Cherokee Nation Deputy Chief S. Joe Crittenden, Tribal Councilor Keith Austin, U.S. Navy veteran Ernest Haynes and Principal Chief Bill John Baker.
TAHLEQUAH, Okla. – The Cherokee Nation honored four military veterans with the tribe’s Medal of Patriotism during the December Tribal Council meeting Monday.
Ernest E. Haynes, 87, of Claremore; James R. Nelson, 73, of Muldrow; Jamie Cochran, 75, of Tahlequah; and Jeremiah Cochran, 75, of Trussville, Alabama, were recognized by Cherokee Nation Principal Chief Bill John Baker and Deputy Chief S. Joe Crittenden, acknowledging their service and sacrifice to their country.
In 1948, at the age of 17, Aviation Boatswain’s Mate 3rd Class Haynes entered the U.S. Navy and left home for San Diego. In 1949, Haynes was assigned a temporary duty to an Amphibious Base at Coronado Island in California. He was then assigned to the USS Boxer Air Craft Carrier. In 1950, Haynes was sent to Naval Air Station, North Island, in San Diego and served as fire suppression and pilot rescue personnel. He enlisted for a one-year extended tour duty in 1951 due to the Korean Conflict and received an honorable discharge in 1952. Haynes received the Navy Good Conduct Medal and National Defense Service Medal for his service.
“I want to thank the Cherokee Nation for thinking enough of me to give me this award. I really appreciate it,” Haynes said.
Spc. Nelson was drafted into the U.S. Army at the age of 20 in 1965 and was sent to Fort Polk in Louisiana for six weeks of basic training. Nelson was then transferred to Fort Eustis in Virginia for advanced individual training and was made a movement specialist. After four weeks of additional training, Nelson was assigned to the U.S. Military Assistance Command in Saigon, Vietnam. Nelson was ultimately designated to be an advisor to the Army of the Republic of Vietnam. He traveled throughout South Vietnam in that capacity for one tour. Nelson returned stateside and completed his service at Fort Polk and received an honorable discharge in 1967. Nelson received the Vietnam Service Medal, Vietnam Campaign Service Medal and National Defense Service Medal for his service.
Sgt. Jamie Cochran enlisted in the U.S. Marine Corps in 1963. During his four years of service, Cochran spent time in different Marine Corps camps. The various places he was stationed included a one-year deployment to Vietnam, where he was part of a team that unloaded various ships with artillery, explosives and other supplies at the Chu Li Air Base. Cochran returned stateside to Camp Pendleton in California and received an honorable discharge in 1967. He received the Good Conduct Medal, National Defense Service Medal and Armed Forces Expeditionary Medal with One Star for his service.
In 1963, Spc. Jeremiah Cochran enlisted in the Army and was sent to Fort Polk for training. Cochran was then sent to Fort Rucker Military Post for three months while he awaited his orders for Vietnam. After a year’s time stateside at Fort Campbell in Kentucky, he returned overseas to Germany for a year deployment before being sent back to Vietnam in 1966. After two tours in Vietnam and two tours in Germany, Cochran received an honorable discharge in 1970.
Each month the Cherokee Nation recognizes Cherokee service men and women for their sacrifices and as a way to demonstrate the high regard in which all veterans are held by the tribe. Native Americans, including Cherokees, are thought to have more citizens serving per capita than any other ethnic group according to the U.S. Department of Defense. To nominate a veteran who is a Cherokee Nation citizen, please call 918-772-4166.
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