Honoring our Veterans — Military Appreciation Month

In honor of Military Appreciation Month, we are celebrating the service of Pilam veterans by sharing some of their remarkable stories of bravery and accomplishments. 

We thank and salute all of our brothers who served and would like to help a new generation of Pilam servicemen. Please let us know if you’re a veteran, and even if you’re not, find out what you can do to help support our undergrads who have military service.

Stories of bravery and sacrifice

William “Bill” Taylor ’65 – Recipient of the Distinguished Service Cross

Captain Bill Taylor speaks to his men in Vietnam in 1966.

Bill Taylor (Univ of Florida) served in the 1st Cavalry Division as a captain in Vietnam. In 1966 his company attacked fortified Viet Cong positions in Pleiku on Hill 534. He repeatedly braved hostile fire while directing his troops and calling in air strikes on enemy positions. Outnumbered, surrounded and with casualties mounting, he was mortally wounded by an incoming mortar round. His last command to his men was, “hold the perimeter and dig in. Just tell the men to hang on.” He was posthumously awarded the Distinguished Service Cross and promoted to the rank of major.

His brothers wanted to make sure he was not forgotten. Read how University of Florida brothers honored his memory.

Marty Goldrick ’68 – Vietnam vet initiated 51 years later

Surrounded by family and brothers, Marty Goldrick was officially initiated into Pi Lambda Phi Fraternity in 2018

Marty Goldrick (UVA) joined the University of Virginia colony in 1967, a year before graduating and joining the Marine Corps. In 1969, he found himself in Vietnam leading an infantry platoon in the 1st Marine Division.

Because the VA colony was not recognized as a chapter until 1969, he was not formally initiated into Pi Lambda Phi…until recently. In 2019, his brothers made it official by initiating him in a special ceremony.

Daniel Seid – USS Seid named in his honor

Daniel Seid and the USS Seid,, named in his honor

Daniel Seid (UCLA) was a naval aviator serving on the carrier USS Enterprise at the outset of WWII. In one of the first counterstrikes against Japan, Ensign Seid participated in the attacks on the Marshall Islands on February 1, 1942. In the face of enemy fighters and heavy antiaircraft fire, he pressed his attack on enemy installations on Roi Island until he was shot down and killed in action. He was posthumously awarded the Air Medal. In 1943, the Navy named a destroyer escort in Seid’s honor, the USS Seid

Hilbert and Howard Margol ’47 – Dachau Liberator

Hilbert and Howard Margol. Twin brothers and brothers in arms.

Hilbert Margol and his twin brother Howard (Univ of Florida) served in the Army during WWII and were part of the liberation of the Dachau concentration camp. They witnessed and documented the tragedy, and took photos that are now displayed at the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum.

Hilbert now shares his story actively so that his experience is known to future generations. Read his story.

Alfred “Koko” Kovner ’42 – “Joining a fraternity…”

Alfred “Koko” Kovner with officers of Superstitious Aloysius, where he flew most of his missions.

A navigator on a B-17 bomber in WWII, Alfred Kovner (Temple) is best known by our brotherhood for his inspirational quote that truly encapsulates the fraternity experience. Like so many Americans, he answered the call of his country, serving on the flight crew of a B-17 in the Eighth Air Force. The chance of surviving the obligatory twenty-five missions before earning a ticket home was one in three. Kovner completed almost 20 missions, but he never returned home.

PA Alpha Delta alumni celebrate his sacrifice every year at a banquet named in his honor. They researched and shared the path of Alfred Kovner, including his final, fateful mission on June 21, 1944.

Herschel Mattes – Finally laid to rest at home

Hershel Mattes and an A-36 Apache fighter, an early variant of the P-51 Mustang

Herschel Mattes (Pitt) was an Army Air Corp pilot flying an A-36A Apache fighter nicknamed “Stelloola” after his little sister, Sherry. He was shot down over Italy and killed during WWII, but his body was not recovered. After years of searching, his remains were eventually found and identified in 2019, and returned home to the Mattes’ family and his sister, Sherry.

Read the fascinating story here.

Marvin Black ’50 – Navy vet returned to Okinawa 50 years later 

There was no one more suited to present the Kovner Memorial Award at the 2017 Kovner Banquet then Marv Black..

Marv Black (Temple) was a radioman on a navy landing craft during WWII. Black’s baptism under fire came in the invasion of Okinawa. Throughout the landings, his LCT (Landing Craft Tank) went ship to shore, transporting the 1st Marine Division through a gauntlet of withering enemy fire and kamikaze attacks.

To honor his brothers in arms who made the ultimate sacrifice, he returned to Okinawa with fellow veterans on the 50th anniversary of the invasion.

Harrison Dillard ’49 – Buffalo Soldier and Olympian

General George Patton once referred to Harrison Dillard (Ohio) as the “best goddamned athlete I’ve ever seen.” Known for winning four Olympic Gold Medals, Dillard was a WWII veteran who served in the 92nd Infantry Division, a historically black unit known as the Buffalo Soldiers. He served as a “grunt” in Italy in 1944 where he recalled the mortar fire, minefields, and bravery of his comrades. He was proud of his service but also remembered some of the stereotypes he and his fellow soldiers were subjected to as black soldiers.

Generals and Admirals

General Keith Dayton ’70 – Established a scholarship

General Dayton (William and Mary) spent 37 years in a variety of command and staff assignments, most recently serving as Director of the Iraq Survey Group during Operation Iraqi Freedom and then as Director of Strategy for the Office of the Deputy Chief of Staff. He retired in 2010 as a Lt. General. A scholarship was recently established in his name by his William and Mary classmates and brothers for Pilam brothers with military service.

Admiral James Zimble – Surgeon General for the Navy 

Admiral Zimble (Franklin & Marshall) reached the position of Surgeon General of the United States Navy – a position he held for four years.

Admiral Tim Riker – Coast Guard Distinguished Service Medal

Rear Admiral Riker (Baldwin Wallace) was in the Coast Guard and the Reserves for 40 years. As a Reservist he was recalled for many assignments including Desert Storm. He served in numerous posts and had many key leadership roles until his retirement in 2010.

Admiral Robert Krasner ’67 – Attending Physician to Congress

A rear admiral in the United States Navy, Krasner (Lafayette) was present at countless moments in U.S. history. He was the attending physician to congress from 1990-94, and recently donated his memorabilia to his alma mater

Admiral Julian Benjamin – Judge Advocate General, USNR

Benjamin (Miami) enlisted in the navy in WWII, and later joined the Miami Naval Reserve Law Unit. In 1980 he was promoted to Rear Admiral, Judge Advocate General of the Navy Reserve, and was the Director of Naval Reserve Law Programs, retiring in 1986. 

Would you like to support Pilam undergrads who served?

The Lt. General Keith Dayton Scholarship is open to Pilam brothers that are either veterans, currently serving in the national guard or reserve, or in a ROTC program. Learn more about the scholarship or donate. 

Did you serve?

Please let us know if you served in the military so we can recognize your service. We would love to continue honoring all of our veterans.