Seneca Battalion Hall of Fame
Members Inducted in 1999
Colonel Paul E. Donnelly
Class of 1941
Paul E. Donnelly was born in Canada and earned a Bachelor of Science degree from St. Bonaventure College in 1941. He was commissioned a field artillery second lieutenant that same year, and reported soon after to Fort Sill, Oklahoma, where he received his initial branch training. In September 1942, he graduated in the 35th basic parachutist class at Fort Benning, Georgia. He became a battery commander in the 376th Parachute Field Artillery Battalion, 82d Airborne Division at Fort Bragg, North Carolina in September 1942. From then until June 1948, he served as a field artillery officer in the 82d Airborne Division, holding positions as battery commander, liaison officer, communications officer, adjutant and other staff assignments. His tenure with the newly formed division included participation in the Sicily, Naples-Foggia, Anzio, Rome-Arno, Rhineland, Ardennes-Alsace and Central Europe campaigns, including several combat jumps, during World War II.
Assigned to the post-World War II 82d Airborne Division, Captain Donnelly was selected to serve as a State Department observer on the United Nations Truce Commission in Palestine in 1948. He returned to Fort Bragg as a battalion executive officer in the 82d Airborne 319th Field Artillery Battalion, serving in several other staff positions until he attended the Advanced Field Artillery Officer Course in 1950. Upon graduation, he remained at Fort Sill as an instructor, then received special weapons training. His third overseas tour was as a commander and advisor in Thailand from 1954 until 1955. Major Donnelly returned to St. Bonaventure in 1954 as an assistant professor of military science, working very closely with the corps of cadets. He was influential in mentoring the Class of 1956 that produced two future general officers, Maj. Gen. (Ret.) John Mitchell and Brig. Gen. (Ret) Joseph Nagel. Advanced military schooling followed, and after being promoted to lieutenant colonel, Donnelly commanded a missile battalion in the 81st Artillery, Federal Republic of Germany from 1959 until 1961.
Following this command, Donnelly received additional special weapons training and was assigned to NORAD (North American Air Defense Command) in Colorado Springs, Colorado, where he eventually served as the acting chief of intelligence for the director of threat assessment, CONAD (Continental Air Command). In January 1965, he began his fifth overseas tour as plans officer, U.S. Military Assistance Command-Vietnam. Returning to the United States in January 1966, he became chief, Organization and Training Branch, DCS Intelligence at Fort Monroe, Virginia. In May 1967, he supervised ROTC training as chief of the Training and Education Division, which was his last assignment before retiring in 1974. Colonel Donnelly awards and decorations include the Legion of Merit, Bronze Star, Meritorious Service Medal, Army Commendation Medal, Europe-Africa-Middle East Campaign Medal (arrow head device and 7 bronze service stars), World War II Victory Medal, Army of Occupation Medal (Germany), National Defense Service Medal with Oak Leaf Cluster, Vietnam Service Medal, Republic of Vietnam Campaign Medal with Device, the Master Parachutist Badge with Combat Stars, Belgian Fourragere, Netherlands Orange Lanyard, Republic of Vietnam Gallantry Cross with Palm Unit Citation and seven Overseas Service Bars.
Lieutenant Robert A. Gavin
Class of 1951
Born on 20 August 1927, Robert A. Gavin was the son of Mr. and Mrs. Bernard Gavin and the brother of Frances A. and Rev. Robert Gavin, O.F.M. of Olean, New York. He attended St. Mary's Academy and graduated from Olean High School in 1945.
He enlisted in the U.S. Army at the close of World War II and served at Fort Dix, New Jersey from October 1945 until November 1946, when he was honorably discharged as a corporal. Upon graduation from St. Bonaventure University with a Bachelor of Business Administration degree in 1951, Gavin earned his commission as a second lieutenant in field Artillery. Called to active duty later that year, he served with the 82d Airborne Division at Fort Bragg, North Carolina and took part in the Texas Maneuvers during the fall of 1952 at Fort Bliss, Texas.
Second Lieutenant Gavin completed the anti-aircraft and guided missile courses at Fort Bliss, and was assigned overseas, first in Japan, and then in Korea. He served in combat for two months as a forward observer in the 48th Field Artillery Battalion, 7th Infantry Division. In February 1953, Gavin became an automatic weapons platoon leader in the 15th AAAAW Battalion. On Tuesday, 24 March 1953, near Sonbyok, Korea, Gavin was leading his platoon under intense North Korean fire. St. Bonaventure student newspaper, The Bona Venture, reported on 30 October 1953,
"Lieutenant Gavin distinguished himself by going forward under enemy mortar fire to aid one of his wounded men. Upon hearing that another one of his men had been hit, the platoon leader went forward again. Although he returned both men, Lt. Gavin suffered fatal wounds from mortar fragments."
