Seneca Battalion Hall of Fame
Members Inducted in 2000
Leo E. Keenan, Jr. '47
Lieutenant Colonel, USAF, Retired
Born in Olean, New York, Leo E. Keenan, Jr. enlisted in the United States Naval Reserve and trained as a destroyer crewmember in 1939. His family, which had moved to Buffalo, returned to Olean in 1940, and Keenan received a discharge from the Navy in order to enroll in St. Bonaventure College's Army Reserve Officer Training Corps program. From 1940 until 1943, Keenan was a student and ROTC cadet at St. Bonaventure. Upon completion of his junior year, his entire ROTC class was called to active duty, and Keenan reported to Fort Bragg, North Carolina, where he completed the Field Artillery Basic Training Course.
Corporal Keenan was ordered to return to St. Bonaventure and assigned to temporary duty at the College. He requested a release from his commitment to the Field Artillery branch in order to volunteer for service in the U.S. Army Air Corps, which was an arm of the Army at the time. The professor of military science made the required arrangements, and by January 1944, Keenan had been released for assessment and subsequent training as an Army Air Corps officer candidate.
He reported to Nashville, Tennessee for classification, then was assigned to Maxwell Army Air Base for pre-flight training. On 30 September 1944, Keenan was commissioned a second lieutenant in the Army Air Corps as a bombardier. Almost immediately, Lieutenant Keenan was ordered to Hondo, Texas for additional flight training as navigator. Upon earning his second flight crew certification in February 1945, this time as a navigator, he reported to Greenville Army Air Base, Greenville, South Carolina for B-25 "Mitchell" transition training. His flight experience with the B-25 eventually brought him to Hamilton Air Force Base and a point of embarkation, but the surrender of the Japanese in August 1945, forced the Air Corps to revoke his orders. He was assigned to stateside duty until December 1945.
Upon his release from active duty, Keenan returned to St. Bonaventure, where he completed his bachelor of arts degree in 1947. He earned his master's degree at Cornell University and, after teaching English at Niagara University for one year, returned to St. Bonaventure to begin a teaching career that would ultimately span 50 years. He remained a member of the United States Air Force Reserve, serving as the adjutant of a Western New York based squadron, and as a captain was selected to serve as a regional liaison to the newly established United States Air Force Academy. In this capacity, he served until his retirement as a lieutenant colonel in 1981. Keenan coordinated the Academy's presence with educators and high school students in 14 southwestern New York school districts, and helped to ensure the region's representation at one of the Nation's most prestigious educational institutions.
Throughout his tenure as a member of the faculty, Professor Keenan counseled the Army ROTC cadets who enrolled in his popular public speaking course. A constant voice in support of Army ROTC, he was elected to the University's first board of military evaluation and has remained a member through four decades, ensuring a sense of tradition in the formation of the lieutenants who have earned their commissions from St. Bonaventure. Lieutenant Colonel Keenan's military awards include the Air Force Commendation Medal, the Air Force Reserve Medal with oak leaf cluster, the Good Conduct Medal, the American Campaign Medal, the WW II Victory Medal and the Presidential Unit Citation.
Thomas D. (Tim) Moore '40
Killed in Action on 19 December 1944 at Bastogne, Belgium
Thomas D. Moore was born to Mr. and Mrs. John D. Moore on 15 August 1918 in Olean, New York. He graduated from Olean High School in 1936 and joined the newly formed Army Reserve Officer Training Corps (ROTC) program as a freshman at St. Bonaventure College. He graduated from St. Bonaventure with a Bachelor of Arts in sociology in 1940, and earned a commission as a second lieutenant of field artillery in the U.S. Army Reserve. The need to supplement the peacetime Army with officers had not arisen, and Moore took a job at the Bell Aircraft Corporation in Buffalo, New York. A 1 January 1942 telegram, however, informed him of the requirement to report for active duty, and he was transferred to the active component on 14 January 1942.
Reporting to Fort Bragg, North Carolina, Lieutenant Moore received additional instruction at Fort Jackson, South Carolina before completing the Field Artillery Officer's Basic Course at Fort Sill, Oklahoma. He participated in desert maneuvers in Arizona, was then sent to Camp Pickett, Virginia and at Norfolk, Virginia, completed an intensive program of instruction in amphibious warfare. Finally, he reported to Fort Meade, Maryland to await transfer to the European Theatre of Operations.
