SigEp Military History


This Week in SigEp Patriot History
April 29-May 5, 2013


02 MAY 1918
On this date, NY Beta Brother (then) First Lieutenant James “Jimmy” Armand Meissner, U.S. Army Air Service won his first aerial engagement while flying a French-made Nieuport 28 about three miles above Foret De La Rappe, France. Jimmy would go on to become an American Ace during WWI and attain the rank of Major.

For his service on this date, Brother Meissner was awarded the Distinguished Service Cross in accordance with General Order 121, W.D., 1918, “The Distinguished Service Cross is presented to James A. Meissner, First Lieutenant (Air Service), U.S. Army, for extraordinary heroism in action in the Toul Sector on 02 MAY 1918. First Lieutenant Meissner attacked three enemy planes at an altitude of 4,800 meters over the Foret De La Rappe, France. After a short fight he brought down one of the machines in flames. During the combat the entering wedge and the covering of the upper wings of his plane were torn away and after the battle he was subjected to heavy fire from antiaircraft batteries, but by skillful operation and cool judgment he succeeded in making a landing within the American lines.”

04 MAY 1925
Born in Ontario, Canada, World War I Veteran and Renaissance Brother Captain James Naismith, U.S. Army National Guard (Kansas) became a naturalized U.S. citizen on this date.

01 MAY 1942
MT Alpha Brother John Woodrow Bonner entered the U.S. Army on this date and served during World War II.

01 MAY 1956
On this date, World War II Veteran and VA Zeta Brother General Robert Jefferson Wood, U.S. Army became commanding general of Fort Bliss and commandant of the Antiaircraft Artillery and Guided Missile School. Brother Wood was presented with the SigEp Citation in 1967.

02 MAY 1998
FL Theta Brother Christopher Sacra began his patriotic service in the U.S. Navy on this date.

01 MAY 1999
On this date, TN Theta Brother Kenneth Michael Ballard began his patriotic service in the U.S. Army. He would serve until 30 MAY 2004 when, while serving as a First Lieutenant in the U.S. Army, he was killed in Najaf, Iraq.

05 MAY 2008
World War II Veteran and VT Alpha Brother Captain George Sander, U.S. Army Air Force of Whiting, New Jersey, died on this date. Following his service as a radar officer in the U.S. Army Air Force, he was a district sales manager for Johnson Controls and made his home in Baldwin, Long Island until his retirement in 1981.

George was born in Philadelphia, PA and raised in Ocean City. He attended Norwich where he was part of the baseball team, basketball, team, track, intramurals, and was a member of the Junior Weekend and the Winter Carnival Committees. He graduated with a Bachelor of Science in Electrical Engineering in 1938.

Respect can be paid to Brother Sander at Section KS, Site 8479 of Brigadier General William C. Doyle Veterans Memorial Cemetery in Wrightstown, New Jersey.

01 MAY 2009
World War II Veteran and CO Delta Brother Ensign Floyd D. Burnside, U.S. Navy Air Corps died on this date. In 1941, he enlisted with the Navy Air Corps serving as an Ensign with Navy Squadrons 18 and 20 from 1941 to 1946.

Floyd was born in Westfield, Pennsylvania in 1922, and graduated from Colorado School of Mines with a professional degree in petroleum engineering. He spent 28 years with Shell Oil and also enjoyed several years as a petroleum instructor.

Respect can be paid to Brother Burnside at Section 26, Site 900 of Ft. Logan National Cemetery, Denver, Colorado.

29 APR 2005
World War II Veteran and NY Alpha Brother R. Charles Backus died on this date in Mexico, New York at the age of 84. He was a cryptographer during WWII in the Signal Corps.

Charles was an owner of the Oswego County Weeklies for over 50 years. He was a nationally known Holstein Auctioneer with R. Austin Backus Inc. He served many years as a delegate of the National Holstein Convention. He was a member of the Holstein Association of New York State and on the national level. He was a member of the Oswego Country Club and The Elms Golf Course.

Respect can be paid to Brother Backus at Mexico Village Cemetery.


  • 26 APR – U.S. Navy World War II Veteran IN Alpha Brother Thomas G. Kenyon died in Raritan Township, NJ. Thomas joined the Navy after graduating from high school in 1944, and after his WWII service he attended Purdue University graduating in 1950 with a bachelor of science degree in mechanical engineering. There will be a memorial service tomorrow (06 MAY) at 1:00 pm at the Oldwick Fire Company Banquet Hall, 163 Oldwick Road, Oldwick, NJ (Tewksbury Twp). For memorial donations, please consider the Tewksbury First Aid & Rescue Squad, 163 Old Turnpike Road, Califon, NJ 07830, the Oldwick Fire Company, PO Box 83, Oldwick, NJ 08858 or the Tewksbury Township Public Library, PO Box 49, 31 Old Turnpike Road, Oldwick, NJ 08858.
  • 28 APR – NC Beta Brother Captain Joseph Henry Miller, Jr., U.S. Army National Guard (North Carolina) (Retired) died at Hospice Rutherford County, NC.
  • 02 MAY – U.S. Navy World War II Veteran OH Eta Brother Robert E. "Bob" Oberlin died in Marysville, OH. During WWII, Bob served in the Pacific Theater aboard the USS Iowa (BB-61). Funeral services will be held 11 a.m. Wednesday (08 MAY) at Marysville (Ohio) First United Methodist Church. Burial will be at Oakdale Cemetery where military honors will be provided by the Union County Military Funeral Honor Guard. The family will receive friends 2-8 p.m. Tuesday at Underwood Funeral Home in Marysville.

    Our thoughts and prayers go out to the chapter brothers, family and friends of brothers Kenyon, Miller and Oberlin. This list is likely incomplete, and the small group of dedicated brothers working the SigEp Patriots Project (SPP) could use your help. If you know of a brother patriot that has passed away we appreciate an email to Thanks to Mindi Seidel at HQ for her continued assistance!
  • Late this week, OH Gamma Brother Yannis Hadjiyannis and Operation IRAQI FREEDOM Veteran and FL Iota Brother Adam Pietri were promoted to Sergeant in the U.S. Army.
  • TN Kappa Brother Andrew “Ox” Henderson graduated 04 MAY and was commission to Second Lieutenant in the U.S. Army.
  • Operation ENDURING FREEDOM Veteran and AL Theta Brother Lieutenant Colonel Timothy Forrest, U.S. Army assumed battalion command of the 1/518th Regiment.
  • Operation IRAQI FREEDOM and ENDURING FREEDOM Veteran, TN Kappa Brother Captain Adrian Montague, U.S. Army graduated with his Master’s degree on Saturday.
  • Today, Operation ENDURING FREEDOM Veteran and FL Beta Brother Captain Roger J. Foley, Jr., U.S. Army completed his first marathon in 4:47.

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