One of the 27 men whose names are on the memorial stone located outside the Regina A. Quick Center for the Arts at St. Bonaventure University, Robert A. Gavin '51 was awarded posthumously the Silver Star, for gallantry in action near Sonbyok, Korea.
Colonel John M. Hart
Class of 1941
A 1941 graduate of St. Bonaventure College, John M. Hart earned his Bachelor of Arts degree and commission as a second lieutenant of field artillery from the St. Bonaventure Army ROTC program. Upon completing the Field Artillery Officer Basic Course, he was assigned to the 2nd Armored Division, with whom he served throughout World War II "from Benning to Berlin." His assignments in the division 78th Field Artillery Battalion included aerial observer, battery executive officer and assistant S3/fire direction officer, and he saw combat in North Africa, Sicily, Normandy and the Rhineland, Ardennes-Alsace and Central European campaigns, including assault landings at Sicily and Normandy. Between World War II and the Korean War, Hart returned to Fort Benning, where he was assigned to the 83rd Field Artillery Battalion, 319th Field Artillery Regiment (also known as School Troops Battalion). In 1949, he went to Fort Sill, Oklahoma to complete the Field Artillery Officer Advanced Course, and was then assigned as survey instructor in Fort Sill department of observation (target acquisition). Upon completion of the Command and General Staff College at Fort Leavenworth, Kansas, he departed for Korea, and joined the 3rd Infantry Division, where he worked in DIVARTY as the S \_3 and S\_2 at different times during his second combat tour.
Returning from Korea, Hart completed the Strategic Intelligence School and then served in the Pentagon from 1953 until 1956, before returning to Fort Bragg to command three different battalions in the XV III Airborne Corps Artillery. He commanded a 155mm howitzer unit (777th Field Artillery Battalion), then the 250th Field Artillery Battalion, which had the honor of being the first Honest John Battalion east of the Mississippi, and finally the 83rd Field Artillery Battalion (8" Howitzer). He was also executive officer of the 54th Field Artillery Group, acting G3 of the XVIII Airborne Corps Artillery and field artillery staff officer of the XVIII Airborne Corps tactical operations center (TOC). He was also selected to observe the last testing of an atomic weapon at White Sands Missile Range, New Mexico. He completed the Senior Officer Nuclear Weapons Employment Course at Fort Leavenworth, Kansas in 1958 and then went to Japan for a three-year assignment as chief of the surface to air missile branch, before he finally returned to St. Bonaventure University in 1962. At St. Bonaventure, Hart spent five years as the professor of military science, whereupon he retired from active duty in 1967.
Colonel Hart is the honorary colonel of the 78th Artillery regiment. His awards and decorations include the Silver Star, Legion of Merit, Soldiers Medal, Bronze Star (2 oak leaf clusters), Army Commendation Medal, American Defense Service Medal, Europe-Africa-Middle East Campaign Medal (arrowhead device and 7 bronze service stars), World War II Victory Medal, Army of Occupation Medal (Germany), National Defense Service Medal with Oak Leaf Cluster, Korean Service Medal (3 bronze service stars), United Nations Korean Service Medal, Belgian Fourragere, French Croix de Guerre with Silver Star, the Presidential Unit Citation, Distinguished Unit Citation (with oak leaf cluster) and the Republic of Korea Unit Citation.
Colonel Leo E. Keenan III
Class of 1971
An Olean, New York resident, Leo E. Keenan III was a Distinguished Military Graduate of St. Bonaventure University Class of 1971. He was commissioned a second lieutenant of armor and immediately following graduation he reported to Fort Hood, Texas where he was assigned as a platoon leader in the 1-13th Armor.
After several months, Keenan attended the Armor Officer Basic Course at Fort Knox and was reassigned to Fort Carson, Colorado, where he was a tank platoon leader, tank company executive officer, and battalion S-1. In 1974 Lieutenant Keenan reported into the 3rd Armored Division (2-33rd Armor in Kirchgons, Federal Republic of Germany) where he served as a tank company executive officer, battalion S-1 and a tank company commander. During his 39 months in Germany he was also an aide-de-camp for the assistant division commander. Returning to the U.S., Captain Keenan reported to St. Bonaventure University as an Assistant Professor of Military Science, serving at his from 1978 until 1980. He subsequently was assigned to Fort Leavenworth, Kansas as a project officer for the Army Training and Evaluation Program (ARTEP), and assistant secretary for the Command and General Staff College (CGSC).