A member of the 101st Airborne Division's 907th Glider Field Artillery Battalion, Moore arrived in England in May 1944. He was assigned as a forward observer and spent that summer training with glider and parachute troops. On 17 September, he entered combat aboard a glider, participating in the largest and most daring airborne operation of the War, Operation Market Garden. The 101st Airborne, along with other Allied units, liberated several Dutch towns and Moore fought in a series of fierce engagements against stubborn German forces. After 72 consecutive days of combat, Moore and his comrades were relieved and allowed to refit near Mourmelon-le-Grand, France on 28 November 1944.
By the night of 17 December, the Germans were making an unexpected counteroffensive into a part of the Allied line that would come to be known as the Battle of the Bulge. Moore and nearly 12,000 other "Screaming Eagles" traveled 107 miles in open trucks and mounted a defense near the strategically important town of Bastogne, Belgium. Engaged without rest for nearly two days, Lieutenant Moore was directing artillery fires for the heavily outnumbered division when he decided that he was not getting the results he wanted. Determining he could better complete his mission from a different point, he crossed a railroad embankment to occupy a new position. Soon after, however, a mortar shell landed in close proximity to him, and a fragment struck Moore, killing him instantly.
In recognition of the decision he made, without regard to his own safety, First Lieutenant Moore was posthumously awarded the Purple Heart and the Silver Star - one of the Nation's highest awards for valor. He was initially interred near Verdun, France, but at the request of his mother, his body was moved to the St. Bonaventure Cemetery, where he rests as one of the heroes of World War II.
Vernon R. Rottstedt '40
Born in Olean, New York, Vernon R. Rottstedt began at St. Bonaventure College on a football scholarship, graduating in 1940 with a Bachelor of Arts degree. Although he had taken the Colleges prescribed ROTC course of instruction, he was commissioned before completing its requirements under the provisions of the Tomlinson Act of 1939 and became the first St. Bonaventure officer to be commissioned into the Regular Army.
Completing the Field Artillery Officer Basic Course, he was assigned to the First Infantry Division and spent World War II with the "Big Red One." As commander of Battery A, 5th Field Artillery Bn., near Gela, Sicily on 11 July 1943, Captain Rottstedt earned the Silver Star for gallantry in action when German tanks attacked his observation post, severely wounding his instrument sergeant. He administered first aid and then carried the wounded man, over terrain swept by heavy artillery and small arms fire, to the battery position. He then established a new OP and continued to fire on the enemy until they withdrew. His heroic action undoubtedly saved the life of the wounded man and his courage and determination in the face of the enemy tank attack aided materially in securing the division beachhead. His combat service continued, as he landed on D+3 at Normandy and served throughout the European Theatre until the end of the War.
In 1945, Rottstedt graduated from the Officer's Refresher Course at Fort Sill, Oklahoma. He graduated from the Artillery Officer Advanced Course in 1951, and served in Turkey until 1952. He completed the AAA & Guided MSL Course at Fort Bliss, Texas in 1953.
Rottstedt graduated from the Command & General Staff College in 1959, whereupon he once again served in an overseas assignment, assisting in the selection of NIKE Hercules missile sites and conducting annual service practice for air defense units in Hawaii and Taiwan.
He attained the rank of colonel on 2 October 1964.
A Distinguished Member of the 5th Artillery Regiment, Rottstedt maintained his affiliation with that organization after his retirement, earning a certificate of achievement from the 1st Battalion, 5th Field Artillery (Fort Riley, Kansas) for support of that organization's families during Operation Desert Storm in 1991.
His awards and decorations include the Silver Star, Legion of Merit, Commendation Ribbon with Metal Pendant, Army Commendation Medal with oak leaf cluster, National Defense Service Medal, American Campaign Medal, Europe-Africa-Middle East Campaign Medal with arrowhead device and three campaign stars and the World War II Victory Medal.
Ray H. Smith '43
Ray Hosley Smith was born in Sharon Township (Potter County), Pa. on 14 February 1923. He enrolled in St. Bonaventure's Army ROTC program, but did not attend the mandatory summer camp in 1942, as the U.S. entry into World War II required the Army to cancel that component of ROTC. Instead, he graduated with a Bachelor of Science in 1943 and went directly to Officer Candidate School to earn his commission as a second lieutenant of field artillery at Fort Sill, Oklahoma on 16 September 1943.
