SigEp Military History


This Week in SigEp Patriot History
June 10-16, 2013


(to see the photos with this post go to

13 JUN 1918
VA Epsilon Brother Cralle Fauntleroy Blackwell volunteered on this date for World War I military service with the U.S. Army Coastal Artillery.

On the same date, NY Beta Brother (then) Lieutenant James Armand Meissner, U.S. Army Air Service had his 4th aerial kill over Thiaucort, France in his Nieuport 28 while assigned to 97th Aero Squadron. He would go on to be a WWI Ace and establish the Alabama Air National Guard.

12 JUN 1930
VA Zeta Brother Robert Jefferson Wood graduated on this date and was commissioned a second lieutenant in the U.S. Army Coast Artillery Corps. Following WWII, he attended the National War College and served as a military aide to Secretary of Defense James Forrestal (a fellow SigEp). Brother Wood went on to retire as a General, and was posthumously awarded the SigEp Citation in 1967.

13 JUN 1944
On this date, World War II Veteran and NY Gamma Brother Second Lieutenant James W. Ellwanger, U.S. Army was with the 817th Military Police Company of the XIX Corps when he landed at Omaha Beach in France. Brother Ellwanger participated in campaigns in Normandy, Northern France and Germany, during which he received a battlefield promotion to first lieutenant for bravery under fire.

13 JUN 1968
KS Beta Brother 2ndLt. James Derr, USMC PA Gamma (Pitt '07-'11)Dennis D. Woofter was designated a naval aviator on this date. During two tours in Southeast Asia, he flew his A-4 Skyhawk on 168 missions and accumulated over 300 carrier landings. Brother Woofter crossed over to the Naval Dental Corps, became the 33rd Chief, Navy Dental Corps, and retired as a Rear Admiral.

15 JUN 1968
On this date, Vietnam War Veteran and CA Delta Brother First Lieutenant Stephen Douglass Joyner, U.S. Marine Corps Reserve made the ultimate sacrifice near Khe Sanh, South Vietnam while serving as acting Company Commander, Lima Company, 3rd Battalion, 4th Marines, 3rd Marine Division. He was killed as he was leading a night counterattack against an overwhelming enemy force of North Vietnamese Army (NVA) regulars that had overrun the company's position.

Brother Joyner was posthumously awarded the Bronze Star Medal with Combat "V" Valor Device for his heroic actions in helping save the lives of seven wounded Marines during combat action near Khe Sanh the week of 07 - 15 JAN 1968, while serving as Platoon Leader, Lima Company. The medal was presented to his mother in NOV 1968 at a ceremony at Marine Corps Air Station, EL Toro. He was commissioned a second lieutenant in OCT 1966 and before being shipped to Vietnam he served for six months at the Marine base at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba. Stephen was a graduate of Fullerton Junior College, where he was a first team All-American defensive end in football. He was further honored as the recipient of the Arthur L. Nunn Memorial Award presented to the "Most Inspirational Athlete" of the 1964-65 year. Stephen's selection of this award was based on his inspirational leadership qualities, athletic success, and academic success. In 1964, Brother Joyner was also selected as one of the Top 25 Fullerton College "Men of Distinction."

After transferring to California State College at San Diego (now San Diego State University) he was designated a first team linebacker. During his senior year at California State College at San Diego, Brother Joyner enlisted in the Marines. He was encouraged to continue his education, and he graduated with honors in 1966. The day following graduation, he left for a cross-country trip to Quantico, VA, where he reported for training 01 AUG.

In honor of Brother Joyner, Fullerton College established the First Lieutenant Stephen D. Joyner Memorial Football Award to recognize one or two football players who will transfer to the upper division of a four-year institution as eligible juniors. The recipient(s) must possess "in good measure the traits of loyalty, sportsmanship, leadership, citizenship and personal warmth" that characterized the man memorialized by the award.

Brother Joyner is honored on Panel 57W, Row 27 of the Vietnam Veterans Memorial - The Wall - on The Mall, Washington, D.C.

14 JUN 1969
Vietnam Veteran AR Gamma First Lieutenant Johnny Frank Davis, U.S. Army made the ultimate sacrifice on this date in Hua Nghia, South Vietnam while serving with Company B, 505th Infantry, 82nd Airborne Division.

Johnny is honored on Panel 22W - Line 46 of the Vietnam Veterans Memorial - The Wall, on The Mall, Washington, DC. Respect can be paid to Brother Davis at Section 16, Lawrence Memorial Park, Walnut Ridge, Arkansas.