In 1985, Major Keenan began another overseas tour in Germany with the 1st Armored Division. From 1985 through 1989, he served as a tank battalion executive officer for 1-13th Armor in Illesheim; director of personnel and community affairs (DPCA) for the Ansbach Military Community; and then as the secretary of the general staff for the 1st Armored Division in Ansbach. Lieutenant Colonel Keenan returned to Fort Carson in 1989 to assume command of the 2-77 Armor Battalion (Iron Tigers). Following command he became the force integration staff officer and chief of staff for the 4th Infantry Division Rear Command Post. In 1993 Colonel Keenan reported to Cadet Command at Fort Monroe, Virginia, where he was assigned as the director of personnel and administration for three years. On 30 September 1996, Colonel Keenan retired from active duty after serving for more than 25 years.
Colonel Keenan military schooling includes the United States Army War College, The U.S. Army Command and General Staff College, the U.S. Army Infantry Officer Advanced Course, Organizational Maintenance Officer Course, Armor Officer Basic Course and Airborne School. In addition to his Bachelor of Arts degree in History, he earned a Master of Science in Education-Counseling from St. Bonaventure University in 1981. His awards include the Legion of Merit, Meritorious Service Medal (3 Oak Leaf Clusters), the Army Commendation Medal, the National Defense Service Medal (2d award) Army Service Ribbon, Overseas Service Ribbon (2d award) and the Parachutist Badge. He also was awarded the Order of St. George Medal for his years of service as an armor officer.
Sergeant Major David M. Lewis Jr.
Class of 1981
Born in Norwood, West Virginia, David M. Lewis began his 30-year military career at Fort Bragg, North Carolina in August 1956, when he was assigned to the 82d Airborne Division after completing Infantry Advanced Individual Training and the U.S . Army Airborne School. He soon applied for and was accepted as a candidate for the recently established U.S. Army Special Forces, with whom he eventually served in the 5th, 7th and 10th Special Forces Groups.
Assigned to duty as a Special Forces NCO in Vietnam, he served in combat for more than two years in six different campaigns, including a posting as a Cambodian irregular infantry company commander. He led soldiers through more than 50 firefights while conducting reconnaissance patrols along the in famous Ho Chi Min trail.
During the period following the Vietnam War, Lewis spent a great portion of his time in overseas assignments, including tours of duty in Bad Tolz, Germany, Okinawa and Thailand. He graduated from a variety of specialized military schools, to include: U.S. Army and Department of Defense language schools (Hebrew and German), JFK Special Warfare Center Civil Affairs and Psychological Operations courses, the Danish combat swimmer course and several European military parachutist schools.
Ultimately, he would use his extensive military schooling and combat experience to influence a generation of U.S. Army officers as a member of St. Bonaventure University Army ROTC cadre for an unprecedented 11 years (1975-1986.) Throughout that time, he shared the wealth of his knowledge and experience with the Army upcoming leaders, who in turn carried his legacy into the renaissance of the U.S. Army. During his many years of affiliation with St. Bonaventure, he established the Ranger program, served as moderator of several classes and was the adjutant and commandant of cadets. He earned his Bachelor of Arts in social science from St. Bonaventure in 1981. In 1986, 30 years after first entering the military, Sergeant Major Lewis jumped at the Fort Benning Airborne School with his son, David III, who was commissioned as an infantry officer from St. Bonaventure in 1988.
Sergeant Major Lewis' 22 military awards include the Legion of Merit, Bronze Star, Purple Heart, Army Commendation Medal (1 Oak Leaf Cluster and device for valor, Good Conduct Medal (10th Award), National Defense Service Medal, Armed Forces Expeditionary Medal, Vietnam Service Medal with 6 Service Stars, NCO Professional Development Ribbon with Numeral 1, Army Service Ribbon, Overseas Service Ribbon with Numeral l, Republic of Vietnam Campaign Medal with Device, Presidential Unit Citation, Meritorious Unit Commendation, Combat Infantryman Badge, Special Forces Tab, Master Parachutist Badge, German and Greek Parachutist Badges, Republic of Vietnam Gallantry Cross with Palm Unit Citation, Vietnam Civic Action Medal-1st Class and four Overseas Service Bars.
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