Assigned to the 276th Field Artillery Battalion as a forward observer, he served with the Third Army throughout the European Theatre during World War II. After the War, he became a radar test officer with the Army Field Forces Board at Fort Bragg, North Carolina and was integrated into the Regular Army in 1947. He earned a master's of science in Engineering from Johns Hopkins University in 1949 under the Army graduate study program.
Assigned to the Armed Forces Special Weapons Project at Sandia, New Mexico and Killeen, Texas from 1949 until 1953, Smith eventually became electrical supervisor and AEC-COD chief inspector, which led to a tour as the Army representative in the Joint War Room Annex at the Pentagon. Smith was the atomic briefing officer for the Joint Chiefs of Staff and he later attended the Artillery Officer Advanced Course before returning to troop duty from 1955-1957 as S3 and executive officer of Corporal missile battalions, S3 of a field artillery group and battalion commander of an Honest John rocket battalion at Fort Bliss. He graduated from the Command and General Staff College in 1958, and became the technical liaison officer to the Atomic Energy Contractors at Sandia until 1961. Assigned to Korea, Smith was chief of the technical inspections division in the office of the Eighth Army Inspector General from 1961-1962. A second tour at the Pentagon allowed him to serve as action officer in the Nuclear Division, Army Deputy Chief of Staff for Operations and ACSFOR from 1962 until 1965.
He was selected to attend the National War College at Fort McNair, Washington, D.C. from 1965-1966, and then joined the 9th Infantry Division Artillery at Fort Riley, Kansas as executive officer of the 9th ID Artillery. Sent to Vietnam for a second combat tour in 1967, Smith commanded the 1st Battalion, 84th Artillery (155 mm) (8 inch), 9th Infantry Division, then joined the U.S. Army Vietnam Headquarters as chief of the artillery section. Smith returned to the United States to command the 1st Field Artillery Brigade at Fort Sill from 1968-1969, and was the deputy commander of III Corps Artillery from 1969 until 1970. Completing his extensive service in both conventional and nuclear field artillery assignments, Smith's final assignment was as Chief, U.S. Army Nuclear and Chemical Surety Group, Fort Belvoir, Virginia from 1970 until his retirement in 1973.
During more than 30 years of active service, Smith earned the following awards and decorations: the Silver Star, Legion of Merit with two oak leaf clusters, Bronze Star, Purple Heart, Meritorious Service Medal, Air Medal, Army Commendation Medal, National Defense Service Medal, Vietnam Service Medal, American Campaign Medal, Europe-Africa-Middle East Campaign Medal with three campaign stars, World War II Victory Medal and the Vietnam Campaign Medal with 2 campaign stars.
Rev. Dominic Ternan, O.F.M. '37
Killed in Action on 19 June 1944
near Valognes, France
Dominic Ternan was born to Mr. and Mrs. Bernard O. Ternan in Brooklyn, New York, on 8 November 1902. In 1927, he graduated from Fordham University, where he played on both the football and basketball teams. He took a job in the New York Telephone Company's Bronx office until he entered the Franciscan Novitiate at Patterson, New Jersey in the summer of 1934.
An early member of Jesuit Father John Corbett's St. Patrick's Clerical Club "an organization founded to foster belated vocations to the priesthood"Ternan donned his brown habit and pronounced his simple vows as a Franciscan on 27 August 1934. For the next four years, he studied theology at Holy Name College (the seminary affiliated with St. Bonaventure College.) There, he pronounced his solemn vows on 17 September 1937. On 30 September 1937, he was ordained to the priesthood, which to him "was such a sacred trust, such a tremendous responsibility that in contrast all else paled into insignificance." Father Dominic's first and only appointment was to the Monastery of St. Francis of Assisi, New York City in July 1938. At St. Francis, he showed the greatest interest in caring for the sick in hospitals. He also sought out every opportunity to work among the underprivileged.
In April 1942, Father Dominic enlisted in the U.S. Army Chaplains Corps, and received initial training at Fort Benjamin Harrison, Indiana before being assigned as headquarters chaplain of the 79th Infantry Division at Camp Pickett, Virginia. He subsequently moved with the division as it received additional training at Camps Blanding and Phillips. Father Dominic sailed to England with the 79th Infantry Division and participated in the invasion of Normandy. It was said of him, "Because of his rugged constitution, he could endure all the physical hardships that his men did, and that to them, he was really a padre, with all the affection that soldiers are accustomed to use in that term."
