(L to R) Cherokee Nation Tribal Councilor Keith Austin, U.S. Army and Korean War veteran George Green, Cherokee Nation Deputy Chief S. Joe Crittenden and Principal Chief Bill John Baker.
TAHLEQUAH, Okla. – The Cherokee Nation honored five military veterans with the tribe’s Medal of Patriotism during the March Tribal Council meeting Monday.
Philip Viles Jr.,72, of Tulsa; Jerrald Richerson, 45, of Muskogee; Amon Baker, 92, of Tahlequah; George Green, 84, of Oologah; and Kenneth Haddock, 76, of Bixby, were recognized by Cherokee Nation Principal Chief Bill John Baker and Deputy Chief S. Joe Crittenden, acknowledging their service and sacrifice to their country.
Cpt. Viles was born in July 1946 and enlisted in the U.S. Air Force in 1968. Viles reported to North Dakota where he served for two years in radar and radio maintenance and was later deployed to Pleiku, Vietnam, where he served as an advisor to Vietnamese forces. He returned stateside after serving two years overseas. Viles received an honorable discharge in 1972.
“I thank the Cherokee Nation for this award. I am very grateful to the people I served with, and I particularly want to recognize those that did not make it home,” said Viles, who also served on the Cherokee Nation’s Judicial Appeals Tribunal from 1976 to 2002.
Sgt. Richerson was born in November 1972 and enlisted in the U.S. Army in 2000. After completing training at Fort Lee in Virginia, he was deployed to South Korea where he served for one year before returning stateside. Richerson was honorably discharged and re-enlisted in 2003. During his second enlistment he was deployed to Kuwait in preparation for advancement into Iraq as part of Operation Iraqi Freedom. Richerson returned stateside and received an honorable discharge in 2004.
Petty Officer 2nd Class Baker was born in March 1926 and enlisted in the U.S. Navy in 1944 at the age of 18. Baker was stationed in Idaho before being deployed overseas, where he was stationed on board the USS Takanis Bay. Baker returned stateside after one year and continued his service in Washington. He was honorably discharged in 1946. Baker also served on the tribe's Tribal Council from 1979 to 1991, and is currently the president of the Sequoyah Schools Board of Education.
Pfc. Green was born in March 1934 and drafted into the U.S. Army in 1953. Green served in Washington before being deployed to South Korea with the 13th Field Artillery. He served overseas in Korea for one year before returning stateside. Green was honorably discharged in 1955.
Airman 1st Class Haddock was born in May 1942 and enlisted in the U.S. Air Force in 1960. Haddock served at Kessler Air Force Base and received training as a heavy ground equipment repairman. He was assigned to the 2164th Command Squadron Royal Air Force and served in England before returning stateside. Haddock was honorably discharged in 1964.
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.
Julie Hubbard 918-207-3896
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