarence Cleveland Roudebush, Jr., U.S. Army was repatriated and interred at Glen Haven Cemetery, Harrison, OH.

Brother Roudebush was killed in action in Pescara, Italy on 05 November 1944.

05 March 2003
U.S. Navy World War II Veteran and TN Alpha Brother James Thomas “Jim” Brantley died on this date in Murfreesboro, Tennessee. He graduated from the University of Tennessee with a Bachelor of Science degree in agriculture, and served as a Navy Corpsman during World War II.

Jim was a retired supervisor with ConAgra of Knoxville, TN, and a member of the Coffee County Esquire Association, Tennessee Walking Horse Breeders and Exhibitors Association, Manchester Lions Club, and the American Legion Gold Star Post 78.

Respect can be paid to Brother Brantley at the Robinson Cemetery in Loudon County, TN.

04 March 2010
NY Beta Brother Lieutenant William “Bill” B. Bullock, U.S. Army died on this date in Seattle, Washington due to complications related to a head injury. He was 78 years old. Bill received his B.A. and MBA at Cornell University and served in the Army in New York and Germany.

Bill was born in Jamestown, NY, but Bill and his family were long-time residents of Cape Elizabeth, Maine. Following his military service, Bill worked for the University of Southern Maine as Business Manager until his retirement in 1990.

In memorial, the family asks that contributions may be made in Bill's name to the charity of one's choice.

04 March 2011
In a small world example of how we are all connected, 66 years after the death of Brother Stoddard, fellow World War II Veteran, TX Alpha President and First Lieutenant Charles Lynn West, U.S. Army Air Corps died peacefully in Midland, TX. During WWII, Charles served as a bombardier with the 7th Air Force, 30th Bomb Group in the South Pacific aboard a B-24 Liberator nicknamed “Ruff Knights.” Charles and the Ruff Knights led the entire bomb group on the final runs over Iwo Jima before the assault of Iwo by Brother Stoddard and his Marines.

Charles was born in Miami, Oklahoma. After enlisting in the Army Air Corps, he was assigned to bombardier training in Big Spring, TX. In 1943, he received a commission to the rank of First Lieutenant and ordered to Tonopah, NV, to finish training. From there, it was off to war flying in the Liberator from bases on Guam, Saipan, and Tinian, he and a crew of ten other daring young men, and even an ornery dog named "Snuffy," combined to fly 43 missions.

Following the war, Charles attended Louisiana State University and The University of Texas where he became a SigEp and served as chapter president. He graduated in 1951, and worked as an independent petroleum geologist for multiple companies, most notably Texas Pacific Oil & Gas and Beach Exploration, in a career spanning nearly 60 years through booms and busts. Brother West was an active member of the Midland Downtown Lions Club, Midland Masonic Lodge #623, Scottish Rite, Dallas Valley, and Suez Shrine.

09 March 2012
OR Alpha Brother Lieutenant Commander Kent William Wells, U.S. Navy (Retired) died on this date in Damascus, MD at the age of 71. He served in the United States Navy on the USS Jonas Ingram (DD-938), the USS Franklin D. Roosevelt (CVA-42), and for the Naval Security Group in Edzell, Scotland and Misawa, Japan. He retired after 20 years of service.

Born in Lincoln, Nebraska, he was valedictorian of Lebanon Union High School in Lebanon, Oregon, and graduated from the University of Oregon, and the Naval Post Graduate School, Monterey, California.

After his naval service, Brother Wells worked for the Department of the Navy, as Division Chief, Central Adjudication Facility, Naval Criminal Investigative Service and earned a Meritorious Service Award. After retirement, he was an active member of the Maryland Model Yacht Club.

In lieu of flowers, donations can be made to the Sigma Phi Epsilon Educational Foundation, Oregon Alpha Endowment, 310 S Boulevard, Richmond, VA 23220.


  • TN Eta Brother Clint Van Ert was commissioned a Second Lieutenant, U. S. Army.

  • CA Theta Brother and California National Guardsman Frank Beardsley celebrated the birth of his son, Mason Tucker Beardsley.

  • About a year ago, we welcomed home Operation ENDURING FREEDOM veterans VA Zeta Brother Tom Kelly and CA Upsilon Brother Mason Moore after successful deployments overseas.

  • Today, former ND Alpha President Mark Becker was commissioned an Ensign in the U.S. Navy after successfully completing 12-weeks of Officer Candidate School in Newport, RI.

If you are a military brother celebrating something please send me an email at

  • This week last year, SPP had the names and information of 1,175 SigEp Patriots who serve/served in the U.S. military, 440 military brothers in SPP’s official Facebook group – SigEps Who Serve, and 20 chapter points of contact.

  • As of today, SPP is very happy to have more than tripled the number of known SigEp Patriots to 3,825, worked to increase the membership of SigEps Who Serve by over 27% (to 566 such men), and have been blessed to see a near doubling of the number of brothers who have stepped forward to assist SPP at chapters around the country (39).

  • Military brothers: To join SigEps Who Serve, go to If you are not on Facebook you can join our list serve by sending an email to For both, you will be asked to provide your home chapter, rank, branch of service, military status, and combat experience.

  • All Brothers: If you are interested in being a SPP point of contact for your chapter just write to

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