11 JUN 1999
U.S. Marine Corps World War II Veteran and DE Alpha Brother Francis J. Jamison died on this date. He was 82 years old. Brother Jamison served as a Marine scout in the 1st Marine Division that landed on Guadalcanal.

Francis was captain of the University of Delaware in 1939, and received a bachelor's in English in 1940. He joined The Delaware Safety Council in 1940 and was the Executive Director from 1969 until his retirement in 1993. Brother Jamison was instrumental in the driver education program for Private Schools, and he was actively involved with the National Safety Council and Industrial Safety.

Contributions of remembrance may be sent to the Juvenile Diabetes Foundation, 200 East Joppa Road, Suite 300, Towson, Maryland 21286. Respect can be paid to Brother Jamison at St. Joseph's on the Brandywine, Greenville, DE.

15 JUN 2001
Korean War Veteran and CA Beta Brother First Lieutenant Thomas William Rosso, U.S. Air Force died on this date. Brother Rosso was a pilot during the war, and a devoted Trojan all his life.

Respect can be paid to Brother Rosso at Section CBFF, Row 1, Site 106 at Ft. Rosecrans National Cemetery, San Diego, CA.

13 JUN 2006
On this date, Persian Gulf War & Operation IRAQI FREEDOM Veteran, MO Zeta President General James Terry Conway, U.S. Marine Corps was nominated by President George W. Bush to become the 34th Commandant of the Marine Corps. Brother Conway was awarded the SigEp Citation at Conclave Atlanta in 2007, and retired from the Marine Corps after completing his service as Commandant.

12 JUN 2008
U.S. Veteran and NY Beta Brother Elliott S. Washburn of Lancaster, PA, formerly of Wilmington, DE died on this date. He worked for Hercules Powder Company and owned a construction company. He was active in civic, community and alumni affairs.

11 JUN 2010
On this date, Two-time Operation IRAQI FREEDOM Veteran and TN Kappa Brother Sergeant Israel "Izzy" P. O'Bryan, U.S. Army made the ultimate sacrifice in Jalula, Iraq when he died of wounds suffered in a suicide car bombing while assigned to the 5th Battalion, 20th Infantry Regiment, 3rd Stryker Brigade Combat Team, 2nd Infantry Division. He was 24 years old. Raised in a military family, Izzy participated in ROTC while attending University of Tennessee - Martin. He enlisted in the Army in 2006, served in the Infantry, and deployed to Iraq in AUG 2009 to serve his second deployment. Izzy's previous deployment was in 2007.

His awards include the Purple Heart, Army Commendation Medal, Army Achievement Medal, National Defense Service Medal, Iraq Campaign Medal, Global War on Terror Service Medal and Combat Infantry Badge.

When Izzy was killed, his son, Turner, was nine-months-old. A fund is set up to help pay for Turner's future education. Donations can be sent to: Community Bank, 3200 North Highland Ave, Jackson, TN 38305.

Respect can be paid to Brother O’Bryan at Wilmot Lutheran Cemetery in Wilmot, SD.

On the same date, Vietnam War Veteran and OR Alpha Brother Captain Ernest "Ernie" A. Harris, U.S. Marine Corps died peacefully at his home in Honolulu at the age of 70 after a valiant battle with cancer. As a Naval scholarship recipient, he attended Oregon State University where he graduated with a degree in Civil Engineering in 1961. Upon graduation, he joined the United States Marine Corps. Brother Harris saw battle in Vietnam at Khe Sanh and Hue City and was most proud of the fact that he was able to bring all his men home safely. Among many military honors and decorations, he was awarded a Bronze Star with Combat "V" for Valor and a Purple Heart for his service.

Ernie felt honored to serve as Master of Ceremonies for 20 years in the Vietnam Veterans Memorial Day Service. He also took great pleasure in being able to provide 12 full, four-year college scholarships to local public school students from Oahu. He was twice chosen to sit on the board of directors for the Oahu Country Club, and was considered a mentor by many younger colleagues in his industry.

Respect can be paid to Brother Harris at Section 64, Site 3962, Arlington National Cemetery, Arlington, VA.

16 JUN 2010
U.S. Navy World War II Veteran WA Beta Brother Theodore Otto "Ted" Schimanski died on this date at Richland Rehabilitation Center at the age of 92. He served in communications aboard a U.S. Navy ship during WWII. Upon his return, Ted was employed by Western Electric, then Pacific NW Bell for 31 years as a manager.