Less than two weeks after Allied forces secured the beachhead, the 79th Infantry Division was on the Cotentin Peninsula of France, about to attack from the north bank of the Douve River toward the strategic port city of Cherbourg. Ternan jumped off with lead elements of his unit at 0500 on 19 June 1944. Somewhere near the village of Valognes, Father Dominic stopped to administer to one of his boys who had been wounded. Turning his back on the German lines while administering the Last Sacraments, he was hit in the back by a German sniper, falling over the body of the soldier he went to aid.
Father Dominic was the first American Franciscan to die on a World War II battlefield. He was posthumously awarded the Silver Star for gallantry, and his life stands as a significant link between the values of the Franciscan Friars who founded St. Bonaventure, and the Army ROTC program that College President Father Thomas Plassmann, O.F.M. established at the College in 1936. The memory of Father Dominic is memorialized on a monument at St. Bonaventure that recognizes Bonaventure's own who made the highest sacrifice in defense of their country.
David S. Weisman '79 M.S.
A native of Poughkeepsie, New York, David S. Weisman was born on 15 March 1946 and enlisted in the U.S. Army after completing high school. Selected to attend Officer Candidate School, he earned his commission as an infantry second lieutenant on 6 November 1967, then completed the Infantry Officer's Basic Course. His initial assignment was as a staff officer in the 82nd Airborne Division's 2nd Battalion, 508th Infantry Regiment at Fort Bragg North Carolina.
From August 1968 until September 1969, Lieutenant Weisman was an intelligence officer in the U.S. Military Assistance Command, Republic of Vietnam. He stayed in Vietnam for a second tour, returning to the 2nd Battalion, 508th Infantry as adjutant. Continuing his service as a paratrooper, he assumed command of Company A, 1st Battalion, 504th Infantry at Fort Bragg in February 1970, before returning to Vietnam for a third tour, this time as the S-2 and later company commander in the 3rd Battalion, 503rd Infantry (173rd Airborne Brigade).
He was selected to command his third company, this time in the 101st Airborne Division's 3rd Battalion, 187th Infantry at Fort Campbell, Kentucky. He later served in several staff assignments in the battalion and in the division's Third Brigade. In April 1974, he graduated from the Infantry Officer Advanced Course, then completed his bachelor's degree at the University of Tampa in 1975. His next assignment was as assistant professor of military science at St. Bonaventure University, where he earned a master's degree in June 1979. He was selected to attend the Army Command and General Staff College, and was later assigned to several positions in Germany, including S3 and XO of the 1st Battalion, 54th Infantry, 1st Armored Division. He returned to the U.S. for several staff assignments in Forces Command.
Promoted to lieutenant colonel, Weisman returned to the 1st Armored Division to command the 2nd Battalion, 6th Infantry in July 1986. He next served in the Office of the Inspector General, VII Corps in Europe, and was selected to attend the U.S. Naval War College in Newport, Rhode Island. Assigned as the Secretary of the General Staff, U.S. Army Europe, he was promoted to colonel and took command of the Third Brigade, 2nd Armored Division, which he commanded during Operations Desert Shield and Desert Storm. Colonel Weisman served in several key staff assignments in Europe, ultimately becoming Secretary to the General Staff, Land Forces Central Europe, Allied Forces Central Europe. He returned to the U.S. as the Assistant Division Commander of the 24th Infantry Division. Promoted to brigadier general and then major general, he held several important senior staff positions in the Pentagon, including Deputy Director for Politico-Military Affairs, J5 and Vice Director, J5 of the Joint Staff.
A graduate of the British High Command and Staff College, Lieutenant General Weisman is currently the U.S. Military Representative to the NATO Military Committee in Belgium. His awards and decorations include the Defense Distinguished Service Medal, Defense Superior Service Medal, Legion of Merit (with two Oak Leaf Clusters), Bronze Star Medal (with Oak Leaf Cluster), Meritorious Service Medal (with two Oak Leaf Clusters), Air Medal, Army Commendation Medal, Army Achievement Medal, Combat Infantryman Badge, Senior Parachutist Badge, the Army Staff and Joint Staff Identification Badges, and the Germany Army Proficiency Badge in Gold, several campaign medals and unit citations.
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