The West Point “Chapter” of ATO, Circa 1917

On September 11, 1865, Alpha Tau Omega was founded by three young Virginia Military Institute cadets – Otis Allan Glazebrook, Alfred Marshall, and Erskine Mayo Ross.

As VMI cadets, the three, along with most of their classmates aged 15 to 25, took part in the Battle of New Market. Ten cadets died. Another 45 were wounded. The three had seen the carnage and in founding Alpha Tau Omega they sought to reunite men in the aftermath of the Civil War.

In reading through a 1917 issue of The Palm of Alpha Tau Omega, I came across an article titled The West Point Chapter. I found it interesting that an organization founded at a southern military academy had, at one brief time, a gathering at a northern military academy. Myrl Miller, an initiate of the Wittenberg College chapter wrote:

The West Point chapter greets you! Perhaps most of you were not aware that you had a chapter at West Point, and are much surprised. This surprise is excusable, for officially there is no chapter of Alpha Tau, or of any other fraternity, at West Point. But unofficially we, seven of us, gathered together here at the Military Academy, have made so bold as to call ourselves  the “West Point Chapter.” Greek-letter designation we have none.

At the beginning of the year there were four Alpha Taus enrolled as cadets at the United States Military Academy. Already this was quite a large representation for one fraternity. But in June of this year three “plebes” entered the academy, and now we are proud to say that, so far as we have been able to discover, Alpha Tau Omega has the largest representation at Uncle Sam’s Military School of any fraternity in the country.

The seven Alpha Tau Omegas were:

George Hatton Weems, Southwestern Presbyterian University. Weems retired from the Army in 1951 with the rank of Brigadier General. He served in both World Wars. (http://1-22infantry.org/commanders/weemspers.htm)

Carroll Payne Tye,  Georgia Institute of Technology. (From a 1920 PalmCaptain Carroll P. Tye, U. S. Army, has been assigned to Pomona College, Los Angeles, California, as instructor in military science. Captain Tye, who is a native of Atlanta, Ga., recently visited his parents and while there attended a meeting of the Atlanta Alumni Association at which he gave an account of his interesting experience in Siberia.) The 1940 census has him listed as a real estate broker, living in Beverly Hills, California.

Joseph J. Twitty, Georgia Institute of Technology. Twitty retired as a Brigadier General and he served in World War I, World War II and the Korean War.

Elmer Hugo Almquist, University of Nebraska. He was still an Army man when he died in 1939 while stationed in Columbia, Missouri. (https://externalapps.westpointaog.org/Memorials/Article/5814/)

Basil H. Perry, Brown University. Perry retired from the Army in 1953 with the rank of Brigadier General. He served in both World Wars.

Charles R. Gildart, Sr., Albion College. He retired as a Colonel in 1951. (http://apps.westpointaog.org/Memorials/Article/6125/)

Myrl Miller, M.D. He died in 1981 in Akron, Ohio

Miller finished his article by noting that West Point regulations prohibited meetings of any secret organizations. He reported that free time was scarce, “but in spite of these disadvantages the spirit of fellowship among us is strong.” Moreover, he wrote, “In case there are any more A. T. O.’s who contemplate coming to West Point, we want to assure them that they will find a hearty welcome from their brothers, who will do all they can to help them through the trials which always befall the ‘plebe.'”

 

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