10 JUN 2012
U.S. Navy Korean War Veteran NC Eta Brother Robert Clifton Snyder died on this date at his home in King, North Carolina. After high school graduation, Robert went to Duke University, but at the start of the Korean War he left school and enlisted in the Navy, where he served several years at a naval test station in the Mojave Desert before being assigned to a mine sweeper in Korean waters.

He completed his degree on his return at High Point College where he became a brother in Sigma Phi Epsilon.

He was employed for 30 years by Piedmont Airlines where he and his wife, Dyanne, had opportunities to travel. American Legion Post 290 in King - of which he was a proud member - performed the military honors at Brother Snyder's funeral.

Respect can be paid to Brother Snyder at Trinity United Methodist Church Cemetery, King, NC.

16 JUN 2012
Two U.S. Army World War II SigEp Patriots died on this date.

U.S. Army World War II Veteran and KS Beta Brother Edwin "Ed" Speight Darden II died at his home in Fresno, CA at the age of 91. He served four years during WWII in the U.S. Army, and was attached to the Army Air Forces for the last two years.

Born in Stantonsburg, North Carolina in 1920, Ed was a Fresno resident since 1950. He was a track star in high school and college and graduated from his beloved Kansas State University with a degree in Architectural-Engineering.

Brother Darden's professional life was full of accomplishments. He was the founder of Darden Architects in 1959, and credited with many innovations in school planning and design. He was very active in the American Institute of Architects, elected to Fellowship in 1975, and was certified Who's Who in America in 1986.

Ed served as a professional advisor to Fresno County and on the California State Advisory Board to the Office of Architecture and Construction. He was on the Board of Directors for Murphy Bank, Past President of Merced Lions Club, and Charter Member of Fresno Breakfast Lions Club. As a Fresno Rotarian, Brother Darden was instrumental in the planning of the Rotary Amphitheater, and served ten years as District Chairman of Rotary Camp Royal.

Remembrances may be made to the Rotary Club of Fresno Foundation, 2307 N. Fine Avenue, Fresno, CA 93727, or the First Presbyterian Church, 1540 M Street, Fresno, CA 93721.

World War II Veteran and CA Beta Brother Captain James Dean Rickman, U.S. Army died peacefully on this date with family by his side. He was 95. WWII interrupted Dean's college and track career. He enlisted in the Army Air Force, and, benefiting from his military school background, quickly rose to the rank of Lieutenant. The Army trained Dean in photography at Hall Roch Studios in Culver City, CA and at Yale University. He organized and trained a Photographic Section in the 6th Army Air fForce Motion Picture Unit. He took his Section to Tory Majorie, Italy, where they processed aerial photographs, and produced important combat films including "Big Fence." Dean personally photographed the colossal Bari, Italy ammunition ship explosions while they were taking place, running toward the ships while others fled. Dean left the Army as a Captain following WWII, and returned to Wichita, KS to start a family and begin a business career.

Dean was born in Newton, KS and raised in Wichita. Dean and his brother Jack attended Kemper Military Academy Junior College in Booneville, MO, where Dean was honored as an outstanding track star and athlete earning him a track scholarship to the University of Southern California where he competed in dashes, low hurdles and the broad jump against the best athletes of his time. Brother Rickman finished 4th in the 1941 NCAA finals 100 yard dash at Stanford.

Brother Rickman’s father was a principal member of JC Penney's founding management team, and grew the Rickman Bottling Company, Budweiser and soft drink franchises. Dean continued this legacy and worked with his father and brother to found Freightways truck line to serve the needs of a growing city. During his 20 years as president, he represented independent truckers in negotiations with Teamsters Union President Jimmy Hoffa, advised General Mills, Firestone and other corporate managers on trucking issues, and expanded operations throughout the Midwest.

Dean was a member of the Wichita State University Finance Committee and was honored by the University's Fairmont Society for his contributions to scholarship funds established in the name of his son and parents.

Memorial donations may be made to: Wichita State University Foundation, c/o Rickman Scholarship Fund, 1845 N. Fairmount, Wichita, KS 67260-0002.

Respect can be paid to Brother Rickman at Wichita Park Cemetery and Mausoleum in Wichita.


  • 14 JUN - Ted Hornstra was commissioned a Second Lieutenant in the U.S. Army at a ceremony at UC Davis!
  • 15 JUN - Operations IRAQI FREEDOM & ENDURING FREEDOM Veteran and CA Upsilon Brother Sergeant Adam Hicks, U.S. Army Reserve & his wife welcomed Nicholas "Niko" Charles Hicks came in to this world at 7 lbs, 4 oz and 18.5 inches in length!

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