First Recipients of Phi Kappa Psi Military Medal Named;
to be Honored at a Future Date.
The Phi Kappa Psi Fraternity has announced today that the first two recipients of the newly created Phi Kappa Psi Military Recognition Medal will be Elma Letterman and her late husband Dr. Gordon S. Letterman, Missouri '38, the grandson of founder William Henry Letterman.
Both Dr. and Mrs. Letterman answered the call to service for their country during World War II. Dr. Letterman served as a surgeon in the U.S. Naval Medical Corps, while Mrs. Letterman spent her service in the Navy Nurse Corps. Each of them treated wounded soldiers in the Pacific Theater of operation.
National President of Phi Kappa Psi, A. Scott Noble, Texas '81, had high praise for Dr. and Mrs. Letterman when he made the announcement earlier today.
"Nothing could be more in line with the values and character of the men of Phi Kappa Psi than to award the first recipient of the Phi Kappa Psi Military Medal to Mrs. Elma Letterman. Mrs. Elma Letterman, now 95 years young, is the widow of the grandson of Phi Kappa Psi co-founder William Henry Letterman and mother of great-grandson Gordon R. Letterman (West Virginia '72). Her nursing career spanned over 50 years, including serving as a flight nurse in the Navy Nurse Corps in the Pacific Theater during World War II. As the war ended, she also flew into Saipan and other locations to evacuate recently-freed POWs who required medical attention."
Brother Letterman will posthumously receive the Fraternity's second medal. He served from 1944 to 1946 first as a surgeon aboard LST 931 during the invasions of Iwo Jima and Okinawa, and later on Base 18 in Guam. He then continued his career as a surgeon, and a dedicated brother, serving the Fraternity as both Surgeon General and Surgeon General Emeritus before his passing in 2001.
Speaking on the creation of the medal, President Noble stated: "The Phi Psi Military Recognition Medal is a meaningful way to publicly honor our brothers who served in the U.S. Armed Forces, as service is the very essence of both our fraternity and the military. Selfless service to our country is a core military tradition exemplified by these brothers and veterans, who also live the Fraternity's motto of 'The great joy of serving others.' Phi Kappa Psi hopes to recognize their sacrifices with this award, which is rare among national fraternities."
With this, Phi Kappa Psi becomes one of just a small handful of Greek-Letter Societies to award and recognize members who have entered military service.
This will be the Fraternity's second award presented to Mrs. Letterman, who received the Ladies Silver Bowl in 1976, awarded biennially to honor the contributions of a special Phi Psi Sweetheart. The Ladies Silver Bowl now bears the name of Anna Ritchie Letterman, mother of Fraternity Founder William Henry Letterman.
While the recognition medals are still in production, a special certificate and presentation are being prepared and will be presented to Mrs. Letterman by a special delegation from the Fraternity soon.
Brothers across the country who have served, or are currently serving in our nation's military, are encouraged to visit the Fraternity's website and submit the form at www.phikappapsi.com/programs/militarypin to ensure that they receive updates as they become available.
The Phi Kappa Psi Fraternity is a 501(c)(7) association that engages men of integrity, further develops their intellect and enhances community involvement. With a legacy built on acceptance and trust, each brother realizes his highest potential through a lifelong experience of service and excellence. Founded on February 19, 1852 at Jefferson College by William Henry Letterman and Charles Page Thomas Moore, more than 117,000 men have been initiated into the organization in its history.